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Hey Friends ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you ready for Christmas Vacation??! ๐Ÿ™‚

Although my kids still go to school Monday and Tuesday next week, I know many schools are finished for 2011 today. Do you have a Christmas Vacation plan??

My hope is that our Christmas Break will be filled with much fun, adventure, laughter, creativity, and amazing family times!

However, I also know that without a plan…it will be mostly fighting, whining, crying (me, not them!) and a countdown until school is back in sesson!

Here’s what I’ve learned about creating the best Christmas Vacation ever ~ and my personal tips on Surviving Thriving on Christmas Break!

1. Pray

Pray over your Christmas vacation. Ask God to fill your days with His plans, His blessings, His opportunities, His joy & peace, etc… Ask Him to lead and guide you as a mom, and for your family to enjoy His gift of rest and refreshment (although, personally, I’ve found Christmas Break isn’t too restful with 4 kids…but that’s another post ~ smile).

2. Think Big Picture.

What 3 words would you like to describe your Christmas vacation when the kids go back to school in January?

Family time?
Service Oriented?
Sleep-filled ๐Ÿ™‚

You get the drift. Pick some of my ideas or come up with you own ~ but pick 3 words.

3. Intentional Planning

Next, with pencil and/or post-it notes and a paper calendar (I know, you could do this electronically too, I’m just not there yet)…fill in any commitments you have to do over the next few weeks (i.e. traveling, Christmas gatherings, sports commitments, work, etc..)

Then, thinking of the “3 words” you selected, come up with ideas of how to make your “hope” a “reality”.

For example, personally, one of the words I’ve selected is FUN (surprise, surprise, I know). I’ve been thinking and dreaming about how to make that happen. I’m planning another mystery day, fun play dates, we have good friends coming from MN, etc..

Last year for fun the kids invited friends over for a “Monday – Fun Day“. It was a blast!

OR, if you are exhausted and just need some rest…why not call a “PJ Day” and plan a relaxing day filled with fun rules like everyone must wear their pj’s and slippers all day, watch a fun movie, soak your feet and give each other foot massages, etc..

Once you come up with ideas (based on your 3 words), add them to your Christmas vacation calendar. It’s fun to watch as the Christmas break plan begins to take shape!

(In case you need more ideas, I’ll be back on Monday with a complete Christmas Break idea list – A to Z style!)

4. Invite the family to participate.

After I’ve come up with a rough outline of our vacation, I ask for the family to participate.

For example, at our family meeting this past Sunday, I gave an index card to each family member. On one side I asked them to write down something they really want to do over Christmas break (something realistic and inexpensive ~ “go to Disney World” is not allowed!). On the other side, I asked them to think of a family they’d like to invite over.

We then spent time sharing our ideas with each other (common answers were “sledding”, “play video games”, “play hockey”). I’ll take their ideas and add it to our Vacation calendar. This way, at the end of Christmas break, each one of us has been able to participate in activities that are significant and meaningful to us…and we didn’t spend the whole 2 weeks just sorting through our clutter.

5. Be flexible

Last year, Benj came down with the flu, and unfortunately our plans were limited. Our “Friday Field Trips” went out the window. A good day was a day we could get out of the house .

But you know what…we still had a wonderful break. The key was being flexible and finding the joy in every day ~ even if our plan was thrown out the window. Knowing that I had committed our Christmas break to God, I could rest in His plan (although it looked much different than I was thinking). God knows what He is doing!!

What about for you?? What are your hopes for Christmas Vacation 2011? What will make your time together enjoyable, memorable, and fun?? I’d love to hear from you!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! Merry CHRISTmas to you!

P.S. Here is a Christmas Vacation song. Why not start a new tradition and listen to this song at the beginning of your break. “Hip Hip Hooray for Christmas Vacation!”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9R9lztJaoA?rel=0]

Hey friend โ€”
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