Your home is most likely not being featured in Better Homes and Garden’s holiday edition this year, so it doesn’t need to be perfectly decorated. Less is more!
Dedicate an afternoon to the task of decorating. Unpack your holiday décor and consolidate it all in one space. Sort it into like items or by rooms you intend to use them in. Get rid of anything you aren’t going to put out this year. If you aren’t using it this year, you probably won’t ever use it, so why continue to store it and lug it out of storage every year?
Get help with decorating. Many hands make light work. Get in the spirit by making a festive cocktail or hot beverages, turn on some holiday music, and get to it.
Carl W. Buehner said “People will forget the things you do, and people will forget the things you say. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” Your family and friends aren’t concerned with what your house looks like or whether you personally baked all the pies yourself, but they will remember the feelings they had when they spent time with you. Treat yourself well this holiday season so you can have reserves to show those around you love. Their greatest gift will be fond memories of you.
How many times do you ask yourself "did I get a gift for Aunt Suzie or all the kid's teachers?" Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for. As you shop, keep track of what you have purchased for whom and whether it’s wrapped. Keep this list with you throughout the holiday season.
Also, make an envelope for holiday receipts. Label the envelope “Holiday Receipts” and indicate the year. Keep it in your purse or car. Having your receipts consolidated will help you with returns after the holidays.
Keep gift giving simple. Our family practices what we call the “Minimalist Christmas.” Each of my children are given gifts as follows:
For extended family, instead of buying gifts for everyone, propose a game where each person brings one wrapped gift worth $20. On small pieces of paper, write numbers up to the number of people playing. The game begins by each person drawing a number. The person that gets #1 gets to choose a gift. The person that gets #2 can either take person #1’s gift or choose a wrapped gift. If they take person #1’s gift, person #1 gets to take another person’s gift or choose a wrapped gift. This goes on until there are no wrapped gifts left. This is similar to a “white elephant” exchange, except the gifts are real so you don’t have to worry about bringing more junk home.
Another way to keep gift giving simply is to skip gifts all together and commit to going on an excursion after the holidays. You can also choose a charity to give to rather than exchanging gifts. Find more time, less stress, and gratitude by keeping gift giving simple.
Make a list
Begin by making a list of all the tasks that need to be completed in the upcoming weeks. Commit to doing the tasks you enjoy, and either ditch or delegate the rest. Focus on making memories instead of headaches for yourself. If you don’t like to bake, don’t participate in the cookie exchange at work this year.
If you find large projects on your list that involve many tasks to complete, list out those tasks separately and assign dates and times for when you will do each task. Breaking projects down into tasks will make it feel more manageable. For example, rather than writing “send holiday cards,” on your list, break it down into smaller tasks, such as “buy holiday cards,” “write and address cards,” and “drop off cards at post office.”
Delegate tasks you don’t enjoy
If you don’t enjoy doing a task but it needs to be completed, consider delegating it to a family member or hire someone to help. Tasks that you might consider delegating include:
Assign task to time
Making a list of things you must do is great fun, but often we make lists and the tasks on the list don’t get done. The magic happens when we assign the task to time. Take your list and put the tasks right into your calendar or planner. Assign what date and time you will do each task. Honor these commitments as if they were a doctor’s appointment. When you complete tasks and feel in control of your own time, life seems less stressful.
Holidays are a time to enjoy loved ones and make memories with them. If you are stressed out and constantly chasing task after task, you won’t enjoy it, precious time will pass you by, and you probably won’t be that pleasant to be around. Make time for you! (Put your oxygen mask on first!) You can’t help others until you help yourself. Make it your personal mantra to only agree to activities that align with your goals, passions, and priorities. Find time to partake in activities that energize and revitalize you:
The holidays tend to be especially stressful. In addition to all the normal things we have to do, we also add sending holiday cards, buying and wrapping gifts, preparing meals, and attending holiday gatherings of all sorts to our lists. I'm beginning to wonder how I do it each year!
The holidays are a time when we are typically surrounded by friends, family, co-workers and strangers. We usually mix and mingle all month long! Whether or not we are able to gather this year, being mindful when we are with people or not can replace feelings of anxiety, fear, and worry with a sense of gratitude.
According to an article in Developmental Psychology, mindfulness is "paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally." So set aside your thoughts about what happened this morning at that meeting and your ever-growing list of things you need to do this weekend. Put down your electronic device and ignore the most recent Facebook posts. Look, listen, feel, smell and taste the world around you in an uninterrupted way. Enjoy a warm smile, the sweet words "I miss you," the gentle tug of a child's hand. Smell the cool winter air and taste that hot tea in your mug. This is life. Experience it fully and be grateful for the littlest things that make it so precious.
You might be asking yourself how you will hold this perspective each day. Enter....The Bullet Journal Method.
Author Ryder Carroll describes “The Bullet Journal Method” as a "practical yet forgiving tool to organize my impatient mind." This system helps people with ADD and those without. We are all trying to keep our heads above water in this Digital Age where information overload threatens to sink us daily. This overload makes most of us feel overwhelmed, overstimulated, disconnected and burned out. Countless distractions overtake our blurry days. The Bullet Journal Method provides an "anolog refuge for the Digital Age."
All you need to get started is a plain notebook and writing utensil. The act of writing with our hand draws us to the present moment and helps us reconnect with ourselves by pausing and writing things down. After using this method, you will begin to define what's important, why it's important, and how to best pursue those things. If you are interested in learning more, check out these links:
Liz Bremer, CPO