Challenge Wednesday #13

Here is Tracey with our regular Wednesday challenge...errr, well, guess it isn't really a challenge this week.  Take it away lady! 

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Back again with another Challenge Wednesday.  Actually, Interview Wednesday.  Last week, Jen asked me this question:

"What are your top three tips for enjoying Christmas, but in a simple, natural or relaxed way?"

Well, for starters, fun is my middle name.  Hee hee.  Seriously, simple, natural, and relaxed is a sort of mantra around here.  It's the reason I Control the Chaos...so our family can enjoy each other and live life.

Despite the mantra, it is easy to get sucked into the stress of the holidays and forget the celebration part.  I hope Jen doesn't mind, but I included four tips instead of three.  Just call me Ms. Over-Achiever.  Yeah, right.

1.  Plan ahead.  We shop for gifts all year round.  This benefits us in a couple ways:  we save money by buying something unique when we aren't under pressure, and we never feel the holiday stress of finishing our shopping at the last minute.

2.  Protect time.  It's precious, and we all know it.  We block days even if we don't have specific plans.  They are for recovery, and it keeps us sane and our kids well rested.  It's easier to do when we are living abroad, but even when we lived in the States we made a visiting schedule and stuck to it.

3. Do double duty.   We home make the gifts for friends, so we use the time it takes to make them as quality family time.  We get everyone involved to some extent, turn on the Christmas music, and make some magic.  Most of our gifts are consumables (read: yummy treats), so we always make a little extra for us.  It is a great way to enjoy each other's company while still finishing up last minute gifts to take to parties.

4. Focus, focus, focus.  Christmas gets bogged down with gifts and visiting people and shopping and and and and and...but our family celebrates the birth of Christ.  We always participate in Operation Christmas Child, because we believe it is important for our children to understand how blessed we are.  Presents don't sit under the tree for weeks taunting the children, and we are highly involved in our church community.  This is about as simple as it gets, folks.  A birthday bash and a celebration of restoration to our Creator.

I hope you and yours have a simple, natural, and relaxed Christmas this year and always.  

And now, Jen, a little birdie told me you tried your hand at a homemade gift this year.  Next week, please tell us what you made, how it went, and how much awesome fun you had giving a gift you made with your own hands.
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Oooh, can't wait to fill you guys in on the gift  I made.  BUT, someone who reads this blog MAY be the recipient, so not a peep until after Christmas!  

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