xmas-tree-1360371 Photo: Claudia Meyer via Freepik.com

My husband is one of those people who thinks that Thanksgiving signals the beginning of the Christmas season, and, if you haven't hit the ground running by December 1, you're behind schedule.

I tend to approach the holiday season more slowly, due in no small part to the fact that the first two weeks in December are the end of the fall semester. As such, they're filled with assignments, papers and exams, all of which need to be graded. It's hard to get excited about giving up a whole Saturday -- or even an entire weeknight -- preparing for Christmas, when, all the while, everything else that needs to be completed before Christmas is calling out to me.

All that said, I do get excited about Christmas. I like decorating and getting ready for it. I just want it to be fun and not overwhelming.

And so I've promised myself that each day in December, I'll do one thing to get ready for Christmas. Some days, that one thing might be as small as setting out just one decoration. Other days, that one thing will be decorating the tree or tackling my Christmas cards.

Doing just one thing helps me feel as though I'm making progress. But better yet, the gradual influx of Christmas at our house helps me to create a balance. While "Christmas" is ubiquitous everywhere else, in our house, Christmas is tiptoeing in slowly, reaching its peak on the actual holiday itself. Instead of being overwhelmed, I can savor Christmas, piece by piece, aligning the spiritual aspect of Advent as a time of preparation with the material preparations for Christmas, and being more thoughtful about all of it in the first place.

This year, I'm asking for some sanity for Christmas. How about you?

Copyright 2015 Lisa Hess.