Rain is predicated in Los Angeles for this first week of November. Regardless of the weather, it’s a bit of a shock to see that the holiday shopping season has begun.
Many people love the holidays but become depressed by the amount of stress it seems to bring into their homes or hearts or both. ‘Tis not (supposed to be) the season for frustration but for love and peace-filled hearts.
So before you start groaning about what lies ahead, here are some strategies for doing the holidays a little differently this year. I’d love to hear if you used these or any other techniques and ideas from past newsletters.
Here’s to a safe and dry November, and a productive end to 2017.
Before your Holiday Season begins, create a list of things/events/experiences that you enjoy as well as those that have caused stress for you in the past. When you are able to identify your holiday stressors, you can proactively try to eliminate them. For example, if putting up decorations is a chore, enlist the help of someone else or invest in decorations that don’t take a lot of set-up or clean up time.
Once you have everything you need to do on your calendar, you can begin to plan ahead by creating daily to-do lists for both your life and your holiday preparation. It is easier to prioritize when you know what you need to do and by when.
Use your calendar. Include when you will decorate (it may help to span out decorating over several days), airport arrivals/departures, shopping trips, school/work functions. Calendaring ALL of your events will also help you prioritize what is most important to you and/or your family and you may time-map accordingly.
Delegate tasks to family members to create a family activity. Have one person work on writing addresses on envelopes for cards, another to help with meal preparations, someone else may do the online shopping, etc. This creates shared responsibility and achievement for the whole family.
Take inventory of what holiday items you already have: decorations, wrapping paper, cards, etc. Write down what you have enough of and what you are still missing. If you are noticing the same broken decorations you’ve had for year, toss them. If you have too much of something you don’t need, give it away. And don’t forget to label bins, containers, and storage areas to help you later on.
Try to get as much shopping and preparation done from behind a computer. If you are shopping offline, call ahead before you arrive at the store to reserve the item for which you are looking. You can avoid going to several stores in search of the same item with this method. Even some grocery stores will set aside turkeys or roasts if you call in advance. \
Decide how you want to send out holiday cards and season greetings. Make a list of everyone to whom you will send a card and have their addresses available. If you’d like to write a special note on the card to each recipient, spread this activity out over several days and try to write two to five cards a day, depending on your schedule.
Don’t be afraid to turn down invitations. It’s completely understandable to be busy or “fully booked” during the holiday season. Over-committing may lead to stress when you try to be everywhere at once.
Enjoy living in the season rather than being focused on creating memorable moments for everyone else. Focus on what matters to you and loved ones and prioritize those first.
Don’t know what to do with all the leftovers or unused items from the holidays? Have a holiday after-party to get rid of things you don’t want. You can have a potluck to help everyone get rid of leftovers or a white elephant for unwanted gifts.