Hey, girl. Good morning. For my Christian mammas this morning – are you starting to plan for Christmas yet? You’ve thought about it, haven’t you? And good for you. This is so big it needs some planning. Plan ahead to minimize stress, maximize joy.
I started to plan for this Christmas on December 26, 2015. While my kids were running around the house with their new toys I made myself a cup of hot tea and sat down on the sofa , cross-legged in my yoga pants, pillow on my lap, dog at my side, and wrote myself a letter. I printed it, punched it (I love paper) and put it in my daytimer for October 2016.
In that letter, I talked about what worked and what didn’t. What each kid liked best and needed most from the holiday, why to stay on budget no matter what, how many bottles of wine we needed at our open house. I’ve read it through now four times to keep myself targeted.
Early? Well, yes and no. In one week at work, I dive into an important new product launch that will keep me ridiculously busy for the next four months, minimum. Months of travel, meetings, promotions. Those months roll right into and over the holiday season.
I have learned over the years that there are only so many hours in the day, no matter how much I might wish it otherwise. So, I do what I can to spend those hours in the most meaningful way possible. I don’t want to miss my life. Honestly, I’ve missed too much of it and I refuse to do that anymore.
That means that I’d better have every busy thing done that I can possibly do now. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, in the few free hours I am going to have, I want only to be with my children. And my husband, him too. I don’t want to be in the basement wrapping anything. I do NOT want to be shopping sales for Christmas gifts. I do not want to be in a store at all. I want to be home. I want to be with them. Baking maybe. Or sledding. Or reading How The Grinch Stole Christmas for the thousandth time by the tree.
So, my shopping is done. I even ordered up the ingredients for their favorite Christmas cookies. Our family photo is taken, our cards are purchased, my address labels are printed up. Today I wrap the presents (seriously) and hide them. Tomorrow, I stamp our hundreds of Christmas cards. (In years past I’ve paid someone to do this for me, but I regretted it. I like this part of Christmas.)
How about you, girl? What can you do to minimize your stress over the coming months and maximize your joy?
You’re smart. You’re accustomed to managing projects. Manage this one. There is no rule that you have to do it all; do what you want. Work does not always have to win; protect what is important to you. Ask the kids what they remember about last Christmas; ask your husband. It’s the easiest way to find out what was meaningful for them.
This is your one and precious life. They won’t be little forever. Make a battle plan and then protect the time and those traditions you’ve decided are important to you.
Your family, your way.
Merry Christmas, Mamma.