I ordered my first two Christmas gifts last weekend. It seemed unreal, but, the reality is there are 10 shopping weeks until Christmas. Roll your eyes if you must, but before you can stop groaning and be yelling “no” at your computer, Halloween will be over, and Thanksgiving will be here.
Then just as you are digging out your stretch pants to accommodate your Thanksgiving dinner for your Black Friday shopping, you will blink, and Christmas will be upon you. And you will think of me and this blog.
If you’re on a budget like I am or have a hard to find gift — I have one that is a doozy — time is of the essence for you. Or if you are just tired of being tired and stressed every Christmas and New Years, now is the time to take a breath and put a plan in place so you can have more joy this season.
No matter how hard I try, I always seem to get down to the twelve-day countdown before Christmas and feel discombobulated. That stressed out, what did I miss feeling. It lead’s me to do impulse shopping. I miss events I wanted to attend and television shows I wanted to see. The days somehow get away and people I wanted to touch base with I don’t.
I did some internet research and came up with five realistic things that I could do to help ease the stress of the holiday craziness for myself this year. I am going to give it a try. I thought I would share them with you. Then, after the holidays, we will see if it helped.
- Sit down with a cup or glass of your favorite beverage and paper and pen. Make three columns and label them — Buy Gifts For. Must Do Holiday Activities. Want To Do Holiday Activities. Then do a massive brain dump of all your holiday wish list items. After you do this, look at the lists realistically. Cross off what is whimsically thinking. Circle what you really want to do and prioritize the top three things in each column. Don’t worry about the “Buy Gifts For” list yet.
- Make a goal of a budget for yourself. Almost everything I read places the majority of stress on financial well-being during and after the Christmas holiday season. Now is an opportune time to take a realistic look at your economic forecast for the next several months and map out what you will be able to afford for not only gift buying, but the extra costs of food, and entertainment the season brings. Then re-look at your “Buy Gifts For” list. On a new sheet of paper make three columns. Family. Friends. Others. Then roughly give an amount to each name. Tally the amounts. And that my dear friend is what you will need to finance. It was a shocking experiencing for me. I have a Wunderlist app on my cell phone. I put a Christmas list of people in there. I have my set list of names and dollar amounts. My reality check for my impulse shopping in December.
- While doing fall cleaning, keep in mind decluttering with holiday donations in mind. Toys. Food shelves. Coat Closets. This made sense to me. While I was doing fall cleaning and rotating my seasonal clothes, I kept in mind food shelves to give to for the holidays, and coats for homeless shelters. Homeless shelters are always in need of clean socks in good condition, also. For those of you with children who will be getting new toys — consider giving their gently used toys to Children Hospital waiting rooms, homeless shelters, or battered women shelters.
- Start adding events to your calendar now. Travel. Get-togethers. Concerts. Hair. Nails. Christmas Pictures. Television shows as you see them advertised. When I circled my top three things I wanted to do for the season, I made a note on my calendar for when to start watching for tickets and postings. One thing I have been doing the past several years is going to see the Holiday Train. I have that noted. I have different television shows noted so I don’t miss them. I made my air travel reservations — tickets are still very inexpensive! Holiday concert tickets are on sale. Also, ladies! Now is the time to get your name on the books for your holiday haircut style and manicure and pedicure. Those spots fill up quicker than the elves eating Mrs. Claus’s sugar cookies. Now is an excellent time for a family portrait with the beautiful weather.
- Most of all, personal time and self-care. For myself, it is a breeze. I live alone, and once I shut the door on the world, I can relax. It hasn’t always been that way. For many of you still, several of the articles wrote about women making time for self-care. The hair and nail appointments I just mentioned. Make time for meeting up with girlfriends. Take time for yoga, mindfulness, make this a meaningful opportunity for yourself — not just everyone else. Do not forget to put yourself on your own gift-giving list. Make a list of what you want from Santa. When someone asks you what you want, be able to say, “This is what I want.”
Today I am thankful
- A Santi or Lucy day is always a good day
- Another warm and beautiful fall day.
- A success writing day.
- Today my mom ended her life journey eleven years ago. I think of her often as I get older. Life has a way of giving you “aha moments” as it teaches you more lessons. Some days I feel her near. She left me in excellent hands.
My goal is to de-stress my upcoming season.
I plan on keeping it simple with a congenial dose of family and friends, the Hallmark channel with Christmas movies often on my television, and my coffee generously spiked with Baileys. And, of course, my favorite flannel pajamas.
affectionately yours, Laura