Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Destressing Christmas, Part 1 - Think Through Your Expectations

Christmas already? Did you know that it is 97 days until Christmas? If we really want to destress Christmas, it might be wise to start thinking about it now. Last year I did a series on Destressing Christmas. I think I'll repeat one part of the series each week just to help us get started. Here's the first one: Thinking Through Your Expectations

As you anticipate the holidays, think through your expectations. Talk with your family members or those with whom you will be spending the holiday season. Ask what is important to them to celebrate at Christmas - activities, traditions, food, spiritual emphasis, giving, service opportunities, etc. This is the time to determine what is important to emphasize.

Make a list of all your traditions, from decorating to Christmas caroling. Keep the ones you love (forget about impressing other people), and cross off the ones you don't. Without realizing it, I tend to feel a need to incorporate all we had ever done, which becomes unwieldy, and it's rediculous if no one wants to do it!

Be flexible when things don't fit your expectations. Christmas Day doesn't have to happen on December 25th, for example. When we lived in Kenya, we worked with an expatriot medical team who gave their staff Christmas Day off. So we celebrated Christmas as a team on other days.

My husband and I are going to my parents' home for Thanksgiving, but have to fly on Thanksgiving. So we are celebrating on Friday instead of Thanksgiving. Our children won't be with us for Christmas, but we'll adjust.

Enjoy the moment rather than compare it to memories or expectations. Be present and relish what is happening. And if it's not the greatest, do what you can to make it pleasant. Be other-centered rather than self-centered.

Keep a sense of humor. I like things to match and I appreciate beauty. However, my son-in-law secretly placed a very ugly decoration on the tree one year. I did manage to resist my urge to snatch it off the tree, and we left it on the tree for giggles. It has now become a tradition.

Be realistic!!! Know what you can handle and what you cannot. Be kind to yourself and live within your limits. Each year is different. One year we were moving right after Christmas and our holiday preparations for that year were very few. Other years I decided to have a theme - stars, hearts, trees, etc. But after a few years, the number of decorations were getting out of hand so I stopped that tradition. Don't hesitate to limit activities so you can enjoy the season!!