Tips for a Holiday Season of Joy

Originally Appeared in : 9724-11/23/17

This is the time of year when I’m most excited about the holiday season. We are a few weeks ahead of things and I’m able to have a sense of joyful anticipation about it all. It’s so exciting and wonderful – I can hardly wait.


Of course, give me some time and I’ll start hyperventilating. 


The further we get into things, the crazier I get. Parties. Shopping. Interacting with all those people. If I’m not careful I can lose focus completely and the Season of Joy becomes something to be endured.


As we read in Colossians 3:15, “... let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.” There is no better time than the holidays to put this into practice.


How do we let peace rule in our hearts? We have to trust that God loves us, that he sees us, and that he has our best interests at heart. We also have to believe that everything we do – every encounter with another person, every task set before us – it is all something God has asked of us and an opportunity to grow in love. 


That attitude, I have found, simplifies so much. If I go about my day (and week, and holiday season) with an attitude that God is with me in the midst of it all, I can have the peace I need to do what I must.


Here are some other things I consider, to help me stay sane when all the business sets in.


Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy? I’ve learned to ask myself this on a regular basis, especially when it comes to situations where I feel annoyed or frustrated. Do I need to “win” this argument? Do I really want to go around “setting people straight”? When I can let go of the need to be right, I find so much freedom. This attitude helps when all the holiday family gatherings begin.


There is no perfect family. Sometimes what motivates us in agitation is that we don’t like the crazy. I want to fix my own crazy, and I’m often tempted to address (even just to my husband) the crazy of those around me. Be at peace. 


Get some alone time. Find what feeds your soul. This season is busy and there will be many things we do that are fun, but also depleting. Enjoy those, but in this craziness, be sure to find things here and there that give you energy instead of taking it away.


Spend time in prayer. I used to get really tripped up with this concept. I thought a good prayer time had to be an hour in the adoration chapel, or uninterrupted time in front of a lit candle in my living room. Those are both ideal and if you can swing it, go for it. But don’t let “perfect” be the enemy of “really, really good.” If you find yourself alone in the kitchen making soup, talk to God. Folding laundry and no one has found you in the laundry room? Spend some time in prayer. Stay connected with the King of the Universe who loves you so much. 


This too shall pass. Sometimes I can enjoy things even more because I know it won’t last forever. The pace of this upcoming season can be crazy. Just remember this isn’t your normal life. That’s a good thing. We can’t do this forever, but that helps us not get too overwhelmed in the midst of all the fun.
Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Are you at your limit? You might need to sit this one out.


Don’t forget your armor. You know what the devil hates? Families. He hates them. And he loves to stir up trouble and division. Before you go into gatherings that might be stressful, put on your armor of God. Also ask God to protect from the lies of the devil – pull Saint Michael in on this too. Defend us in the battle, Saint Michael, against the wickedness and snares of the devil.


All of this, and don’t forget to have fun. It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Thank you, God, for sending your son to save us.


Rachel Swenson Balducci is a freelance writer and member of Most Holy Trinity Church, Augusta. She can be reached at

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