Organized & Topped with a Bow
Do you know someone who always buys their own gifts? Usually, someone who buys their own gifts has everything they need, right? Well, I have a suggestion for one of the best gifts you can give yourself this holiday – and friends and family can still get a wish list from you! The gift is… strategy!
There are several great things about this gift. One, it can be free. Two, it is full of surprises! Maybe that seems ironic, but having a strategy for the holiday season will relieve the stress and overwhelming frustration that can often take over during what is supposed to be one the happiest times of the year.
Let’s think about all the things that occupy our minds during the holiday season: cards, parties, family meals, gifts, – and all under a budget! So, how can you strategize a surprisingly jolly Christmas?
- Keep up with a calendar. There are probably plenty of things to put on a calendar as it approaches Christmas. If you use an app on your smart phone, I suggest also keeping a calendar somewhere central in your home like a kitchen or office area. It is important for everyone’s schedules to be recognized.
- Keep a “Holiday Planning Notebook”. If you think about it, this year’s strategy could be next year’s sanity! Sometimes, not having to take the time or energy to remember something (that happened a year ago) can reduce the stress in your life!
- Plan ahead. If you are going to a party, having the family over dinner, wrapping gifts, decorating the tree or the front yard, all of those things have a before, during and after. Be sure to account for baking, cooking, buying wrapping supplies and getting things down from the attic by scheduling the before the event happens on your calendar. Unless you have a special reindeer, I don’t it will put itself in the yard without having been helped out of the garage.
- Monitor your expectations. Remember, you are giving yourself the gift of strategy, not the gift of being superwoman! So, watch your calendar and keep your schedule as balanced as you can. Prioritize specific events or even what is most important on days that you have several tasks to do or places to go. There are only 24-hours a day, even during Christmas, so be sure to schedule even 15-minute appointments for yourself to enjoy a cup of coffee, yoga or staring through a window. Giving yourself some breathing room will allow you to monitor your expectations more easily.
- Money doesn’t grow in stockings. Discuss a budget with your spouse and stick to it – maybe keep a gift list next to the family calendar. Add names and gift ideas to the list when you think of them. If someone buys something, cross it off the list and note what its cost was.
- Create traditions that your family enjoys. Even if it means not making the green beans that no one likes, not putting up the ugly wreath that always goes on the front door (just because your mom made it for you when you were ten) or replacing the tradition of a live tree with the ease of a fake tree, sticking to traditions, just for the sake of tradition isn’t worth the stress if no one enjoys them or dreads them. Find new traditions for your family, which fit your family’s lifestyle and the changing age of your kids or the growing size of your home. Keep track of what your family likes and doesn’t like and next year you won’t have to guess.
- Share the wealth. You don’t need to get daily white elephant gifts like dirty laundry, cookie crumbs or dirty dishes left on the table. Be sure to have a special task list by your calendar for household responsibilities. Enlist the help of everyone in the house to make your strategic holiday a simpler one. Everyone can share in the responsibly of putting away groceries, wrapping gifts, picking up decorations that have fallen or turning the window lamps on at night.
Remember, you can only receive the gift of strategy when you’ve planned a little before you top it with a bow! And, you are the giver – so you can top it with any bow you want! It’s up to you! For more tips on organizing your holidays, visit Richmond Family Magazine.
Kathy Jenkins is a nationally recognized certified organizer, speaker and writer. She is the founder of Come To Order and especially enjoys working with families to help them learn good organizational skills that will benefit them for a lifetime. For more tips on reducing stress in your schedule, life and home, follow Kathy on Twitter.