We spend a lot of time building up to Christmas, not just the spiritual side of preparing our children’s hearts, but also the physical side of family traditions and celebrations. I find it helpful to take an hour or so while the family is relaxing on Boxing Day (or the day after) and take stock of how things went – my Christmas Debrief.
I ask myself:
- What went well?
- What didn’t go so well?
- What lessons can I learn from that?
- What changes do I want to make for next time?
I ask myself these questions for every aspect of our celebrations –
- The traditions we maintained
- New activities that may become traditions
- How I managed our time – both in the build up and on the day itself
- The spirit in our home, in our hearts
- Our devotional time
- Our community involvement and service opportunities
- Gifts we gave
- Parties we threw
- The way we connected with extended family
I want Christmas to be simple and yet significant; I want to be intentional – to use the season to teach hearts, to show love and to worship God. My goal with my debrief / review is to learn from my mistakes and to continue in the things that were a success. Once they are written down I can refer to them next year as I start to plan the coming celebration.
My Christmas Notebook
This is the last part of my debrief – setting up my notebook for next year’s celebrations. Originally I chose a small (a6) spiral bound notebook so it can fit in my handbag. I chose the spiral binding so I can tear pages out as I accomplish things next year. The first entry is my Debrief thoughts, this way these notes will be there to help me set realistic goals for next year.
As I take down my decorations I will take note of any that need repairing (ideally repairing them before I put them away) and writing down any decorations that need replacing (such as lights). I could possibly pick up replacements in sales that are happening now saving both time and money come December next year.
Any books or movies that I’ve seen but didn’t purchase I list. Along with any devotional thoughts that have been going around in my heart – this way I’ve got some thoughts to start with when I start thinking Christmas again.
Setting up my Notebook now means that I have somewhere to start recording
gift ideas (and purchases) for presents as the year progresses, new activities that I want to introduce to my family and any other thoughts that come across my mind such as community service and the like.
In this day and age of apps and Pinterest my Christmas Notebook looks a little different. I record my thoughts using One Note which is available on all my devices – you could also use Google docs and keep your files on Google Drive. I do have an app for recording gift ideas and purchases. And I use Pinterest (a secret board) to record ideas for activities, decorations and gifts.
I encourage you to find time to reflect on the build up to Christmas, on Christmas day itself, and even Boxing Day – write down what worked, what didn’t, what you learnt and what you dream for Christmas in the future – this activity alone will give you a kick start for Christmas next year!
My 2007 Christmas Debrief – excerpts from my 2007 Notebook
How We Celebrated in 2013 – a blog post reflecting on our 2013 celebrations
Get Ready for a Heart Focus Christmas – This is the starting place to help your Christmas reach the hearts of your children.
Throughout the week I share with other blogs – check out my Link ups and Party page