Do you have to-do lists coming out the wazoo this time of year? I do. I even have lists of the lists I need to make – I know, it’s bonkers.
I doubt I’m the only one drowning in December, getting my tinsel in a tizzy … again.
This time last year I wrote my first annual Christmas To-Don’t list
It transformed my Christmas, it really did. I was less stressed, more present in the moment, and ironically, better planned. So I’m doing it again this year and wondered if you’d like to join me.
Why should you write one – other than the benefits I just rattled off? Well, here’s what I learned from doing it last year and why I am doing it again this year, and every year until I’m enjoying Christmas with the one who invented Christmas in the first place.
Why write a Christmas To-Don’t list
- It helps you focus on what’s important.
By listing what you’re NOT going to do you’re forced to prioritize what’s important to you. Writing down what you won’t do sifts out what you’re not willing to give up or compromise in order to enjoy Christmas. I never realized staying in my PJ’s until Christmas lunch and continuing my family tradition of tucking into our Christmas chocolates well before breakfast, was that important to me.
- It gives you permission to be you.
Most of my to-do’s circle around what’s expected of me. By writing down what we won’t do we reduce the pressure to do it all, be everything to everyone and have it all together. It’s permission to have an imperfectly perfect Christmas.
- It clears our mind-talk.
Steaming through December our brains are fit to bursting with all we need to get done while our mind-talk constantly screams we’re not good enough. Listing things like “compare my home to House & Garden” or “Say yes to every invitation” helps clear out some of that messaging, freeing us to live in the truth we are enough. As Emily P Freeman said “You’re juggling plenty of balls in the air. Don’t let shame be one of them.” Don’t you just love that?
How to write your Christmas To-Don’t List
- Focus on where you feel the most emotional pressure
My hubby Al tells me not to “should” on myself when I say “I should” do something I feel pressured to do. It’s a great emotional pressure valve. Where do you feel the most emotional pressure from others? How much of it is valid and worth responding to? How much is unwarranted? I realized most of the pressure I felt from others actually came from within me, not them.
- Share it with friends and family
By sharing it with those closest to you not only does it hold you accountable, but it opens up a wonderful discussion about what’s important, that you weren’t aware of, what’s not, but you thought was, and how you want to journey through Christmas together.
- Have some fun!
It’s Christmas after all – list some things you won’t do that will make you smile. This year I’m not going to stand frozen in my closet, dressed in nothing but my best Christmas undies, praying Jesus will choose an outfit for me that screams cool, fashionable, aging-gracefully middle-aged pastor’s wife who knows her own mind. Not because He can’t or won’t choose a fabulous outfit, but because it’s cold in there!!
Here’s the start of my list. What’s on yours? What gets your knickers in a twist each year that you want to put on your to-don’t list?
Share your list in the comments below and let’s spur each other on to a Christmas that’s perfect in all its wonderful imperfection.
If like me, you struggle to trust God with all the tough parts of Christmas, you might find this post helpful. 5 Simple Steps to Trusting God When You Don’t Feel Like It
These five steps helped me trust God, especially when it’s the last thing I want to do, and I hope they helps you. I made you this handy, dandy infographic to print off and keep.