A stress-free Christmas: 5 ways to keep Santa in the season

November 28th, 2014

Happy holiday time has arrived. Way too many folks suffer unnecessary stress during this time, mainly because of a lack of focus on the really important center, which is, of course, Santa, gifts, family and fun.

However, we all face multiple distractions which dilute the reasons for the season. So, below, you will five suggestions that, faithfully followed, will guarantee a relaxed, fun Christmas celebration free of distraction.

1. Music

Choose carefully the kinds of seasonal music surrounding you and your loved ones. Again, the holidays are a season of happiness, family, joy and gifts. Accompanying music should be full of good cheer, packed with expectations of stuff and fun. Things like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “White Christmas” and “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” are highly encouraged.

Under no conditions should you listen to such deeply melancholy songs as “Mary Did You Know” or, God forbid, “In the Bleak Midwinter.” “O Come All Ye Faithful” is to be avoided at all costs. “Silent Night” is marginally OK as long as it is accompanied by snow, lots of snow, which quite well obscures any other nuances in the song.

Please, above all, do not even consider listening to Handel’s Messiah. Let’s face it, titles like “For Behold, Darkness Shall Cover the Earth,” “The People that Walked in Darkness,” or “He Was Cut Off Out of the Land of the Living” have no place in happy Christmas Celebrations.

2. Decor

Christmas decor ideally reflects the cheer and happiness of the season. Frolicking reindeer, dancing Santas, fluffy geese, picturesque villages with trains (trains are seriously trendy) running through them — those are good choices. Snow should be everywhere, since a white Christmas is the most hoped for goal. Load up on nutcrackers — they point directly to the real meaning of Christmas: gifts and more gifts. A star is OK on top of the tree but a big, fancy bow representing the hope of many beautifully wrapped boxes is far, far preferable.

If you must display a Nativity scene, make sure that Mary and Joseph look clean and well-nourished, with expensive robes draping them. Baby Jesus should be wrapped in the best. The manger/crib should be comfortable, padded and artistically carved.

Don’t worry about biblical accuracy with your nativity scene, so showcase the family in a remote shack rather than in the bosom of the household as all first century stables were. Don’t even hint at the idea that relatives who had already filled their guest quarters would under no conditions send a young, pregnant woman out to birth a baby alone. Ignore the fact that the wise men showed up a year or two later and were most definitely not present at or near the birth. A giant benevolent-looking Santa overlooking the nativity would be a nice touch.

3. Holiday activities

Fill the weeks leading to Christmas with parties, shopping, cooking as much highly-sugared food as possible, visits to Santa and hints of gifts. Watch lots of family, Santa-themed TV shows, especially ones that affirm how real Santa is or could be if people would believe properly.

Talk about Santa daily, reminding children that Santa knows EVERYTHING. Use that omniscience to enforce good behavior for children because the pressure of all the parties and other activities, fueled by excess sugar and alcohol, makes it impossible for parents to be good disciplinarians.

Emphasize Santa’s great powers, his ability to be everywhere at once, and how important it is to believe in him or he might not show up. Remind your children frequently that Santa has the power to grant wishes — and never disappoints.

4. Holiday worship

Should you be in the habit of attending worship services, I suggest you refrain from doing so in the weeks leading up to Christmas. In the first place, it will ease the holiday scheduling somewhat. But more importantly, it frees you from having to deal with distracting issues surrounding Advent practices.

Advent, the Christian season leading to Christmas, is about the preparation on the part of broken humanity to receive the Savior. Advent readings don’t fit well with the theme of cheer, happiness, gifts and Santa that characterize the season. For example, look at the Old Testament reading for the first Sunday in Advent. This is downright depressing and to be avoided if you want to keep holiday spirits intact.

However, if you feel you must go to church during those weeks, go to those that ignore Advent and it’s minor-key, sad music. Far, far less confusing and helps keep your energy level high, undistracted by pondering the lost state of humanity.

One exception might be Christmas Eve — making sure, of course, that the service time is convenient and does not interfere with other planned family fun, celebrations, TV specials and Santa’s appearance. The best choice is some place where you will be treated to a spectacular professional performance, preferably with live animals.

5. Christmas Day

This day is ALL about the gifts Santa and his elves made and Rudolph brought. If you want to mention Jesus, perhaps you can do a “birthday party for Jesus” when you bring out the dessert for the meal. If you do this, be sure that the babyhood of Jesus is all that is mentioned. Do not let any idea of “God with us” or “Unto us a Son is Given” where the government will be upon his shoulders and he shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, with the concomitant demand for adoration, interfere with the party/gift atmosphere.

I feel sure there are lots of other suggestions for keeping people focused and stress-free for the season. Please feel free to add yours in the comments section below. It’s time to take back Christmas and keep intact the reason for the season!

Editor's note: Just in case there's any doubt, yes, this post is tongue-in-cheek.

Christy blogs at ChristyThomas.com.

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