It’s the day after Christmas. The presents are unwrapped. The Christmas decorations may still be up. Christmas dinner leftovers are still in the refrigerator. If your Christmas was wonderful, you may be feeling a little letdown already. If it wasn’t so great, you may be glad the holidays are nearly over – and wishing you had some leftovers to worry about.

If you’re feeling a little undone, here are a few suggestions for how to make the day after Christmas work in a positive way for you.

  1. Express gratitude for what you received.

Children are well known for being disappointed if they didn’t get a particular gift they were hoping for. You’re a little more grown up – or at least you should be. Your Christmas probably wasn’t what you hoped it would be in some way, but that doesn’t mean you didn’t receive any wonderful gifts.

If someone gave you anything – however small – tell them Thank You again. If you learned something about yourself, about others, or about the true meaning of Christmas, express gratitude. If you recognized the Christ child in a special way this year, tell God Thank You once again for sending Him.

  1. Treasure any positive memories.

I had some wonderful moments with family this holiday season, even though my husband Al spent his first Christmas in heaven. The candlelight service at church was one to remember. Though I had moments of tears, I choose to treasure the positive memories most.

Look for the good things that happened. Notice them. Place them in a special place in your memory. That takes a choice, but it’s worth it.

  1. Note well any lessons learned.

There may be things you wish you had known or done differently. Next Christmas is many months away, and you may forget what you learned this year if you don’t take special care to note those lessons. Write down what this Christmas taught you.

Perhaps you wore yourself out with activity; you’ll need to plan ahead better next year. Perhaps you expected something from a family member who’s not able to give it; make a note to go into the season without unrealistic expectations. Perhaps you wished you had spent more time remembering Jesus; write down how you want to do things differently next year.

  1. Pay it forward.

Gifts are meant to be passed on. Sure, there are material things you may have received that are just for you. But the spirit of “paying it forward” is one of the best ways to respond to any gift – material, emotional, or spiritual.

Think of someone or many someones who need something you have. There is still, always, someone who’s more needy or lonely or unhappy than you are. Whatever God has placed in your hand, pass it on. And you will then have space to receive more.

  1. Get some rest.

The holiday season can drain you – physically, emotionally, financially, even spiritually. Your human system almost certainly needs some time to breathe. That’s one of the best ways to spend this week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Catch up on sleep if you need to. But also realize the pressure of family activities, church activities, or wrestling with loneliness if you don’t have family, have left you emotionally depleted. Take some time to recharge and refresh. Find some emotional food and take time to feed yourself.

  1. Thoughtfully plan for the New Year.

If you want the New Year to just happen to you, then you can skip this step. But those who are most successful personally, financially, relationally, and spiritually don’t ever just let a year happen to them. They are purposeful about what they do.

Take a couple hours or a day to look over the past year. What was good? What wasn’t so good? What do you wish you had done differently? What opportunities did you miss? Then write down some specific things you are going to do this next year – in your personal life, your marriage, your business/work life, and your spiritual life. Being intentional will put you in a position to make next year even better.

  1. Keep on giving.

Ebenezer Scrooge learned to treasure the spirit of Christmas every day of the year. So should we. The giving of gifts shouldn’t only be for one day out of the year! Paul recalled the words of the Lord Jesus, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) We are never more like God than when we are giving.

This last week of the year is the time when more charitable gifts are made than during any other time. If God asks you to give a gift to Dr Carol Ministries, we would be so grateful. But regardless, make generosity part of your regular spiritual walk with God.

I treasure the good moments from this Christmas holiday season, and I hope you are as well.

And I’m also planning for and praying for some better things in 2017. You can do the same.

Your Turn: What are you doing the day after Christmas to make next year better? Leave a comment below. 

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