Today we move into the Christmas planning element of our preparations for Advent, beginning with our calendars.
Where will you wake up on Christmas morning? I know some of you may have made your plans way back in the summer. Others, like our family, will be just starting these conversations, and some may not have even begun to think about it yet.
The task for today is to reflect on how much is already organised, and think about what the next step is. Do you need to look at your calendar to check when Christmas falls (on a Thursday this year) and remind yourself when your work and school holidays start and finish?
The first thing to consider is where you will be on Christmas Day. Will you be at home, on holiday, or visiting friends and family? Start thinking about the planning you need to do. You could start a list of things to take, you might need to confirm arrival and departure dates.
Then you can think about the other people who you would like to meet up with during the holidays. Start to add dates to your calendar, and remember to leave some blank space for resting, time to be together as a family, and time to enjoy any new books, toys, games or gadgets you’ve received! One of my favourite parts of this time of year is the time to just be, especially in between Christmas and New Year and I like to make sure we have at least a couple of days at home with nothing scheduled.
If you feel overwhelmed by all of these questions and the challenge of keeping everyone happy, then take some time to simply pray over your calendar and lists of people and places. Ask God to show you what to prioritise, and inspire you with ways to make it work. Something I am exploring this year is the possibility of starting a new tradition of celebrating at a different time with one set of close relatives who are particularly busy on Christmas Day with their own extended family. We might pick Michaelmass, Christmas Eve, or New Years Day. I’m hoping to choose a particular day to establish it as a special tradition. This also means that in future years, we won’t have to scramble to find a suitable date in our calendars.
Finally, select a place where you can keep track of these plans. If they are only draft at the moment, you could print out a spare calendar page online or from your email programme. As your plans are confirmed add them to your regular organiser whether it is digital or paper based. And do remember to write in those days that you’d like to keep free too. Writing them in makes it so much easier to protect them, and also to explain as new invitations arise “sorry, we’re already committed on that day”. You might decide to accept the invitation of course, but this way you can be more aware of what you are saying no to, as well as what you are saying yes to!
Over to you. Enjoy your planning, and do leave a comment if you’d like to share some of your plans or the ones you are struggling to decide upon.