I have a best friend that starts sending me memes and reminders of Christmas beginning in June. It’s all in good fun, and I’m an easy target to poke fun at. I’ve been dubbed “the grinch” and rightfully so. I procrastinate and stress, and am less than joyful at all the hoopla. Year after year, I manage to pull it all together and we have a nice Christmas in the end. I wrote this post last year at a pivotal time in my life. With a few edits and tweaks, I’m reposting for those who may feel the same way, and how to overcome the unwanted stress.
‘Tis the season. The crazy has already begun. Events to attend, crafts to make, activities to do, books to read, gifts to buy, on and on and on. My social media feeds are already loaded with all things Christmas. I’ve been both a partaker and contributor to some of those things myself (I sell children’s’ books part time), but it’s enough to make you crazy if you allow it. Some folks are able to pull it off and have a magical month full of Christmas joy. If this is you, that’s fantastic – but if it’s not, read on!
The shopping, baking, wrapping, and let’s not forget “the reason for the season” that we want to make sure is first and foremost in our kids lives can certainly make you feel that you aren’t doing enough. As a homeschool mom, it’s enough to make me feel as if I should set aside my curriculum for at least a month while trying to duplicate every awesome thing I’ve seen on social media. Our schedule gets thrown off, which adds even more stress. All these extra things, while trying to give our kids the very best education, and still maintain super mom status is enough to make you grinchy to say the least. I have learned that it doesn’t have to be like that.
I had been trying to do it all for several years, and I did – but not with a happy heart. It wasn’t until last year I decided the Grinch, Santa Claus, or even Baby Jesus were not going to steal my homeschooling joy.
When my worldview changed, the way I looked at Christmas changed. Christ and Christmas were at odds. I had been busy following our typical traditions, fitting Jesus in with all the tinsel and wrappings. It wasn’t working for me. While I had been aware for sometime of how many of our “traditions” had pagan undertones, some things had become new to me was when I started studying my Bible differently.
I began to see which parts were specifically to me. I learned from my apostle, Paul, that the birth of Jesus is only mentioned once (that I know of) in his writings. (Gal. 4:4) I found that as a believer, I should be much more excited about what Christ did for me on the cross, not in the cradle. The real gift to me is the death, burial, and resurrection. So, when I understood the familiar story in Luke 2, I should have not stopped there, but kept reading.
It began to become clear to me that my strength and stabilization would not come from the familiar things that I had always been taught. But would rather come from the not so popular and vastly unknown program in the Bible that Paul refers to as the “mystery”. Romans 16:25-26, Ephesians 3:1-9, Colossians 1:25,26. I was finally relieved not to feel like I had to find a way to make a memorable Christmas for the kids, stress myself out all month, all while teaching biblical truths that were once unclear to me how to make it fit.
For the most part, it’s business as usual around here with us leading up to Christmas. Now, the season is less stressful and fun! I am actually able to enjoy November’s beautiful colors and delicious foods. I don’t have to shelve my curriculum, plan a month of activities, fill an advent box, or start the new year feeling behind. I’m less “grinchy” these days, not because my heart has grown three sizes. It’s because I’m not trying to fit it all in, and I’m no longer struggling to balance fact from fable.
Keep calm, and homeschool on!
- There are three Fridays in December before Christmas Day. Shelve the curriculum on those days. Use those days for holiday fun, and to spread some holiday cheer in your community.
- Play Games: Minute-To-Win-It challenges are always a hit. Spot It is one of our favorites. Check out some of my pins on Pinterest for more ideas!
- Make some artwork for your house, or to gift! I’ll be posting some of ours on Instagram.
- Get a group together, and sing carols and holiday tunes at your local nursing home or assisted living housing. We did this last year with our co-op, and it brought as much of a smile to my face as it did the residents.
- R.A.K. your community! (Random Acts of Kindness)
- Have a geography lesson on how other countries celebrate the season.
- Use Fridays to work on homemade gifts. That way, you and the kids will have done something fun and creative, and you will have some gifts taken care of.
- Speaking of gifts, get what you would like the recipient to have. Get something thoughtful, but don’t stress over it. If you like it, chances are they will like it. If they don’t, it will be alright. This has taken several years to learn, but has lifted a huge burden off me!
Whatever your traditions are, or how you incorporate holiday activities in your homeschool, I urge you to first and foremost enjoy the gift of salvation this Christmas. If you are unsure of what that is, read 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and believe it. Then share it with others! Take in the WHOLE story.
The “Reason for the Season” lasts all year long.