There is no month quite like December. Between presents and parties and pictures and Pinterest- it can get out of hand quickly. As women, we are often the planners of fun and merriment. This role personally delights me, but throughout the years I have also found I can be overly ambitious in my planning- leaving my family and I exhausted trying to attend/complete/enjoy all the festive moments.

Here are my top four ways to simplify December so you can make good memories and find space to celebrate Emmanuel- Christ with us– the reason we have lasting joy and peace!
1. Limit commitments to one social and one family per week.  Yep, that means you get eight events for the month so you may need to quit saying yes to every fun invitation or Pinterest idea that comes your way. The payoff is huge, though! Most of my favorite holiday moments occurred in the unscripted space where conversation, creativity, and relationship can flourish. Also, by being more choosy in your “yes” the chosen activities will be ones that have more meaning.
2. Find one DIY gift and give it to everyone on that list. Many of us enjoy creating and giving a small gift to express gratitude to teachers, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Choose one project that is easily and inexpensively reproduced as your family gift for 2016. Baked goods, ornaments, decorations – are all good choices but the ideas are endless. Choosing just one simplifies the shopping process for supplies as well as the actual production. And if you are not a DIYer, choosing one item to purchase and give, simplifies even more!
3. Share more, spend less. The best gift you can give is time shared: over a meal, serving the needy together, on a drive to see lights. Agree with friends not to exchange wrapped gifts but to carve out time to share an experience like your town’s parade or going to a Christmas movie or dinner- potluck style if you both cook or take out! Or if shopping is your jam- shop together for an Angel Tree child and then grab a coffee.
4. Carve out space every day to stop and savor. Finding small moments of time to stare at the beauty of a lit Christmas tree, breathe in the scents of cinnamon and pine, listen to the joyful sounds of carols, taste the goodies we sample at this time of year. Look at photo’s from Christmas’s past. Above all reflect on the beauty and wonder of the Son of God entering our messy world as a newborn. God coming near on the first step of the redemption journey, so we would never be far away again.