This was modified from a blog I posted four years ago. Every year, I update and re-post it before the holidays begin. All of us who want to be the “salt and the light” at holiday events feel extra pressure to be perfect. How about this year, we just aim for meaningful?
10. To pray at mealtime, or not? Pre-decide early how you want to handle gratitude and God. Ask a small child to pray a memorized prayer, or ask a respected grandparent if you do not feel comfortable. Or decide early not to pray. If you don’t regularly pray at your meal times, expect discomfort or giggles! No matter what, He still knows your heart. HONOR GOD.
9. Getting together with people who have little or no clue about God? Show them the goodness of God without saying a word. LOVE FIERCELY.
8. Holiday events take a lot of planning, work, emotional energy and time. Be gentle with your hosts. Hosts give to the point of exhaustion – always. Bring them a gift, a dish, or your support in the form of kitchen help. Seek ways to SAY THANK YOU.
7. If you are the host, plan on giving to the point of exhaustion, and afterward, plan a time to rest as a reward. LOVE YOURSELF.
6. Start praying about the event early, not for others, but to prepare yourself to be an ambassador of Christ in a room full of people who have forgotten: Thanksgiving is a holiday designed to thank God for His abundant provision; and, Christmas was created to honor the birth and hope of Jesus. May this be the year that your loved ones begin to understand that holidays have a far deeper significance than turkeys and Santa Claus. EXTEND MERCY.
5. When you break out the Christmas decorations, sprinkle in some fun things that might be a nod to your guests’ interests. Let them know which items remind you of them. HONOR DIFFERENCES.
4. Find holiday traditions that are meaningful to you and your family. Don’t be governed by the traditions of generations past. Use these traditions to LOVE YOUR FAMILY.
- If you have young kids, you could teach your kids to be thankful by making gifts to give to others.
- Read stories with an inspiring message. I recommend The ADVENTure of Christmas, Helping Your Children Find Jesus in our Holiday Traditions by Lisa Whelchel. It has 25 great stories about our Christmas traditions and how they relate to Jesus.
- Go cold turkey at holiday meals with cell phones. This is a challenge from Joanne Crafts’ Mean Mom Team. I support this challenge!
3. Keep a few news stories tucked in your mind to stimulate conversations, or learn to use phrases that re-direct conversation. Here are some helpful examples to CROSS GENERATIONAL BRIDGES:
- Are there any new TV shows this season that you have gotten hooked on? Video games?
- What movies have you seen lately?
- How about that storm coming across the nation this weekend?
- Have you seen the viral videos ___________? (you might want to cue this up on your iPhone–great conversation starter!)
- I just read an article about ___________, do you know any way to help? Is there anything we can do to help? (You could substitute any charity or cause here)
- Do you plan to go to see the lights at the zoo? Have you ever been before? (or whatever local holiday attractions happen in your area), or substitute any local news story that sparks conversation instead of tension.
2. Eat and drink in moderation so that discomfort, roller coaster sugar levels or lowered inhibitions don’t become an explosion between you and that family member that needs extra grace. Make this the year that you don’t have to apologize! CULTIVATE YOUR CHARACTER.
And the number one holiday survival tip for 2017 is:
Use “under-your-breath-prayers” all day long during celebrations, e.g., “I am grateful, Lord” “You are here with me” “I give ______ (insert person’s name) to you, Lord.” You can’t mess up too badly if you stay close to God, right? PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.
Your holiday season may not be perfect, so make it meaningful!
Got another tip? Share it in the comments below so others can learn from you! Your one tip may be the ONE someone reading this needs to read. Share generously!