A Kids’ Christmas: Declutter Chaos and Embrace Joy
By Sherry Gareis
Oh, to be a kid again! Many of us wish for a time long gone by of Saturday morning cartoons in jammies, playing outside until the lights came on and worrying about nothing more than if Mom was going to catch you and your BFF giggling too loudly in the middle of the night. Where oh where have the simpler times gone?
Daily life today doesn’t remotely resemble the simplicity that was the days of old, and this has spilled into the holiday season, which has morphed into a stream of hurry, confusion and exhaustion. We don’t even stop long enough to see lights twinkling; they’ve become nothing more than a blur. The joy of being in the ‘now’ – slowing down long enough to celebrate each moment – is lost. Even more distressing is that we’re imparting this destructive and chaotic lifestyle on our children. Let’s make a collective decision this Christmas to start a new tradition: to pause, appreciate and celebrate each holiday moment and give our kids the best gift of all…joy.
But how in the midst of a zillion holiday to-do’s and commitments, in addition to our normal busyness, do we take a step back and declutter chaos? The answer is easier than you think.
Just say NO!
In the book, Declutter Now!, that I co-authored with my husband, we discuss that it’s okay to say ‘NO’! In fact, we’re called to do so, but we often have a hard time pulling it off. Here are two important ‘NO’S’ to help you declutter chaos and share the true meaning of Christmas joy with your kids.
Say NO to excessive gifting and spending. When the urge arises to celebrate Christmas with your children by accumulating a mountain of gifts, FIGHT the temptation to satiate this desire with quantity over quality. Celebrate each child’s uniqueness and seek their heart first. As parents, we all enjoy surprising our kids, but there are meaningful ways to accomplish this that won’t send a false, ‘more is better’ message. Dueling ex’s may attempt to ‘one-up’ the other through lavishing their kids with gifts or attempting to buy love, but this is a slippery slope with unhealthy consequences for all involved. Lead by example. Model for your children that one doesn’t have to indulge in excess to enjoy Christmas, or anything else for that matter.
Years ago, my family would spoil my sons to such a degree that there was often nothing left for me to get them what they wanted or needed. Thank goodness I never felt the obligation to spend a boatload of money just to say I did. Most of the time they more FAR more enamored with the boxes the toys came in than the toys themselves anyway, and I learned much from this.
Also, consider that the more you spend, the more shopping that must be done to support the behavior, so this is both a budget and time killer. Can you shop online? This is an efficient, time saving idea that will prevent parking lot insanity, endless store lines and impulsive spending. It’s harder to grab last minute items from perfectly placed, eye catching displays and throw them in your cart when you’re looking at a computer screen. In addition, online sales and coupons can mean huge savings.
Declutter unnecessary and exorbitant gifting and spending and share joy with your kids through special, unique and meaningful presents.
Say NO to obligatory commitments. Have you even been at a function or event and thought to yourself, “I’d much rather be home with my kids – perhaps playing a game, going for a walk or just relaxing.” Can you relate? These feelings seem even more prevalent during the holidays when you probably receive an abundance of invites, most of which pull you away from the people you’d rather be spending time with.
The fall is primetime for ladies booking every home party known to the modern world. Not only is this time consuming, but you often feel obligated to purchase. If you really want something from one of these parties, skip the event and order from the host online.
How about the plethora of Christmas parties for work, sports, band, Student Council, PTA, Booster Club, friends, family, etc.? The list goes on and on. If you attended each and every one, not only would you miss any opportunity to ever sleep again, but you’d be broke from all the ‘bring a dish to share’ requests and presents for the various gift exchanges.
It’s your responsibility to ensure that time is available for the true treasures of your heart…and for the hearts of your kids. Baking fun, cookie decorating, making yummy batches of caramel popcorn together can be the simple moments your children’s dreams are made of. Sipping on hot chocolate while driving around looking at festive light displays, caroling for a sick friend or shut in neighbor, attending celebrations at church and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas are the memories that will last a lifetime. There is no function or event more important than making sure room is available for these special holiday moments.
Declutter obligatory commitments and share joy with your kids by being intentional and selective in the choices you make.
Sure, we’re all going to buy presents and attend holiday functions, but make this Christmas a season of saying ‘YES’ ONLY to those which matter most. Take a loving but firm stand and declutter the negative, excessive and chaotic. A Christmas overflowing with unrushed time, infused with the sights, sounds, activities and true meaning of the season can be a fabulous reality and blessing for your kids this year. Make it happen for them – and for yourself too!
Sherry Gareis is a Christian Life Coach from Glendale, AZ and the co-author of Declutter Now!. Learn more at http://ambassador-international.com/books/declutter-now or visit www.actionplanministries.com
Declutter Now! by Lindon and Sherry Gareis
Uncovering the Hidden Joy and Freedom in Your Life
Genre: Non Fiction
Pages: 256 Trade Paperback
Date Published: August 2012
Publisher: Ambassador International
Negative clutter can invade every area of your life—not just your closets. Relationships, finances, kids, jobs, health and spiritual wellbeing are all adversely impacted by the unnecessary and harmful stuff we accumulate and hold onto. That could be physical junk or emotional baggage. Husband and wife Lindon and Sherry Gareis, authors of Declutter Now! Uncovering the Hidden Joy and Freedom in Your Life (Ambassador International; August 2012; $13.99, paperback) know this from firsthand experience. “This clutter gripped Lindon and I and held us back from the freedom to enjoy what we really felt called to,” explains Sherry. “And that was ministry.”
Declutter Now! encourages readers to declutter every area of life: your heart, mind, body, soul and home. “We find false security in our stuff. We keep company with the wrong people for the wrong reasons. We hold on to negative and painful feelings,” says Lindon. “Think about all of the unnecessary things we gather from these behaviors and choices—stagnant lifestyles, needless and excessive stuff, financial debt, obligation, guilt, extra weight, anger, hurt, discontentment, addictions; the list is endless.” Declutter Now! will help the reader let go of those negative influences that impact our quality of life and our relationship with God. Since decluttering removes what you don’t need and gives you more of what you do, it only makes sense your spiritual journey will benefit too.
Lindon and Sherry Gareis, certified Christian Life Coaches from Glendale, Arizona, are the founders of Action Plan Ministries. Their blended family includes three sons and one daughter – Trent, 25, Ryan, 24, Devin, 22, and Sarah, 22. Lindon and Sherry love being outdoors, love being together, and are committed to a lifelong honeymoon.
Fans are invited to join the free 40-day Declutter Now! Challenge at Facebook.com/DeclutterNow.
Lindon and Sherry Gareis, founders of Action Plan Ministries, debut their writing career with Declutter Now! They are small group leaders and certified Christian Life Coaches from Glendale, AZ with hearts that desire to serve God in a mighty way. Lindon and Sherry combine all their life experience to positively impact every day living with practical and purposeful advice.
The Gareises have a blended family of three sons and one daughter – Trent, 25, Ryan, 24, Devin, 22, and Sarah, 22. In their spare time you will find them writing, boating, hiking, gardening, or hosting a family barbecue. They love being outdoors, love being together, and are committed to a lifelong honeymoon…