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“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Ev-ery where you gooooooooo…”

OK, unless you live in Florida or California or some other equatorial location, it probably doesn’t look anything like Christmas right now, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to think about Christmas!

Christmas in July

As a matter of fact, now, during the lazy days (or crazy days) of summer, is a great time to think about what you’d like your Christmas to look like.

Or have you never gotten to January 4th and felt like a train plowed through your life and schedule and wondered what went wrong?  Then there’s the commitment to slow down next Christmas and really focus on savoring the Savior….

I’m here to tell you, it doesn’t happen without a plan.

I don’t know about you, but when I see the decorations go up in early fall, something inside of me rebels and I passively push back by refusing to even think about Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  And me and my family are the only ones who suffer for this inner rebellion.

While I don’t want to encourage retailers to capitalize on Christmas as the income-redemption it has become in the US, I am also learning I cannot wait until after Thanksgiving to think about Christmas or it all goes wrong for us.

So here we sit, in July, which is when I’ve started sitting down with the family and talking about what we want Christmas to look like next year.  What are the important things for us to do?

Usually our list includes things like:

  • give presents to people we love
  • make cookies and all kinds of goodies to share with others (and to enjoy ourselves, too!) especially fudge in honor of Grandpa Clyde’s love for all things chocolate, and we have to make Pretzel Treats like Grandma Carol makes.
  • choose which invitations we will accept
  • write a Christmas letter
  • have time for our advent celebrations from December 1-25
  • eat and sleep with balance
  • eat biscuits with Grandpa John’s honey
  • make a birthday cake for Jesus
  • go caroling
  • put lights and decorations on the outside of the house
  • drink hot chocolate after we decorate the tree
  • decorate the tree – well, trees actually – we have a little tree from Mom Mom we always decorate, too.
  • set up the train from Papaw
  • host a Christmas party
  • drive around and look at lights
  • do crafts – like making cards for hospice patients and using pictures and cards from last year to make a placemat
  • fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child
  • have Mamaw’s cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning
  • eat appetizers on Christmas Eve like we do with Sparkling Sangria like Granny makes
  • sometime over the holiday, eat Pop Pop’s Famous Crepes and spend some time remembering the joys we shared with Pop Pop
  • have fondue on New Year’s Eve – with sparkling grape juice
  • read all the cards one last time and choose which ones we’ll save for next year’s placemat.  Cut them down to size.

We start by making this list in July.

Then I sit down and make a plan for how we can get things done without going crazy.  I can tell you it makes a HUGE difference when November rolls around and we can enjoy our Thanksgiving company knowing our Christmas letter is ready to drop in the mail, our presents are bought/made, wrapped, and sometimes even mailed, and the advent calendar and devotions are down from the attic so we can start on December 1st.  The years we are ready for Christmas are the years we have the sweetest fellowship with each other and with Christ.  Those are the years we really can ignore the Christmas marketing, avoid the crazy rush, and savor the Savior.

It doesn’t happen without a plan.

So, your mission for July, should you choose to accept it, is to think about what you want to include in Christmas.

That’s all.

When September rolls around, I’ll start walking through our schedule for accomplishing tasks in advance.  Let’s just see if we can all have a truly Merry Christmas this year!

A Composed Christmas

Photo Credit:
A Composed Christmas photo by christmasstockimages.com [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons