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December 2007: Tips for the Holidays

Well folks the count down has begun and there are officially two more weeks until Christmas. My countdown already began last week as we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas in our household. Hanukkah helped me get my act together. I got my Hanukkah cards out and did my Christmas cards at the same time. This time of year can be very stressful. Here are a few tips to help you get organized:

  • Don’t stress about the deadline to send out cards. It’s never too late to send them out. (Well Valentine’s may be a little too late). It’s the thought that counts. One year I sent out New Year’s cards instead of Christmas cards. You can always save a tree and send out e-cards.

  • Have some extra wine and chocolates on hand. If someone drops by unexpectedly, you will have a gift for them. Also, if you have a last minute open house or invite you can bring them as a hostess gift.

  • Remember to prioritize. Your family may be okay if not every single decoration is up or if there aren’t 5 different types of cookies but they will be disappointed if the tree isn’t up and the presents aren’t wrapped. Sometimes it’s necessary to do the important things first and see if there is time left over for the not-so important things.

  • Delegate! Get the family to help out! My daughter helps me wrap gifts. I get my children to do the dishes on Christmas day! We started this tradition a few years ago. They actually have a great time together and they do a good job!

  • Remember to take time to breathe and enjoy. Take it all in. Ask yourself why you are following certain traditions. If they don’t make sense or make you happy – maybe it’s time to let a few go.

  • Bag it! If you are entertaining and you just don’t have time to tidy up and organize everything perfectly – bag it! Take all your mail for instance and stick in a shopping bag and label it and put it in your closet. Don’t forget about it! Make sure to take it out the next day and sort through it. I have done this when I am really pressed for time and I want to clean off my desk or a counter top. I will bag it temporarily. It makes me feel good because I know exactly where my stuff is if I need it.

  • Remember that you are striving for fun and not perfection. The kids won’t remember that you forgot the cranberry sauce but they will remember that mom went on and on about it. My daughter and I made Hanukkah cookies the other night. When it came to icing them, my icing kit fell apart. Instead of stressing about it, we both had fun trying to make due and we had a lot of laughs while doing it. They were far from perfect but we had fun and that was the point. I even mentioned to my daughter that we will remember this time because it didn’t go smoothly! Everyone loved the cookies and even asked for the recipe! No one was the wiser. We focused on the process and not the outcome. I wish I had learned this lesson long ago when the kids were little that the journey was more important than the destination!

  • Vow to start earlier next year. So you didn’t get an early start this year or maybe you started early but then took a break and woke up and realized Christmas is two weeks away! Make a list in September or October of every thing you need to do (send cards, buy a tree, bake cookies, shop for gifts, plan a party etc.) Then break down each task into smaller steps. Set goals. Example: I will start my cards mid November and finish them before end of November. Don’t beat yourself up because you are not as organized as you would like to be. Just do what you can and enjoy!

I wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday and only good things for 2008!

Alison King