I've heard this from several people this year - in fact, I experienced this feeling myself! Don't worry - I have it back now!

Why does this happen?

I think the answer is simple - we get OVERWHELMED!

We start thinking about buying a tree, decorating the tree, decorating the house, outdoor lights, shopping, buying gifts, gift tags, wrapping paper, Christmas cards, stamps, caroling, Christmas programs, the choir cantata, work Christmas parties, traveling, hosting guests, baking Christmas cookies . . and we think:

"It's too much for me to get done."

"I don't need all this extra stress."

"I only have a few short weeks."

"I want everything to be perfect."

What can we do to avoid this problem in the future?

1. I know you've heard it many times before, but the most important thing is to keep your focus on Jesus - pray, read Scripture, have quiet time and attend worship services.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
Psalm 23:1-3a

2. Don't force yourself to do everything - if the thought of doing a Christmas activity gives you a feeling of dread - skip it this year! A lady in my office normally spends an entire weekend baking, then brings the goodies to share. She's not doing it this year.

At the beginning of the season, when I was lacking in Christmas spirit, I thought about the Christmas tree, the outdoor lights and Christmas cards. They were all things that I wanted to get done, but it seemed like too much effort to do all of them. At that point I decided not to push myself - if none of them got done, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Over the next several days, I started to get excited about the tree and the lights, so I did those things. I never got excited about Christmas cards - so I decided to let that go this year.

3. Take the Christmas season at your own pace. Don't get frustrated with yourself if you're not ready for Christmas by Nov. 30!

4. Ask for help. In many cases, one person in a household ends up being responsible for all the Christmas preparation. Anytime responsibility is shared, it is less overwhelming. One of my sisters takes care of plugging in our lights everyday and the other one keeps the tree watered.

5. Watch for the moments that make the Christmas season special and enjoy them!

*the moment when you finish decorating your tree* *the moment when you find the perfect gift for a family member* *the moment when you look around the room at the faces of the other carolers* *the moment when the last advent candle is lit* *the moment when your kids work together to untangle a strand of lights* *the moment when the house is clean and you sit down to watch a Christmas classic*

If you have a moment from this season that filled you with the Christmas spirit, post it in the comment section!