Yes, this is the last week in October and while we don’t want to think about how many days before Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s time we start preparing for the last 30-60 days of the year. It seems like it was just July 4th and Memorial Day last week, nevertheless time marches on and it waits for no one. Please allow me to share a few helpful tips for the rest of 2019:

  • Stop scurrying and worrying about things beyond your control. Know your capacity, fix what you can, and let the rest go.
  • Plan a trip to your local museums and points of interest. I’ve been on my way to Graceland and the Loretta Lynn Museum for the past nine years so I’ve planned both visits between now and Christmas.
  • Schedule your remaining annual health exams—mammogram, prostate, colorectal, colonoscopy, etc.
  • Slow down and think small acts rather than a bunch of gifts this year. Before my great aunt/mom died we realized that most of the gifts she received for Christmas and at her annual birthday dinner were collecting dust. We started filling a basket with her favorites – peanut brittle, blocks of cheddar cheese, popcorn, peppermints, and peanuts. She loved every morsel and we enjoyed watching her enjoy these yummy treats. Think about what would delight your recipients and skip the re-gifting.
  • Set a realistic budget for holiday spending and stick to it.
  • Plan your holiday dinner with company in mind—the widows and elderly from church or your neighbors would love to be part of your holiday gatherings. Invite them and pick them up if transportation is a problem. My dad had about 4,000 little elderly first cousins and he’d dispatch one of my brothers to gather them from the adjoining county for the holidays so they wouldn’t be alone. They had great stories to tell and we loved getting to know them.
  • Adopt an angel—better yet, be one. Adopt a child or a family to support all year—you can do as little or as much as you can afford. It costs less than you think.
  • Call and schedule lunch with your former teachers. They’d love to hear from you and being reminded of how smart you were/are never gets old!
  • Volunteer and give yourself as the gift this year. Sign up to ring the Salvation Army bell, help out at the community holiday dinner, help pack baskets for the homeless—there is always a need. Do something that matters.
  • When I turned 56–Lordy, that was almost eight years ago–I threw myself a birthday bash and collected canned goods for the food bank and funds for the empty bowls ministry in my community. I had way more fun than I was supposed to and did something important, too. Instead of buying another ugly sweater or one more lotion and cologne set, donate that amount to St. Jude, the Ronald McDonald House, the Union Mission, or Homeless ministry, or pick your favorite.

We can spend the next couple of months being anxious or we can use this precious time being an example of grace and servanthood. Congressman Elijah Cummings was buried last week and his constituents and friends shared how he served with courage, honor, dignity, and humility. He made us proud to be part of a world with him in it. Let his life inspire us this holiday season to move forward and spread peace and goodwill to all.

Share your holiday planning tips with me at #drbondhopson on Twitter and Facebook.

Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.

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