Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington

Is it possible to have a stress-free Christmas season?

For some – okay, for me! – the Christmas season begins earlier than for others. Confession time: I’ve been playing Christmas carols for a few weeks now. I just can’t get enough of the season!

Yup, I’m one of those people. Hi, my name is Ava and I’m a Christmasphile. In case you’re wondering, a Christmasphile is someone who is head-over-heels enamored with all things Christmas. We’re out there…singing along to Christmas carols in the car, humming to the canned Christmas music in Walmart, taking a deep whiff — cough, cough—of the cinnamon-scented brooms in Publix.

To match my own early enthusiasm, this weekend, the Hallmark channel will hold their pre-season Christmas movie marathon.  (My two favorites are The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Sat. at 6pm or Sun. at noon, and The Christmas Card – Sat. at 10pm or Sun. at 4pm.)

Whether you’re a Christmasphile or not, we all share a common enemy. That enemy is time. There’s so much we want to do, and never enough time to do it all. Bake, wrap, decorate, host—how do we fit it all in?

Being a good steward of our time means making time for the important things first. It requires knowing the difference between the important and the urgent—and I promise, they are not always the same. If we lose sight of the true reason for the season – the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ – then we’ve lost our reason to celebrate.

But even if we remember that the whole point of Christmas is the birth of the One who came to die for us, this season can still become one huge to-do list – with every shred of joy buried in a black hole deep in space.

So, for those who love Christmas, but still hope to hold on to a shred of their sanity as December 25th approaches, I offer a gift: a link to Marcia Ramsland’s 8-week Holiday Chart, updated for 2012, courtesy of Moody Radio’s Midday Connection program. The chart offers a strategic plan to help you minimize the stress and retain the joy of this often challenging time of the year.

Who knows? By the time Thanksgiving arrives, you may actually look forward to Christmas!

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