- Decorate the house with some fall items such as pumpkin smelling candles and a centerpiece for the table.
- Unpack my book "Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember" by Barbara Rainey. Each year I reread this book about the history of our country. It's a relatively thin book so it doesn't take very long to read and I learn something new each time. This is a great book to read to your children.
- Plan the Thanksgiving menu in advance and enlist the help of family members. Assign dishes to others and organize recipes.
- Put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I must confess that our tree isn't real so this makes it possible to enjoy the tree for a longer time. Enlist the help of the family and make this a fun event.
- Write Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving. I don't mail them immediately but at least they're written and addressed. My friend Sue told me that she prays for each person as she writes out their Christmas card. I hope to do that this year.
- Shop for gifts early and use a list. I also try to purchase gifts throughout the year when I find something and especially when it's on sale.
- Focus on people instead of things.
- Be flexible in my plans.
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, the Salvation Army or any of the numerous opportunities at this time of year. It's a great way to teach your children about the service of giving.
- Keep a thankful list and update it with at least one thing every day.
- Cut back on the amount of money spent on gifts. Consider making a few gifts by using your creativity or even baking a food gift.
- Get out the Christmas music early and listen to it. I love music but often forget to turn it on. I get focused on tasks but when I remember to play music, it always brings a smile to my face.
- Keep the focus of the season on the reason; the birth of Jesus Christ.
And in the midst of all of the activities, dont' forget to have fun. Keep a sense of humor and laugh; it's infectious!
I know my list isn't complete so I hope you'll add your comments and suggestions. Let's make the choice this year to not get caught up in the commercialization and stress of the holiday season, but instead enjoy and create special memories.