I am solidly on the side of not starting Christmas preparations until Thanksgiving is over. My girls did manage to sneak in a little Christmas music on the car radio prior to Thanksgiving Day, but I did mildly protest!
Now you may be like my daughters, ready to start celebrating the Christmas season at the beginning of November, and that’s fine.
Regardless, Christmas preparations are now in full swing. This past weekend we got our live tree, decorated it, and are now asking Alexa to play us Christmas songs every morning. The wreath is on the door, and the advent calendar is hanging on the wall.
But I’m just not feeling it yet. I love the tree, and how cozy it makes our house feel. I’m happy that the stockings are hung. And I’m not in the throes of gift-buying madness or cookie-baking panic, either. I just don’t have that Christmas spirit.
We still have a while to get there, but if you’re like me, maybe one of the ways I’ve listed below will help us get our hearts ready for this Christmas season.
1. Read an advent devotional or follow a Christmas-themed Bible reading plan.
I just started Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story. Technically the book starts on December 1st. However, I know I’ll miss a couple of days somewhere in the month, so I started a few days early. Other activities like lighting advent candles or decorating a Jesse Tree can help get you in a Christmas frame of mind.
2. Play Christmas music.
I shocked my girls earlier this week when I confessed that I’m not a big fan of Christmas hymns. They made me feel like I’ve been living a lie all these years, complimenting them on the Christmas piano pieces they’ve played in church or at recitals when I’m not a big fan of the songs, lol!
There are a few traditional hymns that I like, but I also really enjoy songs from Christmas cantatas that I’ve heard performed (an all-time favorite being Ten Thousand Hallelujahs. Here’s one of the songs.) The point is, find seasonal music that causes you to think about Jesus’ birth. (Christmas Grace is a new favorite of mine this year.) Add in a few fun Christmas tunes, too!
3. Start planning your giving.
Yes, my like-to-be-organized self makes a list of who we’re buying gifts for, how much we plan to spend, and all that good stuff. But let’s go beyond that. Who can we bless this Christmas season? Is there a person you could help that can likely never return the favor? What about anonymous giving?
Whether we bake cookies, deliver a meal, or find a great deal on a gift we know someone will love, let’s get the focus off of ourselves. We truly receive a bigger blessing when we give rather than when we’re on the receiving end.
4. Find good Christmas entertainment.
Watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, with the kids or by yourself. Maybe a Hallmark Christmas movie will inspire you. As a family, listen to a Christmas-related audiobook or read one aloud yourself.
I like The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This Family Read-Aloud Christmas Treasury looks good, as does Home for Christmas: Stories for Old and Young. (I think Nikki recommended the second one.)
5. Read the Christmas story in Luke 2 every day between now and December 25th.
Go back to Luke 1 and read the history of Elisabeth and Mary. Go over to Matthew 1 to read about Joseph, and Matthew 2 for the story of the wise men. Meditate on the people and events that surrounded the birth of baby Jesus.
6. Write down a list of ten reasons why Jesus being born at Christmas is important to you.
Want help getting started? Jesus came to earth to be born as a baby because of God’s great love for us. Because Jesus came to earth and submitted to God’s plan, our sins can be forgiven. You get the idea.
Once you have your list finished, read through it once a day.
7. Attend a Christmas-themed event.
Go to a play, a musical, a tree lighting, a parade, a big Christmas lights display, or a concert. There are likely all kinds of community events in your area centered around Christmas. See if the Christmas spirit is contagious!
The Christmas season is just getting underway, and I hope you’ll enjoy these next few weeks as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
[If you have children, check out these 5 Christmas Bible Verses to Teach Your Children and 10 Gifts from Jesus to Unwrap This Year: An Object Lesson for Our Children.]