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.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Reduce Christmas Stress by Organizing Now, Part 1 - Expectations

Can you believe it's 86 days until Christmas!!?!! That doesn't seem very long to me. I'm updating a series I do every year to help you destress Christmas.

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 as you celebrate at Christmas - activities, traditions, food, spiritual emphasis, giving, service opportunities, etc. This is the time to determine what is important.

- 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. It's easy to feel a need to incorporate all the traditions you have ever done, which becomes unwieldy. To continue a tradition is ridiculous 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 another day.

- Enjoy the moment rather than compare it to memories or expectations. Be present and relish what is happening. And if it's not exactly what you had hoped for, 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. Consider the limits of your family members, too. 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 had themes - stars, hearts, trees, etc. But after a few years, the number of decorations was getting out of hand, so I stopped that tradition. Don't hesitate to limit activities so you can enjoy the season!!

Be intentional about Christmas this year by thinking through expectations of your own and those of your family members and friends. Give yourself permission to make your Christmas celebration personal, meaningful, and realistic.

More on celebrating:
Get Started on Your Christmas Cards
Three Steps to Planning Your Child's Parties