Thanksgiving is a holiday designed to thank God for His abundant provision; and, Christmas was created to honor the birth and hope of Jesus. But sometimes that gets forgotten…
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! Two of the 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. Pre-decide early how you want to handle gratitude, God and unbelieving family members.
If you don’t regularly pray at your meal times, start now and practice till the day of your celebration! A couple of ways to bridge that moment of discomfort: silent reflection, a small child’s memorized prayer, or a respected grandparent’s prayer at mealtime are all ways to help your family recognize that God is the focus of the holidays. And when the celebration is over, a new healthy habit will be created: praying at mealtime!
8. Getting together with people who have little or no clue about God?
them the goodness of God without saying a word about God. Ponder what would God say to them if they were to notice Him. Tell them you are thankful for time with them. Tell them how great it is to see them.
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. Practice being kind to your future self by planning as much as you can ahead and try not to over-extend your commitments.
Chances are over-the-top high that you will give to the point of exhaustion, so afterward, plan a time to truly rest as a reward.
5. From Sara: When people start driving you crazy (parking space stealers, line cutters, aisle hogs, family who mentions your weight, family in general….) take a deep breath and remember that Jesus loves them as much as he loves you.
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.
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 bridge across generations:
- 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, fire, flood, 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! One of my favorites is Kristina Kuzmic–sassy and funny!)
- 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.
- iGen or GenerationZ (born 2000-2017-ish) is the first generation to be raised knowing nothing but smart phones. How do you think this might affect them as they grow older? [Think face to face communication vs texts with emojis.]
- If you have GenZ at the table, ask them to help you get started with Instagram or Snapchat!
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.
And the #1 holiday survival tip for 2017 is:
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!