Focus on the Family Broadcast

Getting Organized for Christmas

Getting Organized for Christmas

Author Kathi Lipp offers practical suggestions for planning your family's Christmas celebration so that it can be budget-friendly, stress-free and Christ-centered.
Original Air Date: November 12, 2015

Kathi Lipp: I would like us to come out of Christmas better than we entered, and so this is what I’m saying, oftentimes, if we are not purposeful about what we wanna do about Christmas, then we’re gonna let others dictate what it’s going to look like.

John Fuller: That’s Kathi Lipp, and she’s our guest today on Focus on the Family. Your host is Focus president and author, Jim Daly, and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: Today, we’re gonna help you get organized for Christmas. And we all said, “Yahoo!”

John: Yay!

Jim: (laughs).

John: Yeah.

Jim: And you may be thinking it’s a little early to be planning for Christmas, but it’s just a few short weeks away, folks, and the time around the holidays also seems to go by with lightning speed.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Kathi Lipp is one of our most popular guests and has some great tips to take some of the pressure off at Christmastime. She has a book titled Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season. And I know you’re gonna really enjoy what she has to say.

John: Yeah, and we’ve got that book here at Focus on the Family, just look for it at our website, As Jim indicated, Kathi is really one of our most popular guests, and she’s known for her humor and her heart. And we’re gonna pick up the program, Jim, as you welcomed her.

Jim: Kathi, welcome back to the program.

Kathi: I’m so glad to be with you guys, I always have so much fun.

Jim: All right, John, how organized are you and Dena?

John: Oh, well, which one of us? (laughs)-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: (laughs)-

John: Okay. I can’t say that. No, w-

Kathi: Starting up some trouble.

John: D- Dena tends to get in the Christmas spirit very early and so she maps out what’s gonna happen. It’s kind of a team effort.

Jim: Well, Jean loves, and I do too, but Jean really loves Christmas.

Kathi: Hmm.

Jim: I think everything nice is there, you know?

Kathi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: And so she likes to set up the nativity scene and the Christmas lights right after Thanksgiving, so thankfully that’s all done. The tree is set up. And she just loves creating that atmosphere. It’s-

John: Yeah.

Kathi: Hmm.

Jim: It’s meaningful to her and very important to her-

Kathi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … spiritually. Uh, Kathi, is that how we should look at it, to set the tone for the season?

Kathi: Well, I think that it’s so important what you were just saying there, Jean approaches it with love and a desire to set the tone, and I think so often we get kind of overwhelmed with the checklist of all the things that have to be done, because if it was just us and our home and our- our f- you know, immediate family, that’s pretty manageable. But when you think about work commitments and out of town relatives, or even-

Jim: (laughs)

Kathi: … the extended family, it’s all that, it can get overwhelming. So I really … my desire is that we can stay in that place where, one, we can really recognize who the season is about, but also, that we can really enjoy it. You know, I believe that this is a gift that God has given us and so it’s to be enjoyed. But for so many people, it’s not like that.

Jim: In reading your book, uh, this was another conversation I had with Jean, it was so funny ’cause you talked about, before learning some of the concepts we’re about to talk about-

Kathi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … you, uh, y- you were stressed out trying to get everything done-

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: … up at midnight making cookies, Christmas cookies, and then wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve and you ran out of Scotch tape, and Jean went, “Oh, no.”

Kathi: I think (laughs)-

John: (laughs)-

Jim: I mean-

Kathi: Thank you.

Jim: … I think every-

Kathi: I appreciate that she-

Jim: (laughs)-

John: You’re not the only one.

Kathi: … understands.

Jim: I can’t imagine the night before Christmas and you run out of Scotch tape.

Kathi: Yep.

Jim: It’s like, everybody’s out of tape.

Kathi: And when you duct tape your presents-

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: … it just loses-

Jim: Eh.

Kathi: … a little bit of the magic.

Jim: Well, if you-

Kathi: It really does.

Jim: … have sons, that could be kinda cool, actually.

Kathi: Well, yes, uh, moms are not thinking that way-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … I’ll just be honest with you, we’re feeling like we failed.

Jim: Well, how do you, as the queen of organization-

Kathi: (laughs)-

Jim: … I mean, how do you always have this-

Kathi: Love it.

Jim: … down so perfectly? Y- y- … It’s good to start off with how you learned and what-

Kathi: Right.

Jim: … environment you were in, but what prompted you to kinda get organized for Christmas?

Kathi: Well, because I was not enjoying it.

Jim: Okay, so it was dreaded?

Kathi: It was dreaded because I think that so many times, and maybe this is true for some guys, but I think it’s mostly true for women, we’re kind of in charge of making everything happen.

Jim: Everyone’s looking to you.

Kathi: Everyone’s looking to you. Now, I will say that my husband is the decorator.

Jim: Oh, that’s good.

Kathi: Yes, he loves that. And so that brings him a lot of joy and excitement. But anything that he doesn’t really enjoy is not something he’s probably gonna pick up the mantle of. And so that kind of is left to me. Now, I can ask him to help me with stuff, but really, I’m the bottom line when it comes to Christmas. And I know that, for a long time, I felt like I was running around like a crazy woman trying to make this happy for everybody else, and, oh, just watch yourself, if you were not overly pleased with everything I had done for you.

John: (laughs).

Kathi: Martyr mommy to the extreme. You know, if my kids were not falling all over themselves to say thank you for what I had done. I’ll never-

Jim: So you had a little resentment?

Kathi: Oh, yeah, uh, a little, that’s very kind of you, Jim.

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: That- I appreciate that. I would be working so hard to make all of this happen, and if I didn’t feel like I was being properly appreciated, I- I would be angry and upset. And I just realized that there was something terribly off. And, you know, it was very sweet of you to call me the queen of organization, but I think you guys know me well enough to know that that’s not a natural thing for me. I am organized now because I’ve lived the other life, and the clutter and the craziness, and it’s not some place I wanna stay for very long because it builds up resentment and anger and frustration, and that’s not what I want, especially when we’re celebrating Jesus’s birthday.

Jim: Uh, let me talk about that perfect thing, ’cause-

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: … I think for Jean, that’s an area where she can fall into-

Kathi: Hmm.

Jim: … ’cause she wants it to be just right.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: And that can create a lot of pain, especially-

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: … if I’m the one doing the outside Christmas lights (laughs)-

Kathi: Right.

Jim: … and I’m running out of, you know, uh, lights, and I’m running out of electrical cord (laughs)-

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: … but she wanted them in this tree, not in that tree, and I’m going-

Kathi: It sounds like you have some personal-

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: … experience-

Jim: Uh-

Kathi: … with this.

Jim: Yeah, just hypothetically.

Kathi: Just- just hypothetically.

John: We- we’ve a coun-

Jim: (laughs)-

John: We have a counseling line here at Focus on the Family.

Kathi: (laughs)-

John: (laughs)-

Jim: Yeah, probably get ready. But e- e- that idea of perfection versus happiness and joy-

John: Yeah.

Jim: … talk about that distinction.

Kathi: Well, it is so easy. I think that as women, we have to block out these voices that are telling us what Christmas is supposed to look like, because if you look at the magazines, if you look at, uh, HGTV, God-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … bless ’em, but the standard is so high. And if this is something you struggle with, may I suggest maybe Pinterest is not the place for you to hang out until maybe January 2nd.

John: Right.

Jim: To get your examples (laughs).

Kathi: Right. Because, one, it’s never gonna look like it does on TV or on Pinterest, and so that builds up frustration, and then also, I think that sometimes we’re doing these things to impress the wrong people. We want everybody else to think that we are that picture postcard Christmas family and we know the inner turmoil that’s going on, we know that not everybody is always happy, but we wanna put up that- that wall to the world that says, “No, we’ve got it all going on. No, we’ve got it all together.”

And I think that that limits relationships within your family and with your friends, because-

Jim: Hmm.

Kathi: … if they really do believe that you’ve got Martha Stewart locked in a closet and-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … you know, she’s just making all this happen for you and you’re just that kinda person, it’s hard to connect with somebody like that. But when you can say, “You know what, we’re keeping it simple this year because we’ve got a lot of other things going on,” and so I think the- the idea of perfect and a lot of people don’t give themselves grace, even when they’re in a tough situation, maybe you don’t have the finances to make the Christmas that you’ve always made, maybe you don’t have the energy-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kathi: … or the space, you’ve downsized, or the time. To really recognize that and say, “You know what, I- the first gift I’m gonna give this season is grace to myself.”

Jim: That’s a good gift.

Kathi: Yeah, it really is-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … and it’s a rare one.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: Yeah, it is. You talk about the four steps to kick off Christmas in the right way. Uh, touch on those.

Kathi: Okay. The very first thing is to find out what’s important to your family.

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: Uh-

Jim: Now, how do you- how do you do that?

Kathi: Well, okay. So I think that sometimes we’re so stuck in tradition-

Jim: Right.

Kathi: … that we’re carrying on traditions that really are not meaningful anymore. I remember we had this beautiful Advent calendar and every year had these 24 pockets in it and I would wrap up these little, tiny ornaments that my kids were then to hang on the tree. And so every day, Justin would o- open the odd ones, Kimberly would open the even ones, and they loved it. They would rush downstairs. It was so much fun and we’d talk about what we’re anticipating for Christmas. Well, one year, I think Justin was probably nine, he- I said, “Justin, you’re the first one to open the Advent present.” And he said, “Wait, is there money in there?”

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: And I said, “No.”

Jim: Tide has turned.

Kathi: The tide had turned.

Jim: (laughs).

John: Wow.

Kathi: And I-

John: Hmm.

Kathi: … probably kept going on that Advent calendar for another couple of years because it was important to me. But it was no longer important to the people that it was intended for. So we rolled it up and I waited til my- my brother had a child and she got to do the Advent, but sometimes we’re carrying on traditions that have no meaning to our kids.

Jim: Ah.

Kathi: … and- or to other family members, so find out what’s important. When I asked my family what was important, you know, we would have this huge menu every single year, and any time somebody said that they liked something that I made, that went on the menu. When I finally said, “Okay, what’s important to you guys for us to have on that menu?” Roger makes a cranberry and pumpkin no-bake cheesecake. He makes two. One’s cranberry, one’s pumpkin. That was the only thing my kids could come up with that was-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … important to them.

John: Oh.

Kathi: So why am I killing myself with all these different desserts, the appetizer? I could do turkey, stuffing, and cranberry cheesecake and be done, and everybody would be perfectly happy. But we get- we keep up with this stuff because we’ve done it before and we’re wearing ourselves out. So ask your family what’s important to them. Um, the second one is to figure out what’s important to you. And maybe it’s the church service that you wanna make sure that you go to, maybe it’s driving around and looking at Christmas-

Jim: Oh-

Kathi: … lights with your kids.

Jim: … Jean loves that one.

John: Mm-hmm.

Kathi: Uh, yeah, we- every year, what we do, we have a very old minivan and it seats seven of us, and so what we do, we rarely use this car except for when we go look at Christmas lights. We drive through Starbucks, we get our coffee, and- or hot chocolate or whatever, and then one of our kids has mapped out the best Christmas-

Jim: Oh, wow.

Kathi: … lights in our area and we just make a whole night of it. It is so much fun.

So there’re a couple of things that are important to me, and whether my family chooses to participate or not, I’m going to make sure that they happen.

Jim: Hmm.

Kathi: ‘Cause I wanna get to December 26th having checked some things off that are important to me. And then, third, it’s gathering your Christmas stash. We all have stuff that maybe you’ve bought throughout the year or maybe it’s leftovers from last year … in fact, every year, on my calendar, or at least the last two years, let me say that, I- around September 1st, I put on my calendar, “Don’t buy Christmas wrap, you have plenty.”

John: (laughs)-

Kathi: Because you forget from year to year-

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: … what you have. And so what I do is I gather all that stuff, I kinda take an inventory, and say, “What do I really- do … Are there things I … Scotch tape. I need-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … “Scotch tape. I’m not gonna run out again this year. Uh, do I need bows? What kinda things do I need?” So I gather all that together so that I’m not buying extra things-

Jim: We put all that-

Kathi: … that I don’t need.

Jim: … in plastic tubs, so I-

Kathi: Oh, yeah.

Jim: … am grateful to Jean.

John: Aren’t you organized?

Jim: Yes, we are-

Kathi: Yes.

Jim: …organized that way.

Kathi: An- and that’s exactly it, is do you have a place for that kind of stuff? And we talk about that in the book. And then fourth, and I think this is the key, especially for us moms who do too much, is make a list of how other people can help you. And so if your husband loves to do the Christmas lights, put that on the list. If one of your kids decides that they wanna be a junior master chef, then they are assigned to a couple of food items. And make a-

Jim: That could be a disaster (laughs)-

Kathi: Well, it could, but you know what, it’s gonna be one of those family stories you tell-

Jim: That’s true.

Kathi: … for years-

John: There you go.

Kathi: … to come. But-

John: Making memories.

Kathi: … also, if you have people coming over to your house for dinner and you’re say- people are saying, “What can I bring?” And you’re saying, “Oh, nothing,” you’re- you’re setting yourself up for failure. Let other people help you. So make a list of how other people can help you.

Jim: Kathi, for guys, I mean, we are so-

Kathi: Mm-hmm.

Jim: … guilty of waiting far too long. It’s always-

Kathi: Hmm.

Jim: … Christmas Eve and we’re going, “Oh my goodness, we gotta get some shopping done.”

Kathi: (laughs)-

Jim: And, you know, it’s even a joke in the culture, how late mostly guys wait.

Kathi: You know, I used to work on commission as a salesperson. I loved you guys coming-

Jim: Yeah, that’s-

Kathi: … at the last minute.

Jim: … the night, yeah.

John: (laughs)-

Kathi: That made my year.

Jim: I mean, we can get it done pretty fast, but (laughs)-

Kathi: Yeah (laughs)-

Jim: That’s not ideal. And you-

Kathi: Right.

Jim: … talk in the book about, uh, planning. When is it good to start, uh, planning for these things? I- is it first of December? Just after Thanksgiving?

Kathi: You know, I’m really kind of a November girl. I want to enjoy December, I really do. And I think there’s so many organizations and so many people around me who really work to make Christmas special, and so I’m trying to get some of that done in advance, and just for the guys out there, start listening to what your wife is saying. She’s probably dropping some well-placed hints of some things that she would like.

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: And go and do- take care of it early, because you don’t wanna be down to, well, I got you an umbrella ’cause that’s the only thing that they had.”

John: Ooh, uh-

Kathi: Li-

John: Unless she needs an umbrella. What’s wrong?

Kathi: Well, okay.

Jim: Come on now.

John: Slippers?

Kathi: Um, let’s just-

Jim: Is there something wrong with slippers?

Kathi: … say no woman needs an umbrella for Christmas-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … from the man she loves. Let’s just put it out there.

Jim: It’s better-

Kathi: Okay?

Jim: … than a blender.

Kathi: Yeah, it is better than a blender unless she’s asked for a blender.

Jim: Okay.

Kathi: You are absolutely right. And, uh, some of those old things about, you know, I used to tell my husband, “Don’t ever buy me anything that plugs in.” Well, that’s just wrong, because, uh, you know, he’s bought me so many things that I’ve really, really enjoyed, but he listened. He knows that he’s not a natural gift-giver, so he listens to the hints, and even the things I’ve just said, “Oh I wish, this would make my life so much easier.” It really is good to start listening or ask her friends. You’re probably- you can probably catch up with them on Facebook. “Can you be listening for something for my wife for Christmas?”

Jim: Now, is he listening better or are you just dropping better hints?

Kathi: Oh, it’s a-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … combination of the both. It’s a good marriage-enhancing tip.

Jim: There we go.

Kathi: (laughs)-

Jim: I like that. You talk also about creating a holiday mission statement.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: Now, that one I kinda went, “What?”

Kathi: I know.

John: Survive.

Kathi: It’s-

John: Survive.

Kathi: Survive.

John: That’s- that’s the mission statement.

Kathi: I would like us to come out of Christmas better than we entered. And so this is what I’m saying: Oftentimes, if we are not purposeful about what we wanna do about Christmas, then we’re gonna let others dictate what it’s going to-

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: … look like.

John: What does that statement look like?

Kathi: Well, you know, there have been times where my statement has been one word. You know, I want to increase the joy in my life, and that means that I am probably spending more time in my quiet time. Or maybe it’s saying, “Hey, we want …” Our family’s going through some transition. In fact, this year that’s what’s happening for us. We for the first time have a son-in-law this year, and so that’s a different dynamic, and so one of the thi- … And we love him, by the way. We’re crazy about this guy. We’ve prayed for him for a long time. He’s a-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … perfect match for our daughter. But it also means that we’re sharing with more people this holiday. And so one of the things we’ve had to say is that we want this Christmas to be the most relaxed Christmas of our lives, and so what we’re saying is, “Hey, if we don’t celebrate on the 25th, we’re okay with that. If we are … What’s important to us is the people we love are there.” So what it looks like, it can be … we want it to be relaxed. So one of the things we’re planning on doing, and people cannot believe that we’re doing this, for our big family gathering, we have the best pizza place in the world-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … right next to us, we’re ordering pizza for that night.

Jim: Now, some people just went, “What?-

Kathi: I-

Jim: … “How could you do that?”

Kathi: I know. And we’re still going to have a turkey another time. But the big family meal, we want to enjoy the people who are going to be there and we’re inviting his family to come over, we’re celebrating on a different day, it’s gonna look very different this year. But so often, it’s abou- … And we just got done putting on a wedding. Like, all of our fancy is used up at this point.

John: (laughs).

Jim: You only have a tank of so much fancy.

Kathi: Exactly.

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: And so we are going to go for relaxed and connected this year.

Jim: I think that’ll create a far better environment, actually. See, I like that.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: Personally. But, um-

Kathi: And, you know, another year when I wanna do the fancy, we’ll bring it back out.

John: Okay, so, uh, how does a husband help his wife pull back from-

Jim: (laughs)-

John: … all those projections-

Jim: John, really?

John: … and all that desire?

Jim: You don’t. Uh-

Kathi: (laughs)-

John: I have a friend.

Jim: You go with the flow.

John: I have a friend-

Kathi: I have a friend (laughs) … I would say have a conversation early and find out what’s important to your wife. That’s the thing. Maybe she’s doing all the fancy because she’s trying to impress people that … and I’m not saying that it’s anybody in this room, I’m just saying that sometimes we’re trying to impress imaginary people or we’re trying to get the right picture for Facebook, something like that. We’ve got this agenda in the back of our head that really is kind of meaningless, but if- if your spouse, if your wife, gets delight and she has that gift of hospitality where she can really entertain and it’s lovely and it doesn’t stress her out, it brings her so much joy, invite us over to your house. Please.

John: (laughs)-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: But lots of people are not set up that way and we need to have room for both kinds.

Jim: One in a million.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: Exactly.

Jim: Kathi, you share a story in your book about saving your babysitting money, I think when you were in seventh grade, to buy trapper keepers.

Kathi: Oh.

Jim: What are those?

Kathi: Okay, they’re organizational little folders. And anybody who was in junior high in the ’80s remembers trapper keepers.

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: And so you’d have different colors for each subject and it was- it just made you feel like the most organized person on the planet.

Jim: And how do you use that at Christmas?

Kathi: Well, I have a Christmas binder, which sounds so 1982.

Jim: So you have a-

Kathi: I really-

Jim: … Christmas statement, now you got a Christmas binder? (laughs)-

Kathi: I do. I know. And you guys are laughing at me, but if you think about it, when you think about, like, what retailers are spending on this holiday to lure us in, when you think about the cash that is spent by families during this time, and then we’re not just talking about presents. We’re talking about food, we’re talking about new clothes, we’re talking about travel, this is a significant portion of what families are organizing around-

Jim: Mm-hmm.

Kathi: … for their year. So I- e- while it sounds maybe, like, over-the-top to have a Christmas binder, I tell you, hundreds if not thousands of women have done this Christmas binder-

Jim: What do you put in it?

Kathi: Okay. So one of the things that you can put in that, is, uh, sizes for your kids, sizes for people that you’re buying for. You have to update that every year. Uh, a menu. You know, this is what we’re going to cook this year. For me it’s very easy. It’s a phone number. I get that. But there will be other things that we’re adding to that. I keep all of our holiday favorite recipes in there, instead of having to go and look for them each and every year. I keep our extra, uh, tags and things, and so when we- when it comes time for Christmas, all my stuff is in one place. I’m not having to recreate it every single year. And so having all that stuff in one place, I feel like, gives me a head start every single year to the season.

Jim: Uh, so you’re the organized person that you’ve learned, you’ve-

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: … self-described as maybe unorganized but learned it over time.

Kathi: Right.

Jim: Uh, you’re also known for frugalness.

Kathi: (laughs). Yes.

Jim: So when you look at the Christmas list and you’ve got a family of three, four, five-

Kathi: Right, which we do.

Jim: … plus extended family members-

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: … h- how do you do that in a way that doesn’t break the bank?

Kathi: Well, one of the things that we did early is we do three Christmas gifts for each kid. And-

Jim: Three?

Kathi: Three. And people sou- think that sounds like Scrooge personified, but I remember before we instituted that rule, every time I saw a gift I thought my kids would like, I thought, “Oh, I have to get that for them. I have to get it for ’em.” But now we are being very, very intentional with our gifts and I’ve been able to say, “I wanna buy something significant for my kids instead of something that they’re gonna use once and throw away.”

Jim: Huh.

Kathi: So I’m talking thi- … And what we kind of do is we put it into three categories. We do something fun for them. We do some clothes for them. And then we do something that is going to … How do I wanna say this? Enhance them. Maybe it’s spiritually or educationally. And so, uh, maybe we’ll pay for a course that they wanna do. Uh, I know that my mom for my little niece, she buys her a dance class or a roller skating class every year. But we’re very intentional about those things. And I try to think of these things way in advance. Last year, three of our four kids loved to bake, and something I really, really wanted to do for them was buy them a KitchenAid mixer, uh, which is crazy. They’re-

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: … super expensive. I didn’t know this. That’s Kohl’s number one item that they sell at Christmastime.

Jim: Is a-

Kathi: I- is a KitchenAid-

Jim: mixer.

Kathi: … mixer.

Jim: Wow.

Kathi: But there’re so many sites out there between Saving with Shellie or Money Saving Mom or places like that that will tell you how to get the coupons, work the deals and the re- rebates. We got each of those standing mixers for half price-

Jim: Huh.

Kathi: … because we followed all those directions. And so my suggestion is if you wanna do something like that, sign up for one of those money-saving newsletters so that you can understand how to work the deals and the systems.

John: It’s kinda hard to do gift-giving when you have several children and-

Kathi: Right.

John: … they get older.

Kathi: Yes.

John: So, I mean, you’re- uh, y- you’re talking some big ticket items there.

Kathi: Right. But I would say we bought them one big ticket item each and then much smaller things, so like for one of my daughters, her clothing gift was a purple scarf, ’cause I knew she would love that. She loves purple. And it had some sparkles in it. Her favorite color is purple sparkle. She’s my 27-year-old (laughs)-

Jim: (laughs).

Kathi: But, uh, so they got one big gift, so it depends on your family and your situation, but Roger and I don’t tend to do really big gifts for each other and I knew that this is something … I have a son who’s a professional baker. I knew that he would love this. I had a daughter who was getting married. I knew that this would be special to her. I have another daughter who gets together with friends and they have cooking parties and none of them had this. I knew that this gift would make a big impact, so I did the work to save the money so that we could … And we save up for our Christmas. We put a little bit aside each month all year long so this isn’t a big hit, because you don’t wanna come out with credit cards that are maxed out, you don’t wanna come out, you know, being resentful of what other people, you know, what your spouse has bought for your kids. You wanna come into this being intentional and in agreement.

Jim: Well, it’s wise to set a budget. That’s for sure.

Kathi: Absolutely.

Jim: And so often people don’t do that.

Kathi: Yeah. Absolutely.

Jim: And that’s part of the challenge.

Kathi: And talking to friends, they know. They can point you in the right direction.

Jim: Kathi, let me ask you this right at the end. Um, encourage the mom who feels overwhelmed, that, uh, she thinks she has to make the holidays perfect and-

Kathi: Right.

Jim: … she feels that pressure.

Kathi: Yeah.

Jim: Speak to her right now about what she should do this Christmas.

Kathi: I would go back to a couple of those things we said at the top: Find out what’s important to your family, talk to your husband, talk to your kids. I’ll never forget the woman who said she stayed up til 2:00 in the morning for a week baking all the cookies for her husband and two boys and then when she walked away from the table, her mom said, “I’m really worried about her. Her kids are two and four-and-a-half.”

Jim: (laughs). Oh my, that’s a lot of-

Kathi: I-

Jim: … cookies.

Kathi: It’s a- and it’s a lot of pressure.

Jim: (laughs)-

Kathi: Right?

Jim: Yeah.

Kathi: And so when we can step back and say, “What’s truly important?” Let’s spend some time with our families, let’s spend some time worshiping the one who’s the season is created around, and then find some time to really connect with those you love. If it’s your husband, if it’s your kid, whoever it is, your extended family, find those times. And whether it’s by Skype or in person. But do the things that are important to you. And it’s not about the picture you’re gonna put on Facebook. You know, nobody … I- can I just tell you, I flip past those perfect pictures. I love the pictures where families are being silly, when maybe things haven’t gone according to plan, but there’s love. And that’s what we need to be aiming for- at this season.

Jim: And it really is remember what the season is about.

Kathi: Absolutely.

John: Well, it’s not too late. Now is the perfect time to start getting organized for the Christmas season and, uh, Kathi Lipp has given us some great tips on how to do just that on today’s episode of Focus on the Family.

Jim: I love how Kathi’s heart really shines in this conversation. It’s her sweet spot. She wants to help us all really enjoy the holiday season rather than just trying to survive it and get through the stressful moments. Uh, here at Focus on the Family, we want that for you, too. We’re celebrating the birth of Christ. It’s a special, sacred time, reminding us of the deep love of our Heavenly Father.

John: And Kathi’s book, once again, is called Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season. It’ll really help you center in on those traditions and moments that mean the most to your family so you can concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas.

Jim: Along with that, John, let me, uh, say that after a year of overwhelming financial strain, the economic stuff that’s going on, social upheaval and all the other pressures, hurting people could really use some hope right now. The Christmas season is the perfect time to share the hope that Jesus Christ came to give all of us. You can come alongside those facing challenges and give families hope through your support of Focus on the Family. Thousands of people reach out to Focus on the Family for help by phone, mail, and email. Couples heading for divorce, parents who are stressed out, and others who simply need help. When you donate today, a gift of any amount, we’ll send you a copy of Kathi’s book as our way of saying thank you for doing your ministry through Focus on the Family. So get in touch with us today.

John: And even better, right now, a special matching opportunity has been provided by some generous friends of the ministry, and they’ll match your gift, effectively doubling it. Uh, so twice as many families will receive the help they need. So donate today as you can and request your copy of Get Yourself Organized for Christmas when you’re at, or call 800-232-6459. That’s 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller, inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.


Today's Guests

Get Yourself Organized for Christmas: Simple Steps to Enjoying the Season

Receive Kathi Lipp's book Get Yourself Organized for Christmas and a free audio download of “Getting Organized for Christmas” for your donation of any amount! Right now, you can DOUBLE YOUR DOLLARS to GIVE FAMILIES HOPE through our YEAR-END MATCH provided by generous friends of the ministry.

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