Christmas Sanity Plan – Part 1

At the end of December I blogged about my plan to do Christmas differently in 2009. I decided that the best way to get through Christmas without losing my mind (or causing others to lose theirs) is to do something every month instead of trying to cram it all into November and December. Each month of 2009 I will be blogging about what I am doing in an effort to put some sanity back into my Christmas season. Please join me in this project if you like and share your ideas with me. I’m not really all that creative so I love to hear what others are doing.

My Christmas sanity plan for January is to make a list of all the people I want to bless for Christmas next year. Notice I didn’t say AT Christmas because that would indicate that I was going to buy them all gifts. While I do intend to buy gifts for some, my main goal this year is to do things that are more relational in nature. Think about it; if you really care enough about someone to buy them a gift, wouldn’t you rather spend some time enjoying their company, or providing a service for them that would make their life easier?

I’ve been working on my list. Of course, my kids, my husband, and my family members are on the list. Also on the list are my pastors and their wives. I could write a whole blog on why I like to bless them in some way for Christmas but suffice it to say they are cool people, they work hard, and I love them. And, I have some amazing friends, neighbors, and people that I work with for whom I would like to do something.

Now that I have a list I can start thinking of what I’d like to do for these people. When I think of something I’ll make note of it. Here are a few things I’m considering, plus a few you might want to think about doing:

1. Invite them over for dinner – if it’s someone you’d have over anyway, this idea might not be the best choice, but remember I’m trying to keep it relational. It doesn’t have to be a fancy meal, just a time to have fun together.

2. Send a gift to your favorite mission organization in honor of your friend or family member. Every time my kids do something like this for us it makes me cry. Knowing that a child can eat in Africa, or Thailand, or really anywhere, is about the best gift I can think of when I’m surrounded by all my “stuff” in my warm house on Christmas morning.

3. Help them plant their garden, or buy them some plants for their garden in the spring.

4. Provide a night of babysitting for someone with youg children. Trust me, they could use a night out!

5. Have a tea party for the women in your neighborhood.

6. Create a “batch of cookies” a month club. You bake the cookies and send them off each month to a lucky recipient. This is a great gift idea for a working mom or a college student. Our son is doing this as a gift for his brothers this year.

7. Check out the World Vision website for some great gift ideas. Buying an animal for someone in a third world country is a great way to honor your friend.

8. Create a video for grandparents of their grandchildren doing a play or a musical performance. If you can, add some humor. It’ll make it more fun to watch. (Our children aren’t as cute and compelling as they used to be but I thought I’d throw this idea out for those of you with younger children.)

9. Sponsor a child through Compassion International in honor of someone.

10. Magazine subscriptions are great ideas for your favorite reader.

This list could go on and on. Of course, there are some people I just want to buy a regular gift for, and I’m sure you’ll have people like that on your list. Here’s my advice on that – start now! There are some amazing sales going on right now so why not save money AND get an early start. As you pick up gifts through the year store them in a special spot so you won’t forget you have them. (I’ve done that more than once!) Most importantly, take out your list and write down what you bought and who you plan to give it to. If you find a particularly good sale, pick up a couple extras. You’ll mostly likely forget to put someone on your list right now or you’ll need a hostess gift for next year’s Christmas parties. If all else fails and you can’t find anyone to give it to, either donate it to charity or wrap it up for yourself. You can label it “To………., From a secret admirer.” That’ll stir up some conversation on Christmas morning!

If you want to participate in my Christmas Sanity plan, now is the time to start the list making. More to come next month!