I Christmas treestill get excited about Christmas and am filled with memories of my childhood. Nostalgia of festively decorated rooms, the smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies, the beautiful decorated Christmas tree and the excitement of seeing friends and family.

I have come to realise that I too, fall into the trap of consumerism and excitement of Christmas. Wanting to fulfil everyone’s dreams and wishes. Not to disappoint anyone. In so doing create expectations of gifts and seasons festivities that cause me and those around me untold stress.

After a busy year all you want is some peace and quiet, yet you are faced with lots of organising in and around the home. So how can you still have the former without all the stress and anxiety that is associated with the preparations?

1. Be still and listen to your heart

Before you start tearing away and doing things haphazardly. Sit down and visualise, what you want and what is important to you? Is it having fun and laughter with family and friends, good food and drink, a beautifully decorated home or, just peace and quiet away from all the responsibilities? If you want to impress everyone you are definitely setting yourself up for a lot of stress and inevitably disappointment!

2. Write it down

List everything that has to be done to achieve your goals. Even if you are aiming for peace and quiet away from all responsibility you’ll have to plan to realise your dream. Prioritise your list so that you’ll be able to cut things out that are not important. Schedule time in your calendar to get things done.

3. Wind up before you can wind down

You won’t be able to focus on any tasks that are holiday related unless you finish off at your work and can leave knowing that everything is taken care of and you can walk into the office after the vacation and carry on where you have left off.

4. Work your plan

Start with the things that have to be done according to their priority, work your way through.

Decorating the home is normally first on my list as it puts me into the holiday spirit. Enlist the help of the children to get them into the swing of things. While you are at it declutter old, broken and tatty décor items.

Gifting 

Instead of spending hours shopping for the perfect gift, rather spend the time with the person doing something you love and create memories. Can you really still remember every gift you received last year?

If you still want to gift or be gifted, practise the less is more principle. Use wish lists. Be specific of what you want, send specific wishes to different givers, this will prevent you from getting two of the same. Set limits amongst one another on how much you are going to spend. Consider clutter-free gifts like gift certificates, tickets to experiences or consumables.

Keep some generic gifts on hand for that unexpected visitor that comes bearing presents.

Create a gift wrapping station with gift wrap, gift bags, tape ribbon and cards where everyone can wrap their gifts before placing them under the tree.

Baking

Involving your children in baking Christmas cookies will teach them life skills and make memories.

Plan your meals

Plan your daily meals and those for the special occasions. Make your shopping and weekly fresh produce lists. Check your stock to ensure that you don’t make double purchases.

Plan activities and outings

Most people and especially kids don’t like just staying at home during the holidays. It is a good idea to check in advance what outdoor activities family and visitors like to partake in. Plan the outings remembering that it is about quality time with everyone. Don’t overschedule by trying to meet everyone’s expectation, leave time for rest and winding down.

Limit sleepovers and playdates

If you have relatives coming for the holidays, limit sleepovers and playdates with friends ensuring that the visitors don’t feel unwanted.

Prepare the guest room

Are you expecting guests? Prepare the rooms adding your loving touch.

5. Make space for the new

Help someone less fortunate than yourself by donating your undesirable or unused possession to make their life easier and to make space for the influx of the new.

6. Delegate

Delegate some tasks to your visitors and your family to make your life easier. It is family time after all and that doesn’t mean only sharing the joy but also the chores.

7. Know when to stop!

Wanting everything to be just perfect may influence the way in which you involve others or not and will leave you feeling drained. I constantly have to remind myself, ”That’s enough now, you may stop!” I don’t say don’t put those finishing touches on the gifts, often however when they are not there, they are not even missed!

 

Get rest instead of slaving late into the night and getting up feeling resentful because you have to do everything. Rather involve others and spend some time with them to relax and catch up.

8. Enjoy the company

Christmas is more about spending time with friends and family and making memories than spending money on gifts and things.

 

Wishing you peace, joy, and all the best the holiday has to offer. May this incredible time of giving and spending time with family bring you joy that lasts throughout the year. (From WishesQuotes)
Heidi Meyer

Professional Organiser.