It’s true that we haven’t quite reached Halloween yet, but I’m doing myself a favor and already preparing for our holiday season. Why? Well, I’m a a planner at heart but also, I feel such a jumble of things when the holidays approach. Simultaneously I find myself wanting to…
- Romanticize the heck out of, transform my home into Williams Sonoma, bake all the cookies and watch all the movies while snuggled on the couch.
- Go shopping for gifts in the hustle and bustle of the local boutiques and attend all the town’s activities.
- Slow down, stay home, listen to old school Christmas songs, craft and puzzle, reflect on years past and sit in my feelings for a bit.
- I want to feel well and focus on sleep, exercise and eat well. I also want to sip wine and stay up late with David in pajamas and make the kids cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
- I don’t want to fall off the wagon of doing math and writing and I also want to put all that aside to focus on family traditions and together time.
Often time these scattered goals can lead to feeling pulled in all directions and satisfying none of them. So I sat down, gave it some thought, polled IG friends and compiled some ideas on how anyone that might feel similarly to me above can get more peace, purpose, and joy from the upcoming season.
Prioritize! We have to start here. What is good for your family? It’s easy to say all of it, but think back on seasons past and see what stands out. The town’s Christmas tree lighting or pajamas night, movies, and popcorn? What traditions serve you? Ask your kids what their favorite family tradition is; it might surprise you.
Make a list of 5 things you want to ensure you make time for. Add all the other “maybes” to a secondary list. Then release the guilt of any supposed “must do” that your family really doesn’t derive any joy or purpose from.
Plan. Get a cup of something cozy, a clipboard, and a calendar. It’s time to make the lists and fill out the calendar. Much like meal planning, this might take a little time, but then it relieves you from making a million tiny decisions throughout the next two months. Can some of it stay flexible? Of course! But go ahead tackle the big stuff.
- Write any events you know you want to attend on the calendar. Include the personal traditions. For example, we do a family team Christmas shopping and a day to go shopping for our local Food Bank with the kids’ “give” money. These are two of our favorite traditions and need to be accounted for in the planning stage. Is driving around and looking at Christmas lights a must for your family? Can you go ahead and choose the date? Or an option or two?
- Write out the gift list. Who are you buying or making things for? What are you getting them? Provide check marks for items that have been secured and ideas for those you haven’t come up with yet. I usually add an additional checkmark column to note whether I’ve wrapped it yet, too.
- If appropriate, meal plan. Are you hosting during the holiday season? Now is a great time to get a rough (or specific) idea of what you will serve. Ask your family- what foods make it feel like the holidays to them? Make a note. I host Christmas and it’s so helpful to me to have a written menu for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner way ahead of time. Additionally, when it gets closer I write myself a time-specific breakdown of what I need to do when, like 1:00 PM: start the potatoes. This helps me ensure I get things done without missing out on being part of the fun.
What can you check off now? If possible, go ahead and gather the materials for any necessary calendar commitment. Do you need special art and craft supplies for a kids Advent activity? What dress will you wear to the Christmas party? Do you need new cookie cutters?
What can you declutter from your home before decorations come out and new items come in? What can you donate or sell to clear your space and perhaps help out someone else? I joined my local Facebook “Buy Nothing” Group and it’s a great way to pass along items and “give where you live.”
Pause. And breathe. Remind yourself what really matters to you, like faith, gratitude, time with family and friends. If you’re a parent, remember that your presence is a bigger gift to your family than any present could be.
Maybe you’re a roll with it kind of gal and this process feels unnecessary and cumbersome. Or maybe you’re like me and the planning ahead fosters the peace that I seek. I’d love to hear how you’re feeling as this time of year approaches and anything that helps bring you enjoyment. How do you you handle the holiday season?