Guest Post: Sherry Gareis Author Of Declutter Now!

17 Nov

3 Ways to Keep God In and Clutter Out at Christmas

By Sherry Gareis

At one point or another, we’ve all muttered something about celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and not getting all ‘commercialized’ and caught up in the chaos, but rarely do we act upon that sentiment and desire. WHY? Because as soon as the Christmas Machine rolls into town, which is progressively earlier each year, holly and jolly go right out the window and we succumb to going with the flow and hanging on for dear life. It’s time to STOP the machine!

But how? How do we go from thinking to doing? Commit to ACTION. Remember the ‘Stop, Drop & Roll’ campaign designed to keep you alive should you ever catch on fire? Well, just thinking about the catchy slogan isn’t going to save you; you have to DO something or suffer dire consequences. You must take action! This holiday season, commit to action – ‘Select, Sow & Serve’ – and experience Christmas on a whole new level. If you ACT on these ideas, you WILL see the benefits.

SELECT – Give thoughtful consideration before selecting commitments of your time and energy. Know what’s important and be certain it’s your focus. Don’t commit just for the sake of saying ‘yes’ to a standing annual obligation and don’t allow yourself to be ‘guilted out’ by overbearing friends or family members. In Declutter Now!, a book I co-authored with my husband, we discuss that ‘NO’ isn’t a dirty word. Many of us feel that saying no somehow makes us ‘un-Christian’. Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact God expects us to make intentional and positive choices, and this doesn’t always equate to saying yes. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” What do you want to make FIRST this holiday season? Choose which Christmas Eve service you’re going to attend before you commit to a Christmas Eve party. Leave time for the children’s church play, and even better yet, bring friends and family with you, even if that means skipping the company get together, or perhaps going late. Spend time baking with little ones or with friends. Not massive assembly line, stressed out baking, but rather moments that are full of enjoyment, laughs, sweet Christmas music and great conversation. Put love into all you do and allow God’s sacrifice to be evident in every commitment you make this Christmas season.

SOW – Value the opportunity you have to sow into someone’s life through a Christmas gift, or even card, and make it count. While creating your Santa list, make intentional choices not only with regard to who should be included, but also with what you’d like to give them. Put thought into your gifting before you end up at the store and resort to the ‘grab and go’. UGH! It’s not about the money you spend or checking something off your list, but rather the experience, both for you as the giver, and the recipient as well. Take quality over quantity. Be deliberate and purposeful. Handmade / homemade is always special, but don’t overdo goodies or dust collectors; make it meaningful and appropriate. Incorporate local business, provide experiences or tap into a unique need or interest. Perhaps offer free child care as part of your gift for parents that rarely get a break. Do you have a friend with a long daily commute? Is there a book you’d love to get them? If so, purchase it on CD instead. Christmas is the perfect excuse to infuse God into lives – and actually get away with it! Are there friends or family you’d love to witness to? A thoughtful gift or offer that gently introduces God’s sacrifice for us or speaks to the joy of a relationship with him could be just the ticket.

SERVE – Serving is truly at the heart of Christmas. God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us as an act of pure love, devotion and service to all believers.  For just a moment, forget the eggnog, gift wrap and ribbon (this one is VERY hard for me) and what outfit to wear for the Christmas pictures. Close your eyes and reflect on what your effort feels like to the recipients. Envision smiles on little faces as they open up what may be their only gift for Christmas. Imagine a family sitting around a table enjoying a holiday meal they never expected. Picture your neighbor in the seat next to you at church with tears rolling down his cheeks as he feels emotions that have been buried deep. And serving doesn’t just speak to the needs of those around you, but it also ministers to your own heart, not to mention God’s. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” The bible mentions serving over 200 times, clearly indicating a high level of importance. Don’t wait to be asked but look for opportunities to serve. Make a phone call or send an email inquiry. Grab angels off the tree at the mall, make some shoeboxes for the children’s drive at your church, donate food and serve the homeless. If you have a hard time extending invitation for church services or events, most churches print flyers that make it easy to invite. If not, make your own!

What do you want your Christmas to look like? Less clutter and more of God? It’s easier than you think! Just take action! Select, Sow & Serve!

Sherry Gareis is a Christian Life Coach from Glendale, AZ and the co-author of Declutter Now!. Learn more at or visit




(Thank you to Ambassador International for a copy of Declutter Now!)


To win a copy of Declutter Now!, click HERE. Giveaway ends November 18.

%d bloggers like this: