How One Reader is Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas

Preparing for a Peaceful Advent & a Joyful Christmas {guest post on RaisingArrows.net}

Today, Rebecca from Real Mama Joy is sharing how she is
Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas!


It seems as though time keeps melding the days, seasons and years together, slipping by at a faster and faster pace, doesn’t it? Sometimes this is a comforting phenomenon; when one fun event passes, it won’t be too long until the next one. Also, each challenge is only a phase that will transform with the color of the leaves. However, for many of us moms, the quick pace of time can be overwhelming, with too much to do and not enough time to do it. Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is practically upon us.

Just beyond the turkey dinner lies the Christmas season! Each year, it seems to sneak up on me sooner.

As many of you know, in October Amy at Raising Arrows shared about the 12 Week Christmas Planner {affiliate}, discussing how she will be using it this year and suggesting her readers to do the same. I was immediately intrigued. I admire Amy, and if a homeschooling mama of a large family gives me a tip on how she does it all, I’m going to take it! I have never begun planning for Christmas in October, but the idea of getting a head start sounded wonderful.

We have all heard that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and of course that is true. However, that phrase can easily become a cliché lost in the midst of receipts, groceries, silver bells, cookie recipes and tinsel.

20141104_185807I yearn for a peaceful Advent;
full of time reading and praying with my husband and children;
full of candles lit around the Advent wreath while we enjoy a hot dinner together;
full of snuggling on the couch and singing Christmas carols.
I long for an Advent that isn’t so full.

 

In order to create a more peaceful Advent, planning earlier has been immensely helpful. By the end of October, I had wrapped my first Christmas present, ordered Christmas cards, designed and ordered photo gifts, bought my craft supplies (I was actually going to have time for some Christmas crafts!), planned my four children’s holiday outfits, ordered a few other gifts, made my Advent wreath, and found the recipes for several things I wanted to bake! In past years, each of these tasks would have been completed in November and December, some not at all. What an improvement!

With this improvement comes the temptation to fill December with more. It’s easy to begin thinking,

Since I’ve gotten so much done,
I can now create every Christmas craft on Pinterest!

I have to remind myself that I am trying to SIMPLIFY December in order to have a more peaceful Advent and joyful Christmas, keeping my heart on Jesus.

I have not been able to follow the 12 Week Christmas Planner exactly the way it is outlined. Because I purchased it about a week late, I had to try and make up for that. Also, life goes on and is quite full without early Christmas planning! October and November have been busy months, with out-of-town guests, an ongoing remodel, a special weekend with my husband without children (yay!), and then all of the regular homeschooling, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc, etc. Preparing for Christmas amidst all of this has been a challenge!20141029_181236

But it has been SO worth it.

While precisely following the 12 Week Christmas Planner has not been realistic for me, I am still leaps and bounds better off than I would be without the planner. Furthermore, next year will be even more organized! All of the forms I have filled out will be there for reference in upcoming years, streamlining the preparation process even more.

If you haven’t started preparing for Christmas, I encourage you to begin as soon as you can. The sooner you get each task done, the less chaos you will have this Advent. Imagine a Christmas without stress! It is definitely worth the organization you could be doing now. Begin checking items off of your Christmas to-do list. It would still be worthwhile to buy the planner, even though there are only five weeks left before Christmas. Did you hear that? Only five weeks!

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE POST IN THE SERIES!

At Real Mama Joy, I’m all about being real and I’m all about joy. I strive to discover and choose joy amidst the everyday chaos of motherhood. We all want to live our lives joyfully for our children, especially during the Christmas season. Being more prepared and planning ahead of time will reduce your stress this Christmas season, allowing you to experience and share more joy.

Once your planning is underway, you can enjoy your Advent! Drink hot cocoa with your kids. Read the story of the Nativity with them. Make paper snowflakes together. Bake cookies. Hold them and cherish them.

Your children are the joy of Christmas come to life!

May your Advent be full of peace and your Christmas full of joy!

Real Mama Joy Portrait ImageRebecca is a writer at her blog, Real Mama Joy, where she focuses on discovering joy in motherhood, homeschooling and everyday life with the help of her Catholic faith. She is a homeschooling mother of four children. She believes that most often in the everyday life of motherhood, joy is a choice. With diapers and boogers and whining and disobedience and the hundredth spill in one day, that choice can be hard! It is Rebecca’s hope and prayer that by sharing her journey with readers, she will help to spread Jesus’ message of joy to other moms.

Educational Games Sale from SimplyFun – Today & Tomorrow only!

SimplyFun Educational Games Annual Sale - Give gifts that teach!

 

I am a firm believer that gifts should be well-thought out.  Junky plastic toys and mindless entertainment don’t rank high on my list of “must-buy” items for Christmas and birthdays.  For one thing, I don’t need the clutter in my house, and for another, I want my children to actually be learning something from the gifts they receive.

That’s why the annual sale at SimplyFun is an event I like to promote!

SimplyFun is a company that offers high quality, educationally-minded games.  Your children have fun AND learn!

Here are some of the games included in the sale… (click here for more info on the games!)

SimplyFun Annual Holiday Sale - High Quality Educational Games!

Consider the subjects your child struggles with in school.  What might a game do to help them grasp the concept?  Think about playing that game alongside your child!  Think about the entire family joining in and reinforcing learning while having a blast together!

Don’t waste money on junk this year!  And don’t waste time and miss this sale!  It runs TODAY and TOMORROW ONLY!

CLICK HERE TO START SHOPPING!

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas – Week 7

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas:  Week 7 - Shopping Week #2 | RaisingArrows.net

Follow along with the series!
CLICK HERE

How did you do with the Week 6 To Do List? Hopefully all the items have been completed and you are now ready for Week 7!

Just a quick reminder before we get started: These Weekly To Do lists are directly from The 12-Week Holiday Planner. Those of you who have purchased The Holiday Planner will have all the forms that go along with the To Do Lists. If you have not purchased the planner, then you will need to make your own forms or buy your own copy!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

Our focus this week will be another shopping trip to prepare for Thanksgiving. Have fun shopping some of those before-Thanksgiving sales and make sure you get everything you will need for Thanksgiving dinner. Prepare your home for a wonderful time of giving thanks to the Lord for all He has blessed us with! Have a great week!

Week 7: Shopping Week #2

[ ] Before-Thanksgiving Sale Shopping! Complete as much shopping as possible! Take advantage of the many items that are on sale before Thanksgiving!

[ ] Shopping for Thanksgiving! Check Thanksgiving menus, grocery list, and purchase any additional, needed supplies. Are appliances for health on your list?

[ ] Make Your Lists & Go Shopping! Use the Shopping List forms provided to make your lists and GO SHOPPING!

Accountability:

Once you have completed this list, come back here and tell us about it! Let’s encourage each other to plug away at these “to do’s” now so that our holidays can be less stressful and more focused on Jesus!

To see all the posts in this series, CLICK HERE!

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas – Week 6

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas:  Week 6 - Shopping Week #1 | RaisingArrows.net

Follow along with the series!
CLICK HERE

How did you do with the Week 5 To Do List? Hopefully all the items have been completed and you are now ready for Week 6!

Just a quick reminder before we get started: These Weekly To Do lists are directly from The 12-Week Holiday Planner. (affiliate link) Those of you who have purchased The Holiday Planner will have all the forms that go along with the To Do Lists. If you have not purchased the planner, then you will need to make your own forms or buy your own copy!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

This week’s tasks begin with decorating for Thanksgiving. If you haven’t already done so, spend some time this week decorating your home with fall decorations. I know we are doing a lot of planning for Christmas, but we don’t want to forget about Thanksgiving and how much we have to be thankful for.

Then you will pull out those Christmas Gift Shopping Lists you made a few weeks back and head to the store! But you won’t stop there. You will go ahead and wrap those gifts and get ready to ship any that need to be shipped later. Have fun!

Note from Amy:  As you can imagine, my Thanksgiving and Christmas planning is looking a little different from what it might be were we not moving.  I had a reader ask me to elaborate on what planning for a peaceful holiday season looks like when you are in this kind of upheaval.  I’ll be doing a post very soon on this topic as I’m sure I’m not the only one going through a bit of stress this year. :)

Week 6: Shopping Week #1

[ ] Decorate your home for Thanksgiving!

[ ] Christmas Gifts to Buy! Turn to your Christmas Gift Shopping List filed under the Christmas Gifts section and focus on purchasing these gifts this week.

[ ] Wrap Gifts! Wrap and label gifts as you go!

[ ] Prepare to Ship! Set aside shipping boxes for those gifts that will need to be shipped later.

Accountability:

Once you have completed this list, come back here and tell us about it! Let’s encourage each other to plug away at these “to do’s” now so that our holidays can be less stressful and more focused on Jesus!

To see all the posts in this series, CLICK HERE!

Are you Ready for Thanksgiving? {Thanksgiving Resources from Raising Arrows}

It’s November! We’ve had unseasonably warm weather here that finally took a definite turn toward Autumn this past week.  I was finally in the mood to plan for Thanksgiving (thankfully, my 12 Week Holiday Planner already had me thinking in that direction!).

By the way, have you been following along with the Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas series?  We just started Week 5, but it isn’t too late to jump in!

Speaking of jumping in…have you had a chance to rake up some leaves and jump in them?  How about taking a hike through a wooded lane to admire God’s handiwork?  Why not mix up some cider and just go outside and breathe deep?  Or stay inside and cuddle up?  No matter how you choose to celebrate Autumn, I’d encourage to celebrate it with THANKFULNESS.  Here are a few resources from my blog to help you do just that!Thanksgiving Resources from RaisingArrows.net to help you get ready for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Activities

Blessing Tree | RaisingArrows.netMake a Family Blessing Tree

Family Thanksgiving Worship Service (free guide) | RaisingArrows.net

Share in a Family Thanksgiving Service

I also want to introduce you to something new to us this year:

Amy Puetz’s ebook “Countdown to Thanksgiving

(affiliate link)

This ebook is 2 weeks worth of readings and activities to help you make the most of Thanksgiving.  This is exactly what I had been looking for, so I was thrilled to see this resource and pass it along to all of you!


Thanksgiving Recipes

Granny's Homemade Thanksgiving Dressing | RaisingArrows.netHomemade Thanksgiving Dressing

Sweet Potato Casserole | RaisingArrows.netSweet Potato Casserole

Cranberry Celebration SaladCranberry Celebration Salad

Pumpkin Crumble Cake

Caramel Apple French ToastCaramel Apple French Toast Casserole

Peanut Butter Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Sugar Coated Roasted NutsHoliday Spiced Nuts

Festive Hot Punch | RaisingArrows.netFestive Hot Punch


Helping You Have a Peaceful Thanksgiving

Enjoy a Low-Stress Thanksgiving

How Mommy Can Have a Thankful Thanksgiving

Helping Your Children Behave at a Large Thanksgiving Gathering

The Large Family Mom’s Guide to Thanksgiving

Grieving Through the Holidays

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas – Week 5

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas:  Week 5 - Gift Making Week | RaisingArrows.netFollow along with the series!
CLICK HERE

How did you do with the Week 4 To Do List? Hopefully all the items have been completed and you are now ready for Week 5!

Just a quick reminder before we get started: These Weekly To Do lists are directly from The 12-Week Holiday Planner (affiliate link). Those of you who have purchased The Holiday Planner will have all the forms that go along with the To Do Lists. If you have not purchased the planner, then you will need to make your own forms or buy your own copy!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER!

Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas - a 12 week series from RaisingArrows.net and SheriGraham.com

This week we will be tackling some big items! I know this list is small, but you will have to work hard to get these done. You will be focusing on finishing up any homemade gifts, writing a Christmas letter, getting a family photo ready, and working on your Christmas cards! Whew! So, put on some Christmas music and get busy. Have fun!

Note from Amy:  If you are completely opposed to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, light a candle and grab some hot chocolate!  I am not making any homemade gifts this year, but I am going to try to get a Christmas letter done this week!  Oh, and no Christmas photo for us either – that needs to wait until baby is born (and I’ve had a bit of time to get the pregnancy weight off! ;) )

Week 5: Gift Making Week

[ ] Homemade Gifts! Focus your energies on completing gifts to be made and setting aside gifts that aren’t coming together.

[ ] Christmas Letter! Write a Christmas letter. A draft page is provided, as well as a few stationary pages!

[ ] Family Photos! Find family photos suitable for inclusion with Christmas cards.

[ ] Christmas Card List! Finalize your Christmas Card List and prepare cards/newsletters for mailing.

Accountability:

Once you have completed this list, come back here and tell us about it! Let’s encourage each other to plug away at these “to do’s” now so that our holidays can be less stressful and more focused on Jesus!

To see all the posts in this series, CLICK HERE!