5 Ways to Have a Quieter and More Restful Holiday Season

One look at the calendar made the already persistent pounding I felt in my chest quicken. I thought, “I don’t know how to make this work. I’m only one person.” Fall sports, extracurricular activities, work events, volunteer hour requirements, unanswered emails, and fast-approaching deadlines left no space to breathe or clean house—both of which are necessary for my productivity and peace.

When the kids were younger, we picked one activity for each to do. Bonus points if at least two kids could be in a class together. Mom and Dad had sway and veto power if the class schedule didn’t work for our family. We even coached sports so we could choose the practice days and times. Family game/movie/fun nights were frequent, and snuggling with the kids was our favorite pastime. We even had the capacity to sometimes keep up with laundry.

We’ve now entered the middle and high school years. There was a club fair at school, and my brand-new-to-middle-school sixth-grader signed up for all the things. As the kids get older and start honing in on their interests, our parental sway and veto power shifts. Cross-country and football practices are now every day after school. They skip on days they have robotics. Play rehearsals are three days a week, student council a few times a month, races and games are on the weekends. Unless they’re on a weekday. The calendar is maxed out, and so are we.

But it’s a season. Which means we won’t be going full-speed for much longer. It’s time for the curtain call and championships, and then the break awaits. It’s just in time for the holidays. But the time between Halloween and New Year’s is its own dose of calendar complexity.

I used to want to go to all the events and plan my own, but now I’m opting for a quieter, more intimate season with my family. It’s our opportunity to connect and be intentional about our time together without running in a million directions.

Have yourself a Mary little Christmas

Busyness isn’t new to modern times. One of Jesus’ closest friends chose busyness over fellowship with Jesus. Martha openly welcomed Jesus and His disciples into her home and then set to work as the hostess for her company. Her sister, Mary, instead sat at Jesus’ feet, leaning in to hear all that the Lord had to say. From the kitchen, Martha’s anxious heart was set on all the details of serving the perfect meal, but Jesus simply wanted her company.

But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41 ESV).

Martha did do something right: she shared her troubled thoughts with Jesus. His response was an invitation to sit with Him just like her sister had been doing all along.

Perhaps you, too, are coming off of a busy season when you’ve felt overwhelmed, anxious, and troubled. Jesus invites you to fellowship with Him. Maybe you’ve looked at all the events penciled in your calendar and have felt a bit like Martha. Here is your permission to keep your weekends and evenings open. To say “no” to some asks that will send the family in a million directions and “yes” to quality time.

May the magic of the holidays come from Jesus, not community events and Christmas parties. Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) of all the holiday happenings replace your need for Jesus this time of year. Let’s embrace the season of thankfulness and step into a season of reverence for our Savior ready to receive His goodness, peace, rest, and joy as a family.

Here are 5 ways to have a quieter, more restful holiday season.

Sit with Jesus and let Him have a say over your calendar of events.

Opt for quieter events such as driving around to look at Christmas lights or wrapping gifts as a family. Choose a night in to watch a movie or play games versus a large holiday event.

Get the kids involved in planning a fun dinner together. Our favorite memories are from themed nights. (Ex. Mini-food nights when everything we made was in miniature form. We even purchased mini utensils, plates, and cups from the dollar store.)

Choose a few of your favorite traditions and focus on those instead of trying to fit it all in.

Simplify your shopping and your shopping list. Shop at smaller, less-crowded shops for more meaningful gifts instead of the mad rush of big box stores for the latest and greatest.

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