Today I've done some more "research" for my Christmas experiment. I came across an article in "life:beautiful" magazine (Winter 2008-Wanda J. Ventling and Allan Edeker). It was an excellent article on ways to bring peace home. I thought, "what a great article!" True peace only comes from the Prince of peace...which is Jesus Christ. I have fun celebrating around this time of the year, but I don't ever want to forget that the real meaning of Christmas has everything to do with Christ, and nothing at all to do with the glitz and commercialism that society has created.
Some of the peaceful things that were listed in this article are:
1. Get lost in music. ------ Do you know that calming music can lower your heart rate? A great thing to know if you are rushing around this Christmas season. Plus who doesn't love Christmas music? Don't be afraid to sing. Even if you don't have the voice of an angel--your family will applaud your effort. After all who doesn't smile when singing Christmas songs?
2. Pray.---- You don't have to carry your burdens alone. (Phil. 4:6-7) God knows this time of the year can be stressful. He wants to hear from you.
3. Avoid envy. ----We are all dealing with our own issues. Sometimes people that look like they have their holiday wrapped up in a pretty bow are the very ones that are becoming the most unraveled. Don't fall for the deception.
4. Buy a good joke book.--- Share with your kids. Laugh out loud....laugh until you snort:)The cornier the better.
5. Spend within your means.--- Don't stress yourself out more by knowing that you've maxed our your credit cards. The bill will have to be paid. It is not worth it. Really. You know it is the truth.
6. Count your blessings. Put things in context. Even the poorest of us have so much to be thankful for! There are always others who have it a lot worse then you do. Why not help someone else?
7. Smile. Not only does it make you look younger, it reduces stress and releases endorphins. Plus others will be drawn to you if you look like you are happy:)
8. Volunteer. Nothing better than helping someone else. Take the focus off yourself.
9. Get enough sleep. Rest restores. Enough said.
10. Make comfort foods. It will make you feel good to make your mom's special Christmas cookies, or grandma's yummy baked macaroni. Tradition is something everyone loves.
A couple of other great decorating ideas I came across.........
Cut out pieces of white paper in 2 in.x 2 in. squares. (construction paper, printer paper, or small index cards cut in half or thirds) Punch a hole in the top of each piece. Print a letter on each card with crayons or markers until you have spelled out "Merry Christmas". Take a piece of ribbon, yarn...whatever you have, and lace it through the holes. Hang the word garland on a mantle, across a door opening, or above a child's bed. If you feel creative you can make several word garlands with other sayings such as "Winter Wonderland", " Jesus is the Reason for the Season", or " Twas The Night Before Christmas". The garlands are simple but cute. Most children would enjoy helping with this....let them decorate their own.
If you love hot chocolate as much as I do you'll love this little bit of festive creativity. What is better than having a steaming mug of hot chocolate on the cold winter days leading up to Christmas? Try this little trick for the hot chocolate lovers at your house. Make your hot chocolate as usual. Add 2 big marshmallows on top with a little special something! (The special something is this: take a piece of paper (about 1in. x 1in.) and make a stencil. Fold the little paper in half and cut out a half heart. Open it up and you have a mini heart stencil. Put the little stencil on top of the marshmallow and sprinkle a little bit of the hot chocolate mix, or baking cocoa powder on the stencil....pull the stencil away and wa la! you have a little heart on the marshmallow.) Your kids and husband will notice the little touch. They will think you are so cool. And of course you will agree!!!
Stay tuned for more "Christmas Experiment" blogs!