Preparing For The Holidays

Preparing for the HolidaysDo you realize that Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away?

It seems to me that the holidays are getting here really early this year.

Of course I have already seen a couple of houses in our neighborhood with Christmas decorations, so Christmas seems to be in a hurry to get here early as well.

This is supposed to be a great time of the year but it can also be a time filled with lots of activity and stress.

With so many things to do and so many places to be, your emotions will be running high. It is at times like this where you can can easily get derailed from your financial plan.

How do we stay grounded and focused? How do we really get to enjoy the holidays without breaking our budget?

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I think the answer is in having the right attitude in our hearts.

With that in mind, let’s prepare for the holidays by focusing on these attitudes over the next few weeks: gratitude, contentment, and generosity.


Think about what and who we have in our lives. Our very next breath is not guaranteed, so every new day is an opportunity to be thankful.

Do we have health and the ability to work? Let’s be thankful. Do we have jobs? Let’s be thankful.

Do we have friends and family who love us? Let’s be thankful. Do we have a roof over our head and food to eat every day? Let’s be thankful.

If gratitude fills your heart, it will be harder for it to be filled with grumbling and bitterness.

in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I Thessalonians 5:18


This is the attitude that says “we have enough“. We are satisfied regardless of our current state of affairs.

This is a great antidote against greed and against thinking that one more present will be just what we need.

We don’t need to overdo it whether it is in celebration or in gifts. If we are honest with ourselves, we already have enough.

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either.
I Timothy 6:6-7

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When we have gratitude and contentment, we can turn our attention from ourselves and focus on others. We can always show generosity.

Now, you may not be in a position to give everyone a nice present.

However, you are always in a position to give the people in your life the gift of your presence and the gift of your service. Make that phone call. Send that Christmas card.

Spend time with that friend or family member you have not seen in a while. Volunteer at church to reach those in need during the holidays.

Generosity does not have to be limited by the balance in our bank account.

“The generous man will be prosperous, And he who waters will himself be watered.”
Proverbs 11:25

7 Reminders for the Holiday Season

Merry Christmas 2013

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It’s almost here. I can sense it can’t be stopped. I see it on streets, on retail establishments everywhere. I see it in some of my neighbors’ houses who have defied our HOA rules and couldn’t wait to turn their decorative lights on.

I see it in some of my Facebook friends proudly declaring that they will listen to the music now just because they can and because they want to do it :-).

Yes, we are not through with Thanksgiving yet and everyone seems ready to jump into the Christmas season.

In one way it’s a good thing. People are ready to celebrate and enjoy the festivities. I know it’s my favorite time of the year. I definitely love the Christmas holiday.

But I want you and me to be very careful so we can truly enjoy the season. We don’t want it to turn into a nightmare of stress and just more things.

And by the way, I am writing this post for myself as much as for anyone else. Here are my 7 Reminders for the Holiday Season:

  1. Spend time with family. They need you and you need them more than you need one more gift.
  2. Get involved. While there are needs around us every day, they seem to be magnified during the holiday season. Find a soup kitchen, a food pantry and donate some of your time. Take time to clean the closet and donate some clothes you no longer need. Bake some cookies and take them to your neighbors or coworkers.
  3. Give. Get involved with the many efforts available to help those in need during this season. Here are three of my favorite ministries:
  4. Stay on budget for Christmas. Make a list, take your time, and use cash. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. Don’t go deeper into debt just because it’s Christmas.
  5. Rest. Don’t let the holiday season stress you out so you need a vacation after the Christmas vacation. Take time to pause and do “nothing”. Naps are good for you!
  6. Relax. It’s ok to eat a little more on Thanksgiving. Have a Christmas cookie. Yes, it’s ok to have a Peppermint Mocha @ Starbucks. You can always get back to “normal” in January. Take time to watch a Christmas classic. Here are four of my favorite ones:
  7. Worship. Remember the reason for the season. It’s not more stuff and it’s not you or me. It’s Him. Go to church! You will be glad you did.

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
Matthew 1:23

Question: What advice do you have for enjoying the holiday season?

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