Friday, November 14, 2014

Make a list, check it twice

Do you want to enjoy your Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons this year instead of rushing through them?  Surely most of us do.  There are multiple ways to approach the season, but instead of a 'bah humbug' perhaps we can be a bit more proactive by going through the following three steps for a meaningful head start.


Think of the most stressful aspect of the holidays.  What makes it that way?  Is it the last minute shopping for Thanksgiving Dinner or Christmas gifts?  The constant coming-and-going to events, parties, and visits?  Whatever that stress point is, make a decision to not let it steal your joy this season.  It may seem trivial, but how we think eventually affects how we act.


Now, make a list.  Never underestimate the power of the list.  Once everything is out of our heads and onto paper, we can better assess what can actually get done.  So, write down everything necessary to make it through whatever brings the most stress.  Edit as needed.  Here are a couple of ideas:  

Thanksgiving Menu - Include everything from the hors d'oeuvres to the desserts, the decor

Gifts - Include everyone from the mailman to dog.  Once we see the extent of that list, we are better able to set limits (and expectations) for our Christmas budget.  Brainstorm gift ideas for everyone on the list and set budgets.

Events/Social Calendar - Sometimes the main thief of our holiday joy is the stress of running around to everything, so set your boundaries now so that you are better able to say 'no' to events and invitations that might take away from family time.

Emotional Well Being - Maybe holiday gatherings bring more anxiety or sadness this time of year.  Prepare for it by making a list of positive things that can help maintain emotional well-being, like setting aside time to help local charities or a little self-pampering.


Armed with the list, its time to make a plan.   Compare the list with your calendar.  Think about how long each item should take and set appointments accordingly to cross items off the list.  Mark off times to do the gift shopping, whether online or at brick-and-mortar stores.  Spread out the food preparation for holiday dinners - make as many items ahead as possible.  Organizers do not set themselves up for failure - they break it down into manageable pieces so they everything is not left to the last minute.  The earlier one starts, the more time one has to complete the task.

Here's to making this holiday season full of joy and peace!

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