My dear readers…Holiday Planning is upon us. Do you realize, there is only 7 weeks until Christmas?
If you are like me, you try to take one Holiday at a time and of course the next Holiday is Thanksgiving, but if we wait until Thanksgiving is over before we begin our Christmas planning…we just might have a bit of stress.
However, I have found that if you make a plan…and try to stick as close to it as you can, you can take a lot of stress out of Holiday preps, etc.
You should actually give yourself about 2 months to stretch out the stress so that you will have a joyful Christmas… but here we are…starting the 2nd week of November.
So let us get started with the easy and obvious.
Step 1. Throw away everything that’s broken, is not frequently used, is easily replaceable, annoys you or you plain dislike it. Now that is easy isn’t it and this is something one can make a all year process. Do it as soon as you have made a determination as to it’s condition and don’t procrastinate or save it back because you just might need it someday. You don’t like it now…and you won’t like it a year from now. And begin your Christmas card list if you send cards and your gift shopping list.
Step 2. Try relaxation. 5 minutes a day, you can try smartphone apps or youtube videos. Mindful breathing or relaxing in a bubble bath with soft music in the background are great “take-me-away Calgone” moments.
Step 1. Take a look at your Christmas decorations and use that extra space in the basement or the spare bedroom to do the sorting. Don’t try to do it all at once but gradually toss out broken ornaments or tired centerpieces. When buying new decor, try to use one new set of ornaments or one new centerpiece or wreath and make it something really special.
Step 2. Try 10 minutes meditation/relaxation a day. Read a chapter in a new book or magazine…just relax and reward yourself.
Weeks 3 & 4
Step 1. Deep clean the house. Use that two weeks to clean windows, cabinets, decks, porches etc. Make a list of what you want to do and check it off as you accomplish each task.
Step 2. Do a bit of mindful walking. Try to walk on a slower pace, pay attention to your surroundings and breath! Park further from the grocery store and enjoy that walk.
Step 1. If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping, get on line and get it going or go to the mall. You can also start preparing food (food that can be cooked and frozen till Christmas day: soups, sauces, cheesecakes, tart bases, veggies and even some meats. do as much as you can which will take a bit of planning, but well worth it in the long run). Also, and this is very important. WRAP each Christmas present as you buy it. That will save so much stress on Christmas eve when you are sitting in the middle of a sea of wrapping paper and ribbon at midnight.
And while we are on the subject of presents….this may be the hardest suggestion of all for some….but limit the gifts you give to your children. I have always liked the 3 gift philosophy…3 gifts for each child, much like the 3 wisemen’s gifts to the baby Jesus. It not only saves money and extra shopping time, but teaches our children that it doesn’t matter how many presents are under the tree. Just sayin’! AND if you want to put a monetary limit also….that is a good thing.
Step 2. Watch what you eat…don’t grab that large payday candy bar simply because you have lots to do and don’t want to take the time to eat slowly. Chew slowly and really taste it! You can close your eyes. Eat one raisin, chocolate piece, fruit bite and savor it if you can.
Step 1. Finish: Christmas shopping and preparing foods to freeze. Prepare final grocery shopping list and if you are hosting dinner, plan your tablescape or buffet table. I like to set up my tables with serving bowls and labels of what will be in each. Saves last minute looking for that casserole dish for the stuffing. I have also been known to have my table all set several days before a dinner.
Step 2. Try 8 minutes visual relaxation a day.
Step 1. Finally the last week of Christmas…Week 7 means you are up to the wire and will probably be more hectic, so I would like you to schedule some time for ’emergencies’. Not necessarily physical emergencies, but unexpected things that happen at the last minute. Schedule 30- 45 minutes a day for the unexpected like replacing that strand of lights that went out on the tree or the cookies your child needs to take to school. Knowing you have extra time will allow you to take the emergency in stride. (if not ‘used’, ….carry on with your daily chores & finish what you started in previous weeks). And if you need extra help during this final week…ask family to help with some chores.
Step 2. Do 5 minutes of mindful breathing a day (more if you can find the time).
Sound Simple? Perhaps and I am sure you will not be able to do everything on this list in the order it is given and that is ok. Just do what you can, when you can and don’t sweat the small stuff. It is the Holidays and take the time to celebrate why we celebrate. The birth of our Savior.
Most importantly, take the time to be thankful and happy, give yourself permission…and I promise, you will enjoy the Holidays instead of dreading them, or feeling rushed or feeling you didn’t get everything done.
Think about it and have a great week!