My dad was a last minute shopper. My mom was a last minute wrapper. I was a last minute freaked-out, stressed-out, mad woman: there’s no time to drive aimlessly looking at decorations! relax with hot chocolate??? I have 25 things left of my list…today!! By the time Christmas day rolled around, I just wanted to curl back in bed and cry with relief that it was finally over. To say I found the holidays stressful was a bit of an understatment.
But, I’ve made some changes.
All school year I help my kids make long-term assignments more manageable by turning them into bite-size pieces. Last year I figured why not adopt the same philosophy with Christmas. While I was definitely less stressed, there was still too much frantic energy towards the big day.
So, this year I’m channeling my inner Martha and thought you might to come along for the ride!
Keeping your cool during the holiday season is all about LISTS. Love them. Use them. Keep them with you at all times. Whether they’re on your phone or in a pocket notebook, don’t leave home without them!
If you read The Art of Doing Stuff (Karen’s fantastic, by the way)- she sets a Christmas Pledge to be holiday ready by December 1st. That’s a little too ambitious for me, especially since Thanksgiving is only two days prior to that.
So, my goal is December 13th.
That leaves two full weekends before Christmas. Plenty of time before the kids are on holiday break to test out Pintrest ideas (without the stress if they don’t work!) or relax with that cup of hot chocolate- bonus points if you can do so while watching others frantically scramble.
Essentially, time to just enjoy whatever it is you love best about the holidays.
How will this happen? Bite-size pieces…and LISTS!
There are 5 weeks until December 13 (plus a couple of bonus days as this week finishes).
Dividing it into pieces- here’s my agenda for Week One.
1: Master Plan. Make a list of everything you want to get done before the holidays- from sending cards, to baking cookies, to hanging ornaments. Break down those items too- no more making, baking, and decorating cookies all in one day! My list has 23 items, so about 4 per week…totally manageable.
2: Gift List. List everyone you plan on giving a gift: storebought, handmade, or baked. Don’t forget teachers and mailman! Everytime you think of an idea- or pick up a gift- add it by their name! Picking up morning coffee? Get a gift card for the crossing guards while you’re there! Long list? Divide your number by 5, now you only have to focus on a few gifts each week.
3: Baking List. I have definitely whittled the list down from the dozens of varieties my mom used to make. Now it’s just 3 or 4 of our favorite cookies/breads and cinnamon rolls. Check your pantry and note any supplies that are running low (baking powder?) and ingredients you’ll need to pick up.
4: Homemade Gifts. Making homemade gifts? Make a list of the different projects you’re planning and keep track of all of the supplies you’re going to need; double check storage so you don’t buy duplicates.
5: Buy Stamps. Holiday cards on your master list? Buy stamps this week so you can avoid long lines later, and get the best selection of themed stamps.
From today on…anytime you’re in a store, check your lists! Is there a supply, ingredient, or gift you can pick up here?
Planning on giving customized gifts? Order these first so you won’t be rushed or risk not having them finished in time.