Plan Ahead.

My plan was to write an Advent reflection on Wednesday.  It is now Friday, and I'm finally getting around to writing the advent thoughts.   I failed to plan.  I wanted to get it written, but life got in the way and, I'm afraid, I didn't budget my time very well.   I did, however, get some Christmas gifts done.  I have been doing some personalized gifts, and they took way longer than I had anticipated.  So, while the gifts delayed my blog, I did get the gifts done, and that was one of my plans.   I started planning last January for some of the gifts.  As I said before, I am not a planner, but I am learning that not all planning is bad.  In fact, planning can reduce stress as long as we use the plans like a flexible ruler.   At Christmas, it is easy to want to stress about giving gifts because we have little money.

  • One thing, I did this year, was starting a Christmas savings.   When I started buying gifts, I had money so I am not stressing about how I will pay for the gifts.  I know that everyone may not be able to do this, but if you can, it will reduce stress.  
  • Another thing I did was to make notes when I saw or thought about a gift for a particular person.  Occasionally, if it was a small item, I bought it at that time and put it away.  Usually, It was when I wanted to spend time with one of my girls.  We would shop; it was a twofur. I spent time with my children and got a head start on Christmas gifts.  What a stress reliever when everyone else is going into gift frenzy you can relax and concentrate on other things.
I'm learning to apply this to other areas of Christmas as well.  Start a little earlier in planning; it's easier when the kids are grown.  Trust me on this!  Then know what's important to you about Christmas.  I love baking cookies with my girls, so we make plans to do that.  We made cookies and joked about "The elves mistakes".  The cookies that broke or burned.  When my daughter left, my other daughter said, "Thank you!  That was fun."  Now that was a Christmas memory that was worth every bit of the planning it took to accomplish the task.  If God could spend two thousand years on the first Christmas gift, then plans are not bad unless they make us inflexible.

It was almost Christmas time
There I stood in another line
Tryin' to buy that last gift or two
Not really in the Christmas mood
Standing right in front of me was
A little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing 'round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes
And his clothes were worn and old
He was dirty from head to toe
And when it came his time to pay
I couldn't believe what I heard him say
Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
It's Christmas eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there's not much time
You see she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful, if mama meets Jesus tonight

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