By Melanie Mar Chow
“…God loves a cheerful giver.” –2 Corinthians 9:7
I am not one to make official new years’ resolutions, for I know that doing so is almost always an invitation for failure. I am still trying to lose the same 10 pounds each year, still trying to be a more loving mom, wife and co-worker, etc. Now it is even humorous each year to report to our friends about our resolutions. But as one who tries to learn from her mistakes, I wanted to offer some tips for a better Christmas:
- A beautiful Christmas card. Create it in July. There are many companies (like Costco, Shutterfly, etc.) that have templates almost all year round. You can print them earlier in the year, stuff into envelopes, put them in a safe place until you send them in November.
- Ultimate potluck offering. Defrost spinach, place in a towel, squeeze water out. Take a chive cream cheese tub, stir in spinach leave overnight in the frig. Put in an elegant bowl. Serve with crackers and/or veggie pieces and get ready for praises.
- Wrapping? Forget it. Go NOW in this season of after-Christmas sales and buy holiday bags and tissue paper. Nothing easier than using the tissue to pick up the gift in a grab and drop it into a bag and deliver beautiful packages.
- Christmas cookies. Stick to cookies that are based from premixed packages and use some creativity with toppings or wrapping:
- Snickerdoodles. Simply premade sugar cookie dough pieces rolled in cinnamon sugar that you put in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Brownie brittle. The ultimate solution for that candy cane that fell out of the hands of your young child and was crushed by the wheel of a grocery cart. Simply sprinkle the shards on top of thinly spread brownie mix on a baking pan, bake till crisp in a 300 oven and cool and break into pieces.
- Bar cookies. Press chocolate chip cookie dough into a 13×9 pan, bake, cool, cut into diamonds and drizzle chocolate icing on top.
- Smell cookies burning? If lightly burned while you were prepping your Christmas sermon, shave off the bottom with a cheese grater.
- The perfect gift? Start shopping for family now. Take advantage of all the sales. Be forewarned! Plan accordingly and allot the time to actually find these gifts in your storage closets or for online deliveries to make it to your hands if you shop Cyber sales. (Some of our gifts got lost this year). Giftcards are good, especially if you can share why you chose a particular giftcard (because you thought they could buy _______).
Best help for resolving to make a better Christmas? Commit to an accountability group that will pray for you to survive the holidays. If nothing else, the best resolution is to submit yourself again to our Maker and if you cannot do it for yourself, entrust yourself to others. My friend said that one of her best saves was that her group gave each other permission to re-gift the gifts from their gift exchange!
Women in ministry have a great opportunity to seize community life in the kingdom for all it is worth. Just as I easily gave you five ideas for what I learned from past years, I know you or others have ideas to help one another. Look to others to help you fulfill the resolutions that you are making. Remember, there are now less than 350 days until Christmas 2016! No wonder we need to see Jesus as the reason for the Christmas season.