It’s mind boggling to realize that the holidays, the end of the year, and the END OF 2020 are fast approaching. Our normal preparations and plans are likely taking a back seat to the goal of just getting through another day, and honestly, the process is often tiring and emotionally consuming.
I’ve spent a good amount of time in quarantine doing research on my upcoming book Emotional Labor: Why Women’s Work is Never Done, and What to do About It. With the holidays bearing down on us, I know that women’s work will become even more exaggerated as the weeks fly by, with a greater focus on family, and meeting the emotional expectations of the ones we love.
Emotional labor accounts for why a woman’s work is never done. Kin work is such a large part of the invisible labor women do that Micaela Di Leonardo, who first coined the term kin work in 1987 in The Female World of Cards and Holidays: Women, Families, and the Work of Kinship’ notes that “Women are involved in three types of work: housework and child care, work in the labor market, and the work of kinship.”
How can we possibly create a celebratory mood when we’re forced to put on hold so many of our traditions? How do we keep things simple if we have to be solitary?
At this stage in the pandemic, transitioning the home into a festival of lights may either feel like something fun to do or a total nightmare. Things are still a bit disorganized and you haven’t quite gotten to working through the stuff and clutter in the garage or the top of closets, or … “Where are all those Christmas decorations I bought on sale last year?!”
I offer a few strategies to help ease you into the holidays so that your planning and prepping is enough to get your through the holidays. Your desire to celebrate while staying emotionally managed these final weeks of 2020 (yes!) may be satisfied.
- Get the decorations out – and in full view of everyone in the family and ask: what are our “must have” decorations this year. Let everyone pick one or two things that really “speak” to each individual. Keep it simple.
- Think twice about the holiday décor that no one selects. This could be a great time to de-clutter!
- Since everyone is home, everyone gets to help decorate. Choose the date and time when you turn off the electronics for an hour to make the house festive!
- Take the pressure off the whole cooking thing! As a family, decide a “must have” dish and order out the rest!
- Instead of gifts, let the family choose a non-profit, or a shelter, or organization that serves the greater good.
- Virtual family outings – tours of museums and galleries – here’s an outstanding link showing 75 of the BEST of the BEST tours!
- Family fun with extended Family: Host a Murder Mystery and create an actual virtual “who done it?”
- Plan for next year! Gather ‘round the Zoom room and get excited about Holidays 2021!! Delegate responsibilities, trust everyone will follow-through, and then delegate who’s going to follow-up with everyone who is follow-through!
- 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.
- Sharp Health Group in San Diego offers emotionally healthful strategies for making it to the end of the year
- 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.
- Gifts: Many of my clients tell me that some of the clutter in their home is from gifts they’ve never needed, used, or desired. They keep them due to GUILT Which keeps the gift trapped in their home! I listen to the holiday gift-buying commercials. Before 12/25, television and radio ads encourage you to buy things that people will LOVE!! After 12/25, the ads change, reminding consumers that since they didn’t get the gift they really wanted, they can exchange it for something they’ll really love! No one, it seems, can win at this game of gift giving/receiving. Here at A Clear Path we’re all about the gifting that doesn’t cause clutter! Being of service, cooking a great meal, helping someone organize… now those are gifts everyone can use!
If you haven’t figured it out already, probably the most important thing you can do for yourself is to learn and understand the art and practice of delegation. A few of the strategies for getting through this time includes the delegation of the emotional and physical work of making the season work for you. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute call to learn better the nuances of delegating.
And speaking of delegating – remember – the Clear Path Ninja Organizers are here for you – and we love decorating your home for the holidays – and organizing everything when the holidays are over!
Peace and love to you all…