What happens when you don’t plan for a peaceful Christmas Season?
December 23 rolls around.
Worst day of the year.
At least, that’s what I used to think.
I can’t tell you how many times I saw my parents dissolve into conflict under a mountain of stress and tasks on December 23. Maybe it’s the 24th for some of you. We always celebrated with one side of the family on Christmas Eve and the other set of relatives on Christmas day, so the 23rd was the final moments of holiday prep.
The wrapping of presents seemed to bring us to the tipping point. Who bought what and which items were supposed to be from the grandparents and what if the grandparents didn’t approve of that gift… Typical family drama. It’s not pretty, but I’ve lived long enough to know that almost everyone deals with it.
That was my childhood. As an adult, I would surely do differently.
I certainly tried. I used to start buying Christmas presents in October so I could have more peace when Christmas rolled around. If I can get everything bought by Thanksgiving, I won’t be overwhelmed. Or so I thought.
As it turns out, we can stress ourselves out about a million things no matter how early we start. And no matter how much extra time we try to give ourselves, we end up filling that time with more and more tasks.
A few years ago, I splurged on a beatiful Christmas planner three-ring-notebook. It was gorgeous, full of good advice, and covered every detail. But, it was bulky and huge and covered. every. detail. including things that weren’t relevant to me like the pages for recording the recipes I would take to the potluck suppers I’d be invited to. Um, what?
A planner that cumbersome ends up unused.
This year, friend, we are not going to have a stressful Christmas season! I’ve got a plan for you and me to create the perfect plan to accomplish the holiday season we desire.
Prepare for Peace
Grab your calendar and a piece of paper.
On your paper, write down all the events you plan to attend and task you know you’ll need to accomplish.
You can pretty it up later, this is just to get it out of your head (or phone calendar, facebook events, invitations on the fridge…)
Borrowing from the Bullet Journal method, use a 0 next to events and a . next to tasks.
Next, place the events that are already scheduled into your calendar. For example, let’s say you already have been alerted of “ballet class Christmas party”, put it on the calendar. And maybe you know you want to “drive around to look at Christmas lights” but you’re not sure which day you’ll be doing that. Put the Christmas party on the calendar and keep the lights drive on the list.
Looking at the events that you have scheduled, are there any tasks that you’ll need to do to prepare for those events? Make a detailed list of those tasks. For that class party, I need to buy a gift to exchange, wrap said gift, and prepare a snack platter to share so each of those tasks goes on my list.