Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
And today is a gift.

My 16 year old son, Elliot, has reminded me of these truths several times over the past few weeks.

As I’ve sifted through my obligations and traditions, it’s helped me to prioritize, causing me to live for TODAY!

I’ve decided to not let change or turbulent times take away from my living out my passions during this holiday season. Don’t we all have opportunities right in front of us? And don’t we all get hugely side-tracked during the season?

I don’t want to lose my focus or my joy. I want to evaluate my decisions. I want to think ahead and determine if what I’m considering doing is really necessary. Because with family, you can’t just go “cold-turkey” and stop all traditions!

So with that determined, I’m starting to plan now …
• I’ve already started buying and stocking up on baking products, and making some baking goals within reason.

• I’ve gone through my holiday wrapping paper, tissue paper, bows and my gift closet to pull out and organize gifts I’ve purchased on “clearance” throughout the year.

• I’ve made my list of who I want to take gifts to, scaling WAY back on purchases and giving more “homemade” gifts.

• We’ve already talked with our kids, explaining to them why we are cutting back on gift-giving, and focusing more on relationships. (It’s not about the money we spend on each other one day out of the year. What’s more important is the relationship we forge throughout the whole year! They totally get it!)

• Instead of going overboard on stocking stuffers, I’m writing down a few practical things that I want to include, and sticking to that list.

• We trimmed our tree on Sunday night, and even though it’s a fake tree (purchased at a garage sale 4 years ago – and it’s beautiful!), we pointed out to the kids the money we’ve saved over the years. (I know, I know – the dilemma of fresh vs. fake …)

• We’re using what we have for decorations, limiting our time of decorating the house to a minimum. (Is it really worth it to spend hours upon end in decorating, possibly just trying to impress others?)

• I will pull some of my older snazzy clothes from my closet for holiday parties – and resist the urge to buy new.

And then, what really counts …
• I will plan out a few events or dinners that I want to have in my home, but will not over-extend myself and make my family miserable!

• I will be flexible and learn to “go with the flow” if plans change.

• As my family is growing, I will include them in decision making, not taking away from what the holiday season is really about.

• I will enjoy my kids!

• I will be thankful for another Christmas to spend with my husband and 3 children, and family and friends.

• I will remember why I ever let all of this craziness enter my life – and instead keep my focus on Christ.

• I will not lose my JOY.

I will not get worked up – because TODAY is the day that counts.

Do you lose your joy over the holidays or have you found a healthy balance?