Finding Happiness During the Holidays
By Drenda Keesee
We all tend to have visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads when it comes to the holidays… the grandeur of the decorations, the parties, the presents, and making memories with the people we love. Too often, our dreams turn to disappointment when we get too caught up in the idea of Christmas and forget that what makes it fun isn’t determined by how much money we spend on our presents, but by how much time we spend time with the people we love.
Many people find themselves upset during the holidays for a number of reasons: misplaced priorities, dashed hopes, or even bitterness toward people in their lives.
Don’t give someone else the keys to your happiness!
No matter what circumstances you’re facing, you can make the CHOICE to REJOICE. The Bible says our joy is our weapon! When we’re in a battle is when we need our joy the most!
Here are my 7-holiday tips to help you protect your joy this Christmas season:
1. Keep the focus on what’s important.
Loving others and expressing that love to my family, friends, and to God with a grateful heart are at the top of my list of importance. Keep it simple! In a perfect world, we may strive to be Martha Stewart—making our own decorations, homemade gifts, and centerpieces—but is it worth it if it creates emotional explosions in our life?
2. Don’t overspend.
This is a BIG one. Help your family remember the real reason we celebrate and that love doesn’t mean we spend outside of our ability. It’s better to have little with peace than much with stress. Less can be more if you mix a lot of laughter and cheer in with time spent together!
3. Plan to succeed.
Decide what events, activities, and gatherings you will attend and don’t overcommit. A family meeting is a great way to find out what activities are important to different family members and to make your plans together. Find out what makes the holiday special to different members. You may be surprised by their real wish lists. Eliminate the others. Encourage some electronic-free time zones where family members connect and video games, TV, and cell phones are off for real face time!
4. Enjoy traditions but add some new adventure with spontaneity.
Traditions are an important way to unite a family. It’s always nice to try something new, too! Gary surprised me a couple of years ago with a holiday shopping trip to NYC and a musical production of White Christmas. It was one of the most exciting, romantic memories I have and cost the same as a piece of jewelry.
5. Express your heart!
It’s time to share how you feel about people. Take time to write a letter and give it with an inexpensive gift that exemplifies an important point in the letter. My son, Tim, once gave me several red stacking boxes filled with items that demonstrated a quality about me with a note sharing what he loved about me attached to each one. I was thrilled! We all like to hear how we are loved and good things about ourselves since we tend to see the negatives. Heartfelt emotions mean more than money spent.
Let go of opportunities to get stressed or bent out of shape if something goes wrong. I consider the ability to make plans important, but more important is the flexibility to laugh at the things that go wrong and try to find a silver lining! There always is one! If you look, you can find the funny in the folly. We’ve made sugar cookies on the grill and played a board game camping in the upstairs study by the fireplace when there was no electric for Christmas morning. The funniest part was that most of the gifts were electronic that year, so we had to go back to simple fun—fun we created. It was one of our family’s all-time favorites! Laughter and a positive attitude go a long way. Which leads me to #7…
Pace yourself as much as possible so you don’t find yourself in a last-minute rush. And if you do, go back to #6!
Listen in Now to Faith Life Church!
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Tune in for their weekly messages here. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.