Does December just loom at the end of your calendar? It does mine. It seems to honk and glare and flash red and green lights at me whenever I look at the month. It screams: “You must be here. You must bake this. You must smile all the time!” Rather frightening, how celebrating the birth of our Savior has become such an intense and stressful experience.

So, this year, I’m doing something different. I’m taking away the glare and the honking and the flashing lights. Well, at least I’m trying to. How, you ask? By setting some goals and making some lists. Have you ever considered what your goals really are for the Christmas season? Have you ever actually written them down?

Is your goal to make sure that each child in your program takes home an ornament for the tree, or is your goal that each child knows Jesus is God’s Son? Is your goal to make sure that your house is perfectly decorated for the holidays with mulling spice on the stove, or is your goal that your family knows they are the most important part of Christmas celebrations in your house?

What is your goal? What are you striving to achieve? Think about the week surrounding Christmas. What do you want it to look like? Do you want it to be a mess of driving around town picking up last minute things, or do you want it to be calm and peaceful, filled with family time and enjoying the services to truly celebrate God’s greatest gift?

Once you’ve determined your goals, you need to make your lists. What do you need to make each goal happen? Write those things down. Now, put those to-dos in order of importance. Prioritize! What is a “have to” and what is a “want to”? If your goal is for all your preschoolers to know that Jesus is God’s Son, then you have to copy the curriculum and cast vision for your volunteers. (Send them to the preview videos available on the First Look website and Vimeo for an easy shortcut.) You might want to make sure that each child has an ornament to take home to decorate his or her tree, but it is not a priority. Look at each goal and prioritize a list of to-dos that will make that goal a reality.

By doing some serious planning and list-making now, you can better enjoy the Christmas season later. By prioritizing your lists, you will make sure what’s important is on top and keep it there. So, when you’re finished reading this, open up a new document, write down your goals, and start making some lists. You’ll be glad you did.