Taking time for the cheeseball

Yesterday I whipped up a cheeseball — for when else do you have a cheeseball but at Christmas? — and we invited our neighbours and a few friends over for an impromptu gathering. We sang Christmas carols, quite badly for the most part, as it turned out, but that just added to the fun (we hope).

The thing is, it is so easy at Christmas to do all the things you feel you have to do, and not very much of the things you actually want to do. A lot of us, and I think particularly the mothers and wives among us, can become almost obsessed with creating a magical Christmas for everyone else, and we end up exhausted and disappointed at our own inability to achieve this.

Relax and breathe this Christmas.

It’s so silly when you think of it. His burden is light, remember? And it has nothing to do with the crazy way we often celebrate His birth.

Our family is always tweaking our Christmas, trying to fit in special family times amidst the busy schedule of a clergy household this time of year. Most people I speak to try to slow things down and simplify them almost every Christmas. Here are a few tiny steps we have taken  (and we’re not experts at this, that is for sure):

  1. Simplify gift-giving. We save up all year in a special account named “gifts” and out of that we purchase fewer but better gifts for our three almost adult children. There were years I would really fret over the gifts for other people, trying to make them perfect. I’ve discovered people don’t actually care that much. It’s all okay.
  2. We practice hospitality. Or we try to. This is not always out of an altruistic sense, but because we like to have fun with our friends, and singing together and eating cheese is part of that. You have to make those things happen.
  3. We volunteer at a Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day. This has been the single most important act that has transformed our Christmas celebrations. For us it has not been about the “feel good” of serving others, it’s been about being with others. There’s been something very healing about being with other Christ-followers on Christmas Day. Then we go home and have special and fun family time.

Here at Faith Today, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We hope you can slow down. We hope you can take time to read something beautiful. We wish for you moments of quiet and moments of community.

(And we would be remiss if we did not remind you of our two-for-one gift subscription deal that means you don’t have to go to the mall again, and someone on your list will receive Canada’s Christian magazine all year long).

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