Christmas can be nuts. As my husband points out, I try to do a year’s worth of activity in four weeks. But what could I cut out? I love the traditions, the gift-making, the shopping, the baking, the parties, the concerts. So my only hope for as little stress as possible is to have a good plan in place and start chipping away at my to-do list before things get too crazy.
Before we do anything else, let’s take a moment to do a little mental exercise to set the tone for the holidays. Sit down (preferably with a cup of coffee or tea) and imagine what your ideal Christmas would be like. (Ideal meaning pleasant, not perfect, of course.) Think of words that describe the mood you’d like to set. Here’s what popped into my head: joyful, holy, meaningful, fun, peaceful, cozy. How about you?
If you haven’t already done so, create a Holiday Planner to make your life easier. Print out the calendar and start filling it in with your kids’ school performances, work events, and parties (you can get a head start on booking babysitters). I try really hard not to schedule any appointments with doctors or dentists during December unless I have to. But now might be a good time to think about scheduling haircuts.
Think about things you’d like to do this year. Maybe you’d like to start an annual tradition of seeing a Christmas show. Events book up fast this time of year, so don’t let yourself miss out by waiting until the last minute to purchase tickets. Maybe you’d like to read a different Christmas book to the kids every night during Advent. Or maybe you want to get an Advent calendar or box and do a special activity every day. Now’s the time to start pulling it all together so you don’t have to stress out after Thanksgiving. I’ll post a list of Advent ideas next week.
As you fill in your calendar, be sure to leave some blank spaces. And then don’t fill them in. This might require saying “no,” but you need a little down time. For me, down time means popping Elf (I love that movie!) into the DVD player and snuggling under blankets with popcorn and cookies. Aren’t those the moments we really remember from year to year?