Yes, I know that Thanksgiving is still a couple of weeks away, but as you can see if you enter ANY store, or turn on the TV or radio, Christmas is a’comin. It’s annoying that Independence Day is almost time for retail stores to put out Halloween decorations. I hate rushing the holidays and prefer to celebrate one holiday at a time, really enjoying it. There is however, merit to planning. You can just float along if you’d rather, but when I do that when it comes to holidays, I miss out on some things I’d like to do and end up settling for things I’d rather not do. While I’m not advocating pulling out your Christmas tree yet, it’s not a bad time to think about the coming weeks. Intentional living is a gift to yourself and your family, and no time is better for this than during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Sit down by yourself, with your spouse, and then with your kids to think about what you want your holiday to look like. You might be surprised when you ask your kids what they really want to include in the holiday season. What’s been special to them in the past? What do they want to do this year? What have you done in the past that you might want to skip this year? This is not a post trying to tell you how to live the holiday season from now until the end of the year, just one to encourage you to think about what you want and need to do ahead of time.
Something that has helped my is FlyLady’s Holiday Control Journal. While I wish I adhered to her all year round, I often lose my Flylady wings. Christmas does really go smoother with a plan, and she has a great list to keep you organized. She also has a list of “Holiday Cruising Missions” to get you ready for the holidays-a quick daily activity that will help everything be done on time and you a happy mama. It keeps you from spending the last weeks frantic and harried. I am behind on the list (I think we’re supposed to be on Mission 16 as of today!), but some things I’ve already done. I purchase wrapping supplies at the end of the season, so I don’t have to get paper and bows full price, and keep them all together in my attic. Many of my gifts are already purchased or made. With many wee little nephews I keep my eyes open on the clearance racks of Target and Michaels year-round and by this point I’ve found something for all of them. Groupon, Living Social, Amazon Local, and Style Blueprint offer great places to pick up gifts at a reduced price as well. I also make a good number of gifts–photo books (using coupons from sites listed above!), homemade vanilla, and sugar scrubs as well. Most of that is done.
I really encourage you to think about your holiday season this year, starting now. It will make the rest of the year less harried and more enjoyable. Look for posts in the coming days about Advent, Jesse Trees, and some favorite recipes.