I’ve been on a mission to help women during the holidays. I overhear women all the time who have a love/hate feeling with Christmas. I’ll admit, the older I get I fall into that same category. You might have read my post on “Traditions” where I say just because you did it (certain traditions) before doesn’t mean you always have to do it.

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As we’re pulling the Christmas boxes from the attic this weekend, I’ve decided to not put as many Christmas decorations up this year. Of course I want to do the basics, and I look forward to pulling out some special pieces that bring joy to our family. But with traditions, we can even be enslaved to them in the way we decorate.

Am I trying to impress?
Does my family really care that we stuff the house?

And with baking, again I have to ask myself the same questions.

I’m challenging myself to a sweet, simple Christmas this year. When I find myself losing control, I want to focus on what really matters.

-Remember, it’s being together that counts. It’s not about how beautiful your tree is, how many cookies you bake, how many dinner parties you throw or attend, the perfection of your decorating, or a clean house.

-Focus on quality. Quality of guests and intimate times together, not chaos and noisy crowds of people who may not mean anything to you. The emphasis should be on quality of gifts for your family, not a contest of how many are under the tree.

-Keep it simple. There’s no law that says the mother in every home has to organize and plan formal sit-down dinners. Plan potlucks, delegate, or better yet – eat out (if you have the means).

-Focus on the conversation and getting to know your friends and feeling the “spirit” of the moment. (You’ll probably be listening to Christmas music in the background, which is festive and really puts you in the mood).

-Enjoy “family.” There’s no rule that says that family has to all be together on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Spread it out – the week before Christmas plan events for your immediate family?. Don’t take family for granted. Be respectful and express in words and actions that you are happy to be together.

-Make it comfy and relaxing. No one wants to go to a party or dinner where things are out of control. Don’t plan too much – don’t pile too much on your plate. Don’t forget as the hostess that you need to “experience” the season.

-Be Flexible. When you look back at times together, you won’t remember the food that didn’t turn out or those who maybe didn’t want to go out to Christmas carol or play games. But you will remember the feelings you experienced. If you can’t go with the flow, you will be miserable. Don’t drag your family down with you. Create happy memories.

Back to quality. I’ve had several discussions with friends on the difference of quality versus quantity. It seems like at Christmas we try to do more and more and more. We take on too much, bake too much, eat too much, party too much – and we find ourselves spinning out of control. But I really want to encourage a positive approach to Christmas, because we have so much to celebrate and to enjoy!

As I trim back on decorating, entertaining, and shopping, I want to think about the reason we even have Christmas, and the quality of relationships and blessings around me.

How will you plan to keep a healthy balance this Christmas season?