25 Days of Christmas

I’m sorry.

I feel like I owe you all an apology for my sad neglect of my blog the past few days.

I have excuses!

I had to finish writing at 50,000 word novel as part of the National Novel Writing Month Contest. I am happy to report I finished with 50,008 words at the eleventh hour yesterday. I’m feeling pretty good about reaching this goal!

I also had some stuff going on at work. Our local chamber has a banquet every fall and businesses decorate tables as part of the festivities. This has become a personal challenge for me to come up with something more fantastic and elaborate every year. Yesterday was the banquet and I spent a good amount of time getting our table ready. I have many people to thank for their help in pulling it all together. This is what the finished product looked like:

I’ve also been plotting and planning some fun for this blog.

As some of you may recall, I like to have fun with the 25 Days of Christmas here  as we count down to the big holiday.

Each day you’ll find posts with entertaining tips, decorating ideas, shortcuts, helpful hints and, of course, recipes!

Today’s helpful hint is about getting organized!

Here is an easy game plan designed to help keep you on track, cut down on stress and get you through the holidays with a little more order and a little less fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants.
Start by looking at your calendar, organizer or day planner. Pull out all those post-it notes with dates and appointments scribbled on them and start entering them into your calendar. The idea is to get everything into one calendar so you can see at a glance what days you have appointments and commitments and what days you have open.
Think about everything coming up in the next month like church programs, rehearsals, the kids’ school concerts, any parties or gatherings you will be attending, any doctor appointments, hair appointments, manicures and pedicures (if you are so lucky!), and so on. Get all those dates entered into your calendar.
Now, make a list of all the things you want to accomplish before Christmas. Are you planning to send out holiday cards? Will you be doing holiday baking? Hosting a party? Making ornaments? Having the best outdoor light display on your block?
Write down everything you would like to do this holiday season.
Once your list is complete, compare it to your calendar. What dates are open? You will probably find that your want-to-do list is far longer than the dates you have available.
Be realistic.
This is a very important step to maintaining your sanity and some level of fun through the holidays. Set realistic expectations and stick to them. The holiday season, no matter how hard you wish for it, will not magically bestow you with super-hero powers that enable you to accomplish the impossible or miraculously stretch time so you can add an extra three hours of activities into each day.
What can you cut out or cut down? Instead of baking yourself silly for two days straight, why not invite over a few friends for an afternoon, bake together, share the spoils, and be happy with your accomplishments. Do you really need to make 14 different kinds of Christmas cookies?
What can you delegate? Your spouse and kids can certainly put up outdoor lights. The kids can make ornaments. Your spouse can handle a few extra responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to spread around the chores. You don’t have to do it all yourself. Really!
Take another look at that want-to-do list. Circle the top five things you absolutely want to happen and choose dates to enter them on your calendar. Look at the rest of your list and decide what other things could be delegated or could be optional. And when I say optional, I mean that if they happen, that is great, but if they don’t you will not allow yourself to stress or fuss because they didn’t. That is why they are optional. Get it? Great!
And please remember, at the center of all the holiday hub-bub, no one cares if your house is perfectly decorated, if your cookies came from the store or your holiday greetings weren’t the first out this year. You’ll find what your family and friends really care about is the relationships, spending time enjoying one another and sharing from the heart.
If you focus on that, I guarantee you’ll have a very Happy Holiday season.
Quick Tip: Choose one day on your calendar between now and Christmas that is just for you. That’s right! A day just for you. Whether you spend it getting a massage, reading a good book by the fire, or at the spa with a friend (oh, sign me up for that one!), carve out one day for you to rest and recharge. You’ll be glad you did and so will your family. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to tackle all the jolly holiday fun you can handle.

Check back often so you don’t miss out on anything exciting!

She Who is Almost Ready for the Holiday Season to Begin

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