Thanksgiving is a holiday designed to be…thankful. In our culture, many people forget who we are thanking. Christmas was created to honor the birth and hope of Jesus. But sometimes that gets forgotten…
May it always be clear in our homes that it is God that we thank at Thanksgiving for for His abundant provision; and Jesus’ birth we celebrate at Christmas.
My Top Ten Holiday Survival List
is a blog post I revise every year–for the past five years!–to help my readers keep Jesus first and still survive the family who might not be on the same page. This time, I asked my readers for feedback first! The best tips below are from readers!
10. Pray. Before the holidays. Before you make plans. Pray “under-your-breath-prayers” all day during celebrations, e.g., “I am grateful, Lord” “You are here with me” “I give ______ (insert a person’s name who is troublesome for you!) to you, Lord.”
9. From reader McKel: “Set expectations with family, friends etc before the season of parties and events starts.” Another smart reader, Amber dovetails with McKel: “Don’t say yes to everything. Prioritize for you and your family.”
8. Getting together with people who have little or no clue about God? Show them the goodness of God without talking about God. What kind words would Jesus say to them? Tell them you are thankful for time with them. Tell them how great it is to see them. Reader Heather says: “Always find something(s) to be grateful for!”
7. Have a cell phone station where all the cell phones are placed for the duration of dinner, or caroling, or some portion of the festivities.
6. From reader Shelly: Don’t forget about YOU. The stresses of the holiday are real and you need to take of yourself. Do something to revitalize or renew…workout, eat healthy, or get a massage!! 🙂
5. Anne, one of my most faithful readers, had seven entertaining tips!
- Shop and wrap early
- Food prep as much as you can and be ready to serve (less cooking time) before your guests arrive.
- Preset your table the day before.
- Freshen your guest rooms a couple of days before their arrival and all you have to do is add the fresh flowers right before they arrive.
- Preplanning menus weeks before and shop for anything non perishable.
- Have quick and simple appy’s and desserts in the freezer for pop’ins.
- Have a basket of pre-wrapped hostess gifts for that last minute party. (I keep a basket year round).
My sweet reader Cristin adds: “I like to have simple table decor that can work with both Thanksgiving and Christmas. As far as hosting family dinners, allow others to bring dishes.”
4. Find some new holiday traditions! One of my favorite resources is 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. Great for adults too!
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:
- Are there any new TV shows this season that have hooked you? Video games?
- What movies have you seen lately?
- Have you seen the viral videos ___________? (you might want to cue this up on your iPhone–great conversation starter! One of my favorites is the Holdman Family’s Christmas Hacks from 2018–sassy and funny!)
- I just read an article about ___________. 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.
- If you have GenZ at the table, ask them to help you with Instagram or Snapchat! or try Boomerang, Bitmoji or Marco Polo! Great conversation starters!
2. Eat and drink in moderation so that discomfort, roller coaster sugar levels, or lowered inhibitions don’t distract you from enjoying your family and festivities. Drink water!
And still the #1 holiday survival tip for 2019 is from last year:
From Samantha: While this is an everyday suggestion and life goal, the holidays are such a beautiful and special time. Memorable in whatever way you make them to be. So be present, fully. Have fun and laugh, live in the moment, love….and really listen. 💕
May this be the year that your loved ones begin to understand that holidays have a far deeper significance than turkeys and Santa Claus. And may you be the one they trust when the questions about faith bubble up from their curious souls.
Got another tip? Share it in the comments below so others can learn from you! Your one seemingly insignificant tip may be just the ONE someone needs!