Even though we are still in the month of October, shops, stores, and supermarkets have been filling their shelves with Christmas themed merchandise. Retailers have, of course, spent millions of pounds finding ways to 'push our buttons', including making us feel poor, guilty, excited and impulsive. It's no wonder they are so successful in getting us to part with money we can ill-afford! Mothers especially want so much for their children to have a happy and memorable Christmas experience. Very often, these mothers, and women generally, find this a very stressful time of year. In fact, most men I know dread Christmas coming and try to put it out of their minds - which is why you'll see many men wandering round and round the shopping mall on Christmas Eve in a state of despair, knowing that whatever they buy for their wives or girlfriend, somehow, it will be wrong.
The home-maker will find it essential to spend a little time in advance, thinking about how she is going to make the Christmas happy and memorable for her family. Now her womanly art of thrift and resourcefulness will also play a part in her success.
I think the postcard above, illustrates what I mean about how she is the key player in creating the atmosphere and experience in the home, Christmas or otherwise. You can see an expression of love, assurance, security and contentment in the mother, Her daughter reflects back love and trust and contentment. She feels totally secure and loved and happy. What a beautiful scene. So when you think ahead, in any quiet moments you have in the home, you will begin to see a picture of your aims and goals for the family Christmas. It really is important to do this, because otherwise it is easy to be lured into the retailers aims and goals for their money-led agendas.
Here are just a few ideas and I hope you'll share some of yours too
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
1. Begin as early as possible with your planning. If you have a book about the Nativity, read the story to your children. they love repetition, so you can read it many times in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Talk about what it means to our everyday lives, and how Jesus cares for us all. At the same time, teach them Christmas carols. you can practice singing them all around the house, and sing together at the tea table especially with Daddy. What special memories they will have of these times.
2 This also has to be begun early, (so there is no feeling of rushing to get things done) Have one or two simple gift-making ideas that they can work on. This will not only bless the recipient, but will give them more satisfaction than picking out things in the stores. Photographing the children at work could be nice for them to look back on as they get older.'
3. Letting the family know in advance that this will be a simple family orientated Christmas, will relieve them of the stress and expectations of others, so they can relax. You are queen in the home sphere, so don't let wider family pressure you into doing things that are not right for your family.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
4. Avoid large selection boxes of chocolates, chocolate coins and an abundance of rich foods. Apart from the unnecessary cost, they make everyone feel nauseous, stuffed and unable to move from the sofa. Again, by planning ahead, you will be able to get together the ingredients to make your own, cheaper and better Christmas or Dundee cakes and some chocolate truffles. The best thing about this is, again, the family can share in the preparations. You don't need to make a lot of different things. Less is more!
5. Remember that you are the expert on your family Christmas, not the world. Christmas Day will be enjoyed much more if mother is not frazzled by preparing a grand meal in the kitchen all morning. We don't need, or benefit from stuffing ourselves with too much rich food. You could choose to make a simple Sunday type dinner that you all enjoy. Here in the UK, that would be something like Roast chicken or beef, roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy. Prepare a meal that is familiar to you and you won't be fretting about it. Instead, you can enjoy the family time together. Also, by not having too many chocolates and sweets around the house, children will be happier and calmer without all that sugar! They may also have an appetite for that nice dinner.
6 For a rich family Christmas, do not forget Husbands and fathers. They may enjoy leading the carols, joining in the family games, watching a family movie etc. But it is important to schedule in some quiet reading times for the children over the holiday. Daddy can have a rest, read his paper and have a special few minutes with his lovely wife. Children need the security of knowing there is a calmness and an order in the family and to respect that.
Finally,leading up to the holidays (it's not called the run-up to Christmas for nothing) remember how easy it is to find yourself running around at a frenetic pace, just because the world does. Taking a gentler pace often give you time to think, pray and enjoy the little things in life.