Presence Versus Presents: Finding Balance During the Christmas Season

The Christmas season is full of joy, laughter, love, friends, and family, but let’s be honest; it is also filled with busyness. During the Christmas season, my to-do-list seems to rapidly grow and expand. There are the everyday life responsibilities multiplied by all of the Christmas-related tasks. There’s Christmas shopping; Christmas cards; Christmas plays and parities; decorating the house to invoke the Christmas spirit; wrapping presents; cooking and baking; and for many, even traveling (and traveling with little ones is an adventure within itself).

During the Christmas season I often feel like I’m muddling in numerous to-do-lists.

There is so much to do that even the activities that should be fun and produce life-long memories, often become just another thing on the to-do-list and a rush against the clock. This has caused me to do some self-evaluation and to become determined to find the proper balance in the busy Christmas season.

I believe that as mothers, our presence has much greater impact than any present we can purchase for our children.

Even the excitement for that must-have toy wanes in a few weeks or months. However, special moments and memories which we create through our presence, will last a lifetime. In my struggle to find balance in the Christmas season, I have learned that for my presence to carry more weight than presents, there are a few steps I have to take. I have to be intentional; plan ahead and be organized; and not insist on perfection.

For me, being intentional is carefully thinking and planning activities that require my family to engage each other. Favorites for my family include building gingerbread houses; watching Christmas shows and movies; and going to see Christmas lights. I also like to take each child individually to pick out presents for their dad and siblings. This provides some great one-on-one time and conversations. I believe when you are intentional about something you are more likely to be successful. My goal is to always place greater emphasis on presence versus presents. I know I’m not always successful, but hopefully my intentionality will help me find a good balance.

When I plan ahead and stay organized during the Christmas season, I find that I have more down time to enjoy my family. In planning ahead, I like to purchase Christmas gifts all year, as I find them for a good price. I also like to keep track of the items I have purchased. Keeping track of my purchases serves many purposes. It helps me ensure I have taken care of everyone on my list. It also helps me ensure that I don’t over-buy or under-buy for one child. Lastly, it provides a great tool for determining what and how many batteries I need to purchase (there’s nothing more disappointing than opening up the perfect toy, but not having the needed batteries to play with it). Planning ahead and being organized has alleviated the need for last-minute Christmas shopping and slowed down the chaos, allowing more time for the things which really matter.

Lastly, I try not to insist on perfection. This has allowed me to really enjoy my children and allow them to participate in each and every Christmas activity. I have learned not to focus on things being perfect, but instead to enjoy the moment. The presents may not be wrapped perfectly and may not look so aesthetically pleasing. However, wrapping presents with my children is full of laughter, bloopers, and teachable moments. Baking with children can also be challenging. We have had numerous occasions where the cookies run together and make one big blob. The cookies sometimes don’t turn out perfectly, but the memories of making them together will last forever. Of course as mothers we would like for things to be perfect for our children, however, sometimes the greatest moments and memories come in the imperfections of life.

There is no doubt that the Christmas season is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but let’s be honest — it can also be the most busy, stressful, and taxing time of the year as well. There is a ton to do and there is a tug of war between presence and presents. The balance can be hard to find and maintain. Being intentional, planning ahead and being organized, and not insisting on perfection, enables me to find a good balance. I hope you find your good balance as well.

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One Response to Presence Versus Presents: Finding Balance During the Christmas Season

  1. Brittney H December 19, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

    Love this post. It rings true this holiday season.

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