November 28 I received two Christmas cards in the mail. Our neighbor has lights shining brightly all around his house; garland and red bows adorn his fence. The newscaster gingerly announced our city parade for next week, and I feel like Mr. Scrooge!
Can you relate? Extra time to decorate and prepare for a holiday is often difficult to find for a caregiver. By the time you do necessary chores, there is no time left for holiday preparation. Allow me to offer a few tips that have helped me have peace about holiday expectations.
#1. The very first step is considering what is important to you and what you actually can do regarding the holidays. You cannot do it all; changes have to be made as you take on new responsibilities. Be honest in evaluating difference between others’ expectations and your own wants and needs for this time in your life.
#2. If decorating has always been important to you but you know this year you cannot drag everything from the storage, simplify. Find one or two simple decorations to focus on. For me, I cleared a small table in an area it would be seen by all. I added a pretty table cloth, small nativity, Dollar Store garland and candles. It is amazing what one small seasonal display can do to transform an entire room. Keep it simple, uncluttered, and out of the way.
#3. Need more decorations? If one tiny spot just isn’t enough for you, consider adding a little holiday color in other rooms. A roll of festive ribbon will make many bows to add to plants or picture frames about the house. Inexpensive greenery draped over a shelf adds color and charm. Tuck in a few poinsettias and you are finished!
#4. Do you feel your holiday preparations are incomplete without snacks? Plan ahead and again, keep them simple. People come to see you and the one you are caring for; not to check out your latest holiday recipe. Consider keeping a shelf loaded with beautiful paper napkins and cups; packaged nuts and mints; and decorated cookies from the grocery. Be sure to have assorted teas or hot chocolate mixes. If you don’t make coffee, purchase coffee singles (decaf and regular) to have on hand for those guests who do. In a very few minutes you can have a beautiful spread that will say, “I’m glad you are here.”
#5. The most important holiday preparation is a merry heart. The Lord said, “a merry heart does good like a medicine.” A cheerful hug and sincere smile goes a long way to remind others of the true meaning of the season.
Praying you will step back and plan for a beautiful December filled with the Greatest Treasure of all—God’s love.
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