WE ARE THERE!!! Yes – parents across the UK have heaved a big sign of relief as the busiest term at school is over and we are now in the Christmas holidays. Yes there might be a few days of excited pre-Christmas children to put up with before the big day, but you made it.
So what now? I am sure there are many things on your to-do list, but I want to share with you 10 things that I will be doing over my Christmas break this year to invest in both myself and my family and set us up well for the start of 2019. Perhaps you’d like to join me in some of them:
- REST and RELAX. This is your Christmas holiday too, and you shouldn’t have to do all the jobs of all the child care. Make sure you plan in time for you to rest and relax. And if that means not planning hundreds of trips or activities, then thats fine! Let the kids be wild for a bit, let them play with their new toys and watch hours of TV. It is not going to break or ruin them, but it might just give you that bit of space and recharge time that you actually need. Accept offers of help from family members (or ask if you need help), curl up with a good book or have a nap and rest.
- FIND A BIBLE VERSE FOR 2019. Maybe you already do this, maybe you don’t, but I have found it useful the last few years to pray over and find a verse for the year. This gives me something spiritual to focus on, and often it reflects where God is taking our family that year. I find comfort in it when life is hard, and I often write it somewhere so I can see it throughout the year and reflect on it. (You can read mine from last year here)
- REFLECT ON 2018. Did you have a list of goals, aims or activities that you wanted to do in 2018? Then take a look back and see what you achieved or didn’t. That way you can congratulate and celebrate the successes of the year, take stock of what didn’t go to plan, and maybe refocus for the year to come. Its great to do this at least once a year, as we often forget how far we’ve come! Me and my husband like to do this on New Year’s Eve together with the next step…
- WRITE GOALS FOR 2019. Whilst we are reflecting on the year gone by we look to the year ahead and write some goals and aims we have for the year. This keeps us focussed, and the span various elements of our lives. They might be personal, work related, hobby related, spiritual. Whatever you want to do in the next year, write it down and keep it safe! This really helps us to get rid of the unnecessary things we are doing and focus on what we are passionate about for that season.
- MAKE YOUR FAMILY YEARBOOK. Whilst looking back on 2018, you might also want to remember the times you’ve shared together as a family. I like to do this by creating a yearbook with all the photos we’ve taken. We download all the photos from our respective phones and filter through for the best, then I put them in a photobook online ready to be printed. I love this time of remembering the highlights of the year, birthdays, holidays, big events. And to have these in print makes them even more special. Photo books normally cost around £35 so its a good way to use any Christmas money you might get! (We love this one with the cut out numbers on the front from photobox)
- CREATE A READING WISHLIST. Leaders are learners, so as the leader of your household (and whatever other ministries you are involved in!) you should be planning to learn more over the next year. Whether that is books, audio books, podcasts or you tube videos, make a list of topics you want to grow in over the next year and research what books and resources will help you do that. Then collate a wishlist of what you want to read/watch/listen to over the year. Be realistic – we are mums and don’t always have a lot of reading time! So maybe 1 book a month might be achievable, or 1 every couple of months. Why not add a few books for pleasure to the list too from your favourite fiction authors. Watch this space for my list…..
- WRITE A FAMILY BUCKET LIST. I am sure we all get lost in the routine and busyness of school, swimming lessons, football, etc. So its great to sit down with your kids and chat about what extra things you might like to do this year. We did something similar over the summer holidays, but a bucket list for the year could include places to go, activities you want to try, restaurants you’d like to eat at, people you’d like to visit, films you’d like to see. Let everyone contribute and them type it up and frame it, so you can tick things off throughout the year. Then when you have a free Saturday, you can look at the list and do something fun together! Make sure you add a mixture of free/cheap/treat things to the list so there’s always something to suit your budget. (Here’s ours from last year – I think we managed 9 out of the 20!)
- PLAN IN THE BIG THINGS. Buy yourself a planner, calendar or diary and book in the important things of the year right now! Holiday weeks, special birthdays, trips to family members. The non-negotiables of life go in first, and then the things that you really want to find time to do. Without planning, we can miss out on some great things and seeing important people, so make sure you plan to have a great 2019.
- BUY NON-PERISHABLE SUPPLIES IN THE SALE. This might just be me, but I like to alleviate the stress and cost of next years Christmas really early by getting non-perishable things in the sale now. Christmas cards, wrapping paper, even reduced gifts to stash away. You can also get the next size up clothes for your kids ready for the coming year, and even buy all the birthday cards you will need now and write them ready! If you can take some stress out of 2019, then do it!!
- RECYCLE THOSE CHRISTMAS CARDS. Maybe you don’t get as many now, but we always try to recycle what Christmas cards we do get. The fronts get cut into tags for presents next year, and the bits with names on get put into a box and made into prayer cards so we can pray over those close to us over the coming year (thanks Gospel Centred Parenting for this fab idea!).