Keep Christmas joyful for family and friends | TheFencePost.com

Keep Christmas joyful for family and friends

Anna Aughenbaugh
Fort Collins, Colo.

As I cross off the days to Christmas, I feel harried because of all the things that should be done before the twenty-fifth. The decorating, shopping, baking, entertaining used to be done with light hearted fun. Looking back at articles from years ago, I see titles that tell us to simplify, lighten up, make the holidays stress free, and gifts don’t have to be expensive. Of course, somewhere in these magazines there are pages of fancy desserts and menus consisting of gourmet recipes calling for ingredients that call for a trip to a specialty shop.

Why do we try to keep up with what ‘they’ say must be done? For some it is sheer joy, but for some, the rituals are overwhelming. This year I am choosing to attend several Christmas concerts and church programs, all free of charge. They will calm my spirit and help me to keep my eyes on the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas cards and notes will be mailed with forty-four cent stamps to those far away, or shut-ins who need a bit of cheer. My friends that I keep in touch with via free e-mail will get a note wishing them a joy-filled holiday.

We will take jars of bright red plum jelly that we made last summer to our neighbors with a note telling them that Jesus is the reason for the season and that we appreciate their friendship.

Think about what has made your past holidays the happiest. Try to incorporate those things into your schedule, then eliminate what caused you stress. If you enjoy baking cookies, do it, make it a family affair or invite friends to decorate them while enjoying Wassail and good conversation. Make your family’s favorite recipes for small groups of friends so you can relax, knowing how they will turn out, then encourage conversations that help you catch up on their lives.

We can’t begin to buy gifts that our grandchildren want, so this year we will give them money to put toward the electronic gadgets they want. Homemade cookies will make some of the family happy, as will lemon curd and jelly. They realize that nothin’ says lovin’ like something made in mom’s kitchen.

When you reminisce about Christmases past, it isn’t about stuff, it is the time spent with family and friends that made them special. The more we focus on that, the more fun we will have and the more fond memories we will share.