Tis’ the season to be jolly, right? At least that is what the song says. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season. I mean, I start counting down the days ‘til Christmas in September. I love decorating, I love shopping, I love the traditions and spending time with family and friends. I want to do all the special things with my kids while they are still young and want to do them. I want to make each year magical and create memories my family will cherish forever.
When I imagine christmas time, I imagine myself looking and feeling fabulous from head to mistletoe. I see myself flitting around the house singing Christmas carols while cookies are baking in my perfectly clean kitchen. I picture my house decorated like something out of the Pottery Barn catalog and “Elf on the Shelf” has returned with only the best North Pole breakfast ever.
My ideal calendar would be filled with Christmas train rides, the nutcracker suite, holidays in the park, ice skating and anything else that would make this one unforgettable year. Yep, this is what I imagine and anticipate when we are still early into November, but right about Thanksgiving… is when reality sets in.
Every year this is what actually happens; I get stressed out. I get tired and crabby. My house ends up three quarters of the way decorated and cluttered. Let’s face it, every year I am a mess. I fill up the calendars, but I do so to the point where it turns my family into a walking zombies. I have become obsessed with trying to make the holidays so perfect and memorable that I end up missing so much of the season. I don’t want to complain because I know I am not the only one who feels the stresses of the season. I am just trying to figure out how to get through it and keep my sanity.
I have decided this is the year I am going to try a different approach to the holidays. I am hoping a little extra planning and organizing will help me have a sweet, Merry Little Christmas. You see, I am the type of person who can’t relax if the house is a mess or the decorations are only half up. It drives me crazy to have things only half done or unorganized. I just can’t do chaos. So, this year I am modifying my strategy. Here are my four changes I am trying this year to help me avoid the chaos.
- Plan ahead: This year I making my Christmas lists well before Thanksgiving. I actually started shopping in early November. When I saw something on sale I purchased it, and stored it. I figure, if it goes on sale later on, I can always take it back and repurchase it at the lower price. If not, it feels good knowing things are already bought and waiting to be wrapped. I also booked all my activities way in advance. This includes outings like; An overnight in the city, a Disneyland trip, Holiday in the park, and a Polar Express Train Ride. I found that I can get much better deals when I book and lock prices in way in advance. I was even able to get our Christmas cards ordered before Thanksgiving at a great price with free shipping included!
- Make a schedule: I wrote a list of everything I want and need to do, and then scheduled it into my calendar. I am scheduling all my baking, Christmas card writing, school events, etc. When I see it all on paper it’s less overwhelming than trying to remember it all in my head.
- Be realistic: I love having traditions, but I am finding that picking one or two is much more manageable and special than having tons more. Pre-planning and making lists have helped me see when too much is too much.
- Save some time for me: This is the one I will probably forget to do even though it is so important. The season is too long to be on the go without taking care of myself. If I don’t take time to relax, I end up becoming run down and inevitably sick. So, I don’t feel guilty taking that extra long bubble bath or scheduling that day at the salon, a happy Holiday is a healthy holiday.
Well that’s it. I am working on these four simple tips this year to keep me happy and sane through the holidays. Wish me luck!
I’m a Bay Area mom with midwestern roots. Born and raised in Indiana, I have always had an affinity for travel, adventure and the arts. Before my days of playdates and homework, I worked as a television host, reporter, producer, and actress in Los Angeles.