Don’t worry, it may be early to some of you but if you’re like me and everyday is filled to the gills, planning for Christmas couldn’t be early enough. This year I decided to get ready a little earlier. We have made the ‘what I call’ mistake in the past few years to put up the Christmas lights in minus temperatures. We pull out the ladders and I send my ‘always looking for an adventure’ husband on up in the hypothermic inducing temp to unfold the magical Christmas scene I have created in my mind. Yes, Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. It isn’t just Christmas day, it’s the whole season. It’s the feeling I wholeheartedly embrace.
I have finally decided at my ripe age of 40 to let go of what is supposed to be the rule and just go with the flow of how everyone close to me is feeling. The last thing my husband and I wanted to do on Christmas day last year was to spend half of it in the kitchen, so we didn’t even make a Turkey. We went out for walks, dreamed, talked, and skated on the lake along with the kids tobogganing down our hill with just a few injuries. (Note for me this year, bring some helmets up to the lake) Coming in, sitting in front of the fire, watching a Christmas movie and munching on goodies made for one of the best Christmas’s I can remember. Nothing was planned, nothing was rushed, and we embraced every moment, we were so present.
My goal this year is to create a similar feeling my family enjoyed last year…….what does that mean? I NEED TO RELAX!!! I am an organizer with a self diagnosis of OCD. I like things to be just so and I will waste time getting it just so to the point where I have sincerely missed out on some special moments others have clearly enjoyed. This year the leader in me will let others lead the holiday…..to a certain point.
On a practical note, in addition to using More Time Moms Christmas Countdown checklist, I have decided to ask myself the questions I need answers to in order to have as much of a special stressed free holiday as possible.
Holiday Time Management
Before I plan the holiday activities, I need to check my Family Organizer. Are children going to be involved in exams during the season or are the exams after the holiday? How about the kids activities around Christmas i.e. parties, concerts and plays. What about their regular sport activities? Do we have to go to all the events because I would like to do what we used to do a few years ago and drive around in pyjamas, yes pyjamas drinking hot chocolate and looking at all the wonderful Christmas lights!
What about the parties I want to go to……..I will promise myself not to let any feelings of tiredness prevent me and my husband from going to gatherings with grown ups! Hummm I better start lining up babysitters and back up ones, so I don’t let myself get out of it!
One thing we’ve done in the past and I know a lot of my friends suffer from this as well; we don’t take all of our vacation time by the years end. Ok so I work for myself, I can work things out, but for my husband we have to determine how many vacation days are left to take the most advantage of the holiday. Making this happen is on top of my priority list.
There is this age-old tradition of writing Christmas Cards, ugh ugh ugh. What am I complaining about, I love to receive them so I will love to write them and send them out within the first or second week of December.
Do I have to get some more decorations to replace the ones that are broken or worn out? I need the smell of pine throughout the house to stir up those wonderful Christmas memories. When will we be going on the expedition to the local parking lot to pick out the perfect Christmas tree? Maybe we should consider chopping down our own…ok no not this year! I want to pull out the Christmas books, movies and music to start getting everyone in the mood, when do I do it so it won’t be overkill? Ok to me it is never overkill, so how about right now!
Are you tired yet? Do you see why it is important for me to write or log everything down? Not everything here is a priority but making this type of list helps me to identify everything I think I want to do and prioritize and eliminate what isn’t important. Thought my list was over? Hohoho.
What about the meals and the infamous Christmas baking?
Christmas presents for the family. This year I would like to challenge myself and figure out what gifts my family would love without asking each one what they want. Sure I can do it! Do I get presents for all or some of the kids teachers? What about coaches and tutors and car pool collaborators? I can’t forget to get some gratitude gifts for my clients.
What about the newspaper boy, mailman, garbage collector, hairdresser, physiotherapists etc.? I suppose I should figure out what my budget is for this year before hand…hmmmm budget what budget? When do I schedule in the shopping for these presents to avoid the crazy rush and possible weather issues?
As for the stockings this year, I think I’ll be an Elf and help Santa out a little bit to prepare most of what is going in them ahead of time. I have always left the stockings to the last minute scrambling to fill them. I don’t want that tradition to fall away since it seems to be one of the favourite things the kids like to do on Christmas morning. Lesson learned….I also will NOT put chocolate in the stockings this year since they will hang over the blazing fireplace again.
What about the whole spirit of Christmas? What about the charitable side of it? What am I going to donate and to who or what charity? We have always thought it would be great to help a family in need at Christmas, and this year we know a family personally facing illness, abandonment and poverty, I think they could use a little magic. We’ll get a gift for each one of the kids and take care of the groceries in order to make a wonderful holiday dinner with a lot leftovers. I’ll have to brainstorm with my family to make it even more special. We have been sponsoring a child in El Salvador, I can not forget to send a gift out to her now so that it gets there on time.
I want to make sure that I don’t leave out the other people in my life that don’t celebrate the holidays by sending simple friendship cards acknowledging them and also appreciating my friends that celebrate different faiths. I feel fortunate to have such a diverse group of people enriching and growing my life. What about me? I suppose that the real present I could give myself this year as I did last, is to be genuinely present every moment today and for the rest of my life. I’ll do my best! Happy Holidays Everyone!