I am making this month about Thanksgiving, and enjoying pumpkins, my brown transferware dishes, crisp, cool nights, and turkey and apple pie. The Christmas decorations won't go up until after Thanksgiving, and I'm saving Christmas carols until then, so I can enjoy them even more.
|A lovely November sky at dusk.|
Behind the scenes, though, I am planning not only for Thanksgiving and weekend guests, but for Christmas and all that entails. I have to, if I want to enjoy it when it comes. So how do I get everything done while keeping in the forefront the true meaning of the holidays?
I've made a list for myself, of things I hope to keep in mind. Some are second nature; some I have to keep reminding myself of. I'll let you take a peek at it. Maybe you can add some of your own ideas in the comments section.
My "Happy Holiday" Strategy
1. Stay out of the malls. You know it makes you feel stressed and overwhelmed at this time of year. Remember the year you wanted to strangle the poor little drummer boy? You didn't think you could stand hearing his "pa rum pum pum pum" over the mall loud speakers one more time? Don't go there! Order gifts online instead or visit our small, local shops downtown.
2. Toss all the catalogs in the recycling bin right away. You don't need to spend hours thumbing through them. Turn off or mute commercials. Resist all attempts by marketers to get you to buy, buy, buy way more than you need or even want.
3. Set a budget and stick with it. It's so easy to go overboard.
4. Don't try to do it all. The internet is full of gorgeous crafts, recipes, and decorating ideas. Pick a couple if you want that you'd really like to try, a recipe here or a simple craft there, and just enjoy window shopping the rest. You'll make yourself insane trying to replicate a Pinterest-worthy holiday.
5. Be prepared. Make a list of everything you need to do, buy, bake, mail. Everything. Check it over twice, and eliminate anything that's unreasonable (get all the boxes in the basement sorted? ha! Who's going to be looking down there anyway?). Do a little every day, even if it's just baking a batch of muffins to put in the freezer, or wrapping a couple gifts.
|Banana pecan muffins to enjoy for a leisurely holiday breakfast. Note I left two out for tea time!|
|The freezer in my basement is ready to house casseroles, muffins, and cookies for the holidays. I keep a list of everything I put in, and cross off when I remove. Looks like I have some baking to do!|
I have a notebook dedicated to the holidays, with separate pages for menus, lists of cleaning chores to be done, lists of stocking stuffers and gifts and packages to mail, Christmas card list, and more. I keep the lists from previous years as a reference. And after gifts have been received and opened, I add names to a list of people to send thank you's to.
This gives me great peace of mind as I'm not worried about forgetting anything, and I can work on checking as many things off as early as I can.
When you're prepared, you can: 6. read, play board games, do puzzles, watch a holiday movie. You want to spend time with family and friends, not rush around trying to cook and clean and do last-minute shopping when guests are here.
7. Eat healthy foods. Allow for some holiday treats, but stay on track with healthy eating. Remember too much sugar or processed food will make you fatigued, cranky, and ill.
8. Give. To the Salvation Army, the local food bank, and others in need. Don't forget the lonely and broken-hearted; call, invite them to tea, or send a card or small gift. It is indeed more blessed to give.
9. Be still. When you're super busy, you might not think you have time to sit with a cup of tea and rest. A short break usually allows you to be more productive later. As you sit and relax, you may think of a more creative way to do something, or get a brilliant idea for a gift for that hard-to-shop-for loved one.
10. Remember why. Share what you're thankful for around the Thanksgiving table. Read an Advent devotional, put up the Advent wreath. Go to a Christmas concert. Purpose in your heart that you won't forget to thank God for His blessings to our country, and for the gift of His Son.
Do you have any suggestions for keeping the holidays sane and peaceful? Please share.