The whole Christmas season is about preparation. We read stories about the angels announcing Christ’s arrival and the world preparing for a Savior. Even in practical ways, the Christmas season requires a lot of preparation! Sometimes though, we get so set on the busyness of all we have to do or who needs our attention that Christmas starts to feel stressful and empty.

December is a month to prepare for Christmas, but it is also a time of thankfulness and wrapping up the year. Taking a little time to prepare will leave you feeling fulfilled this December rather than just too full.

1. Make a list of the people you want to intentionally honor and bless. 

Christmas is a great time to thank the people in your life and show them how important they are to you. Making a list will take you a couple of minutes and will save you from missing someone very important to you. When a close friend or dear co-worker brings you a little seasonal gift, you will not be caught off guard or guilty because you have already thought to do something for them too!

2. Do not break the bank getting everyone an individualized gift.

People do not need more stuff, but they do want to know you appreciate who they have been in your life! You don’t have to do grand gesture or buy expensive gifts for everyone. Maybe you bake (or buy) some cookies and bring them to work or write a short note to your friend. If you are attending an event, just bringing that baked casserole will honor your host and increase your enjoyment.

3. Take time to prepare your heart for the Christmas season. 

Sometimes our attempt to make sure everyone feels loved and appreciated can start to seem like a chore. If you are overwhelmed with the pressure of the holidays, take a step back to spend time with the Lord. When you remember the meaning of the season and truly appreciate all that God has done for you, your attitude and perspective can’t help but change.

I am telling myself this message! The holiday season just started, and I already feel like I am running on fumes. I have been focused on the events on my calendar and keeping up with them rather than allowing myself the act of preparation for the season.

Yesterday morning, I asked my small group of 3rd-grade girls if they would you rather receive the perfect gift or give the perfect gift, and they all flocked to be the one who gives! I was shocked. I was reminded that it’s not my responsibility to have the “perfect gift” for everyone or make every moment of the season magical. This season I want to prepare my heart first and foremost and bless those around me out of the abundance of how much the Lord has blessed me. May my heart remember the joy of preparing in this season and gift God has given me.

Want more Christmas inspiration? Listen to our MercyTalk series, “The Father’s Heart at Christmas.”