Facing a big Christmas to do list this year? Find out the secret to doing everything you want to and have your best Christmas yet.
It’s that exciting time of the year when the holidays are approaching, and as you become inspired with all the exciting ideas that everyone is talking and blogging about, you wonder how you’ll be able to get all these wonderful things on your Christmas to do list done.
Well if they can do it, so can you. So you make lists of your holiday activity goals, pin countless Christmas cookie recipes and DIY gift ideas, and print Holiday planning guides for your budget, meal plan, scheduling, checklists and more.
Trust me, I am there with you. This Christmas I want to deck my house out and treat my family to an amazing Christmas day brunch and turkey dinner.
This Christmas I’m going to give handmade gifts that reflect a personalized gesture of love while saving me money.
This Christmas I want to spend lots of time with my kids doing all of the great Christmas activities: watch Christmas movies, go ice skating, look at the holiday lights, make Christmas crafts, do Christmas baking…
This Christmas I need to involve the kids with gift giving and of course involve them with charitable giving and activities to teach them the true meaning of the season.
This Christmas I want to take lots of great photos and videos of the family to record this special time and have lasting memories.
This Christmas I, wait, exactly how long is the Christmas season?
We are so busy with our Christmas to do list, stressing ourselves out trying to finish it all, that the month just seems to fly by. And what happens when we get to Christmas Eve, and realize we haven’t done half of things we had hoped to do this season? We feel a bit disappointed. A bit defeated. We put our lists away in a drawer and tell ourselves we’ll do better next year.
Well not this year. I won’t let that happen to you again. This year I’m going to tell you how you can accomplish everything you want in the holiday season, completely embracing it in the way you desire and feel perfectly fulfilled when it’s all over. Are you ready?
Stop. Just stop. What are you doing to yourself? You are creating massively unrealistic expectations of yourself! Have you noticed the Holiday season is stressful because you are struggling to “get it all done”? Stop trying to do it all! Please, for your own sanity, lower your expectations.
You know those bloggers sharing incredible DIY gifts, DIY decorations, DIY baking? Well, that is their job. And they don’t do it all. They do some things really well, they don’t do everything really well. They are amazing for inspiration and ideas, but you can’t expect to achieve everything that inspires you in one short month.
And understand that nobody else expects you to become Martha Stewart all of a sudden when the Holiday season rolls around. They don’t. Why do you expect that of yourself?
Prioritize your favorite things. What were your best childhood memories that you want to replicate with your own kids? What do your kids talk about fondly after the season has long passed? What do you most enjoy doing at Christmas time now? You need to be clear with yourself about what you consider to be essential when it comes to the Holiday season, and what you could forgo without regret. What brings you the most happiness? And what brings your family the most happiness?
Think about all of your current family traditions. Are there any that cause more grief than they are worth? Try cutting them this year. Are there new traditions you would love to embrace? Pick one. Just one, and add it to your list at the appropriate place of priority to you.
Play to your own strengths. Be honest. If you love to bake, great, bake for a family activity, bake for gifts, bake for charity. If you never really bake any other time of year because you don’t particularly enjoy it and aren’t very good, but feel that you should and want to bake all those amazing Holiday treats — don’t do it. You have everyone’s permission to buy treats from the bakery, give yourself permission too.
This applies to cooking, crafting, decorating and all the rest. Pick a couple of things that you are best at and let your powers shine! Delegate your trouble areas or if possible just forgo them completely. It’s okay. You’ll see, you will be more content than ever. You’ll feel as free as Elsa, just let it go.
Scale it down. You’ve narrowed down your Christmas to do list to a few of your top priorities that play to your strengths. But I bet you are still being too ambitious. Can you really give DIY gifts to everyone on your list? Do you really need to bake 15 different kinds of cookies, squares and tarts? Do you have the time to volunteer for charity every weekend? That is doubtful. There is no need to overdo it, and you are still causing yourself unnecessary stress. Again, lower your expectations not just for the scope of your activities but the volume as well.
Schedule it out. There are only 5 weeks between Thanksgiving (US) and Christmas. Here’s what I recommend: Schedule one major task or activity per week, and if you are able to, pepper the days with smaller items on your list. Figure out which items need to be tackled all at once, and which are best to be spread out over the weeks. Aim for not more than 5 “major” tasks and not more than 5 “minor” tasks.
Here’s my list of my major tasks:
- Christmas gift shopping/making (spread over time)
- Take Christmas photos of kids (1 scheduled photo session, as well as candid photos to capture the memories)
- Take the whole family ice skating
- Make one craft with the kids that serves as an activity, a memory keepsake, and gifts for family
- Choose one charitable activity to do as a family
Here’s my list of my smaller tasks:
- Decorate my home and tree with decor I already have (in large chunks of time)
- Gift wrapping (in large chunks if possible)
- Watch Christmas movies (spread out)
- Take the kids to visit Santa in the mall
- Print a few photo Christmas cards for close family
And here’s what I’ve decided to NOT do this year:
- Marathon baking, most likely no baking
- Trying to have a perfectly clean, perfectly decorated home
- Hosting a family dinner (because it’s not my turn this year – we rotate), and I’m not hosting any Christmas parties
- Trying to fulfill every desire on my kids’ wish lists
- Making handmade gifts for everyone on my list (I’ve decided on about half at the most)
- Attending the Holiday Train, Santa parade or other local seasonal events
- Sending out Christmas cards to everyone who’s mailing address I have
Look at that, I shortened my list to 5 major and 5 minor tasks and it STILL seems overwhelming to me. But if I stick to my schedule it will be done. I’m sure your list will be different than mine, and I hope it’s shorter, but you have to schedule these tasks to ensure the essentials are taken care of.
I know it’s hard giving up on the dream, the ideal vision of Christmas that everyone is selling to you, but trust me, you will thank yourself. Be true to yourself. Don’t do what others expect of you and what you think they expect of you. Do your Christmas your way. Own it, and be proud. When it’s all over, you’ll look back and think what an amazing experience it was, and look forward to another simpler, truer to you Christmas next year.
What will you be focusing on this year? What are you willing to give up from your Christmas to do list? Let me know! (And if it’s not too early to say, have a Merry Christmas!)
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