Christmas Rehab

Melissa Spoelstra


We’re all familiar with the underlying wisdom behind the instructions to place the oxygen mask over our face even before reaching over to help our child in the case of an in-flight emergency. How can we truly be prepared to assist others if we are on the verge of unconsciousness?

If the Christmas season leaves you gasping for air, Melissa Spoelstra’s Total Christmas Makeover might be the perfect gift. Whether you spend the season terrified that you are always one tray of cookies and a secret gift short or you wonder why your holiday doesn’t come close to the grocery store or coffee commercials, Melissa has wisdom for everyone.


Live each day intentionally

In these 30-days of wisdom, Melissa shares scripture, reflection questions and a brief prayer along with hysterical family traditions, practical applications and the connection of a trusted friend. I really enjoyed that the days between Christmas and New Years were so engaging.

That week always feels like hidden time like the hour we get from day light savings or the $20 we find in our jeans. Melissa gives practical encouragement on how to take all the treasures of the season and extend them throughout the coming year.

Now before you balk at the title and start clinging to your reindeer inflatables and nutcracker collection better suited to the Biltmore House rather than your cute 2/2, Melissa invites you to consider makeover in terms of moving through the “pieces” of your holiday and considering whether they are truly keepers or not. Do your activities during this holiday really contribute to celebrating Jesus’ birth?

I found it exhilarating to look at an “ugly couch” of a long-practiced tradition and realize that with some tweaking and re-freshening, it could become my favorite piece and provide joy for years to come.


Turning auto-pilot off

Think about it. How many of your holiday activities are automatic?

Of course you contribute to every office collection, callout for cookies, wrapping paper fundraiser and family get together. As for the 48 hours of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Those are spent in the car racing from relative to relative in a mad dash to check off appearances for the sake of . . .well, appearances.

So now that we’ve given ourselves the gift of retrospection, we’re ready to construct a holiday season that will help us keep our focus on what this celebration is all about. The birth of Jesus.


Unpacking the gift

Taking her inspiration from God’s scriptural principles of celebration, Melissa moves you through a growing understanding of the rituals, relationships and rest that form the foundation for your acknowledgement of Jesus’ birth.

Ritual – whether it is a midnight candle service or your annual picnic on the beach, the special food, music and activities of the season set it apart as something out of the ordinary. Each can prompt us to pause and reflect on the amazing things God has done throughout the year and throughout eternity.

Relationships – what an irony that the fast pace of the season can have us exchanging time spent playing with LEGOs for a mad race through the mall to purchase a gift to show how much we love that same child. Your hair stylist, second cousin or the Salvation Army bell ringer not to mention family and friends can all be the recipient of gifts like hope, joy and appreciation along with a monetary blessing.

Rest – this is an element that few of us are successful in weaving into our festivities, but Melissa makes a persuasive argument for both the value and necessity of setting aside “regular work” in order to reflect on God. As cyclical beings, it shouldn’t surprise us that maintaining a fever pitch of even the most spiritual of activities can rob us of the chance to pause, reflect and respond to God’s amazing gift of Jesus.

No matter what day the calendar says it is, today is the perfect day to grab a copy of Total Christmas Makeover for yourself at



Here’s How Some South Floridians are Engaging in Rituals, Relationships and Rest


Dayna Calhoun


Dayna Calhoun, Placement Coordinator 4KIDS of South Florida and Health Coach

I have been unhealthy for so many years. When I couldn’t get up from the floor after playing with my baby, I knew I had to do something. So far, I have lost over 30 pounds and if I have a secret, it’s that I am concentrating on the people not the food and accountability. I focus on connecting with my friends and  family.


Ayinde Reid


Ayinde Reid, LCSW, President/CEO Indi Heart & Mind, Inc.

While so many are lost and grieving during this season, I’m reminded that we can choose to avoid the not so important conflicts with friends and family, step outside of ourselves and focus on doing something positive for others during the holidays. May this be the holiday that old, unhealthy patterns are broken. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.


Jennifer Aluart and family


Jennifer Aluart, Assistant to the President/Southeast Regional Director, WAYFM

Our family participates in the Fort Lauderdale Christmas Pageant because we believe the real reason for the season is to not only celebrate the birth of our Savior but to share his message of salvation with the world. With practices starting in August and over a dozen performances, we might miss out on some of the festivities of the season, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. To share this experience with our children is truly a blessing.


Anitra Parmele is a freelance writer in South Florida and regular contributor to the Good News. She can be reached at [email protected].

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