Countdown to Christmas

Advent Calendar

In seven days we’ll be celebrating the most wonderful birthday ever.

Seven. Days.

For some, the countdown leaves us breathless as we anticipate the arrival of loved ones. For others, we can’t wait for a day or two away from work.

But for many, the seven day countdown is a hybrid of joyful expectancy and angst-filled panic over all that remains to be done.

Deadlines so close they feel like they are whistling over my head make me uptight. None of us wants to be uptight at Christmas but it happens. Could I share three tips that I have found incredibly helpful for dealing with deadlines?

Downsize the List.

Crystal Paine suggested this tip in her book, Say GoodBye to Survival Mode. In a nutshell, she suggests making your to-do list and then immediately re-evaluating what really has to be done. Inevitably, items are crossed off. I’ve employed this strategy and it works. Friends, as we look at the remaining seven days before Christmas can we ask, “Does Johnny really need one more gift?” “Does the table centerpiece have to be updated?”

If you’ve already figured this out you are a step ahead of where I was a year or two ago. In the event, you’re not, trust me. Prioritizing and then shortening your list will lend sanity to your week before Christmas.

Re-Write List.

I culled this idea from Karen Ehman’s book The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized. Karen shares a beautiful strategy for dealing with interruptions that interfere with completing a to-do list. She crosses off whatever item she couldn’t complete and fills in what God directed her to do instead.

For example, I may have planned on finishing gift wrapping one evening only to find my daughter really needed help on a research project.  I cross off Gift Wrapping and in red ink write Blessed Daughter. I LOVED this. I don’t know about anyone else but I struggle with “interruptions”.  Karen’s approach is a terrific and tangible reminder that we did get the to-do list done. It just looked different than what we had planned.

Give Over the List.

Last year I shared a post regarding my Emmanuel Box. I won’t get redundant here (you can read about it if you have time.) I’ll simply tell you that I have a personal strategy for surrendering all I think needs to happen during the holiday. Giving it over to Jesus and inviting Him to be present in every aspect of my Christmas (including the preparation) gives me much needed perspective.

So there you have it Sweet DoAheads, Downsize, Re-write and Give over the remaining details of Christmas. You won’t regret it!

Your DoAhead Friend,


  1. Great wisdom! I will say the usual frenzy that comes leading up to Christmas hasn’t hit me. I’m just overflowing with gratitude to have my husband home this year. Ten months apart really teaching you perspective on what matters. But even though all feels calm, I know I could still put your tips into practice. I especially loved the 2nd one. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • Oh Beth! So good to “see” you! I quietly followed some of your story with regards to your husband. The video you shared of his return home made me cry. No doubt your journey this year has lent great perspective to the season. But I also agree about tip two! I think of Karen all the time as I physically or mentally alter my daily lists! Blessings to you and yours this Christmas Beth! 🙂

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