Today we are focusing on four quick and easy action steps you can take right now that will go a long way towards simplifying and organizing your holiday season. Do you feel drained by the time January 1st rolls around? With a little prep work, you can take the hectic out of the holidays and get back to enjoying the season. We hope these action steps will help you stay more present in the memory making moments.
You can subscribe in iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play. If you are new to the podcast world, here is a quick guide to get you started. Happy you found us? Help others to find our podcast too! We would love your feedback! Please leave us a review in iTunes. Reviews are the best way for others to discover our podcast, so if you haven’t already, please take a moment to subscribe and leave a review.
Monthly Challenge: Conquering our Paper Challenge
It is not too late for you to join in! You can share your paper progress with us below in the comments or on social media. Use the hashtags #AtoBpodcast. What are you going to conquer today?
Simplifing your Holidays
My feelings about prepping for Christmas is a little reminiscent to how I felt during “back to school” that I shared in Episode 23. Sometimes it we can get caught up in all the activities, prep, and sales and lose track of what we are all doing this for! Our holidays can be simplified if we take a step back and reexamine our priorities.
Now if you love, love the holiday season and love your December packed with activities and tasks, I am not talking to you. This is for anyone who feels they have to do #all the things, every holiday tradition, every activity they are invited to. We are to stand together and decide what we would like our holidays to look like.
We have 4 key action steps to help you have a joyful holiday season without having an out of control to-do list.
Step 1 Prioritize
The first step might seem a little silly, but go with me here. Take 2 – 5 minutes to write down all the things you’d love to do to celebrate the holidays. This can include both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It can include the fun tasks like make christmas cookies, go look at christmas lights, getting your picture taken with santa, shopping, christmas cards, parties, along with the “have to’s.”
Once you have everything listed out, decide on the *must do’s* for you and your family this season. Number your list, with #1 as the most important thing we do, and as you go down your list, you’ll find activities that would be nice to do but are not absolutely necessary.
Step 2 Say NO
Once you have your holiday prioritizes clear it is a lot easier to follow step 2 and say NO to extraneous activities on your list. This goes back to Episode 7 when we discussed decluttering your to-do list. It is time to declutter your Christmas!
I have a few examples from my own life where I have chosen to say no. I don’t do christmas cards. I don’t do Elf on the Shelf, even though my kids have ask me repeatedly to do it. We don’t visit multiple families homes, even though we live close enough to do so. Instead we switch off every other year.
It can be hard to say “no” to fun activities but we all have our limits! That is why it is important to do step 2 after step 1, prioritizing. Once you know your top 5 activities you are intentionally saying “yes” to and can be easier to focus on those instead of the items you are not able to do.
Also, you may not be saying no forever. It may just be for this season of life. If you have young kids you may have to say no to more Christmas parties. Maybe you are traveling a lot so you have to say no to live Christmas tree this year. It is not forever but for a time.
Just like all the inspirational quotes say (AND Peter Walsh), “You get to create the life you want.” You also get to create the holidays you want too!
Step 3 Simplify Gift giving
A major part of this season is giving gifts. Maybe it is something you love doing or maybe it is one more task to check off the list. Here are a few tips to simplify gift giving:
- Keep a running list of gift ideas. You can use a list or shopping app on your phone or a wishlist on Amazon.
- Create boundaries to guide the gifts for your kids. For example, one gift and smaller trinkets in a stocking or use 1 gift you want, 1 gift you need, and 1 gift to read. Otherwise it can be easy to over spend (and over give) when you are shopping.
- Create a gift exchange for extended family and/or coworkers.
- Find an awesome gift the can be used for multiple people on your list.
- Give speciality food. This is one of my favorite gifts to receive! William-Sonoma has some great options so you don’t have to overload on the sweets.
- Shop online as much as possible so purchases can be delivered straight to your doorstep. Be sure to start early (see next tip) so you aren’t forced to pay for expedited shipping.
- Use our Christmas Planning form to plan ahead by listing out who you need to buy for and possible gift ideas.
The 1st page allows you to plan for all your Christmas spending including the miscellaneous items we often forget to including like wrapping paper and holiday travel. Also there are blank rows for you to plan for your own special traditions.
The 2nd page helps you divide and conquer your Christmas shopping with room to plan gifts and set a budget for each person.
Step 4 Become an efficiency expert
Look for ways to “batch” process the more dreaded activities of the holidays.
- Use make ahead dishes, break out the crockpot or double your meals to freak an extra one to use during a hectic night.
- If you are hosting a party, make it a potluck!
- What can you delegate to others? Can the kids make handmade cards, or hire a cleaning service for a special occasion.
- Ask for Help – trade babysitting with another mom to get some christmas shopping done, or trade an extra hand- my friend helps me knock out a few cookie batches and I go over and help her prep for her christmas party. A win-win!
I hope you choose a few tips (you don’t need to do them all!) to help you simplify this holiday season. Please share with us what you already do to keep things simple and help you enjoy the moments! We’d love to incorporate them into our own traditions. Have a relaxing and joyful holiday!
We even have a voicemail line (858) 480-7722! Or send us an email Hello @ AtoBpodcast.com.
Don’t forget to help others to find our podcast too! Please leave us a review on iTunes.