This weekend, I’ll be very busy Nutcracker-ing. (Is that a verb? It is now.) I’ll return next week with a regularly scheduled post, but for now enjoy this holiday post I originally published in 2015.
Christmas is almost upon us, and if you’re anything like me, you’re getting very excited about it!
But even as we hype ourselves up for the wonderful morning, we also expect the letdown when everything is over. You know the feeling: the presents are opened, there isn’t anything left to do, and you start feeling disappointed, sad, or frustrated that it’s all over.
How can we avoid this holiday letdown and spend more time focusing on the true joy that Christmas is supposed to bring? Here are four things you can do to help prevent and offset those feelings of disappointment.
1. Don’t build up unrealistic expectations.
We are all prone to building up and anticipating Christmas much more than we actually should be. We hype up the gift part of it so much and expect everything to be perfect and wonderful for the entire day.
This is dangerous; don’t allow yourself to imagine Christmas being perfect. The world is still fallen on Christmas, the presents don’t last forever, and things will not be magically perfect on the twenty-fifth of December. Don’t imagine it that way.
2. Make God the center from the start of the day.
If you wake up before your siblings or have to wait for your parents to get ready in the morning, spend that time before you open gifts reading the Christmas story in your Bible and praying that God would give you the right heart during the day’s festivities.
This will help remind you of the purpose of the day before the gift-unwrapping starts. And even if you don’t have time to read your Bible beforehand, you can still say a quick prayer to yourself to help center your mind on God.
3. Focus on the right things while opening gifts.
While you are opening gifts, take your time. Don’t rush through it. Focus on enjoying the delight of others when they receive the things you picked out for them. Focus on appreciating each gift that you open. Take it slowly and keep yourself in a generous and thankful mindset.
4. When the presents are gone, spend time in the Word.
The letdown usually hits in the time between the end of gift-opening and the next order of business for the day. You are just sitting around staring at the piles of gifts that have all been opened, waiting for whatever happens next.
Avoid this by immediately spending some time reading your Bible or a devotional and praying after all of the gifts have been opened. Thank God for the blessings He has given you and refocus yourself on the greatest Gift of all: Christ Himself.
Will you try these strategies? Have you experienced letdown in the past? How else have you dealt with it?