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5 Tips for Simplifying Your Holidays

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I've missed Talk To Me Tuesdays where we are inspired by fabulous bloggers who share their wealth of knowledge and experience. Today we're talking to Debbie who is a Professional Organizing Coach on how to slow down and enjoy this holiday season. This following is in her words:

5 Tips for Simplifying Your Holidays

Kids and Christmas almost certainly equal chaos. Even with the best of intentions, things can get out of control. Throw in a few pets, in-laws, and last minute shopping trips, and it’s safe to say that for most of us, by the time December 25th arrives, we’re stressed, tense, and not all that organized. This year, start your New Year’s resolutions a month earlier and commit yourself to having a simplified holiday.

Tip #1: Take a Moment to Plan

Use a binder to create a Holiday Planner. Include sections for "Greeting Card List," "Gift List (don’t forget teachers, mail person, etc.), "Recipes" (for favorite holiday dishes), and "Guest Lists" (for your own parties). I know this seems like adding more time-consuming chores to your already hectic schedule, but getting your plans down on paper will really help you organize your thoughts. And it will eventually save you time by preventing last minute trips for forgotten ingredients, supplies, and gifts. Plus, next year, you’ll have a jump start on the holiday season by relying on your notes and lists from this year.

Tip #2: Shift Your Focus

Capture the real meaning of the holidays: donate canned goods to a food bank, volunteer at a local soup kitchen, donate an old coat to a homeless shelter, count your own blessings, or just smile at a stranger. And make sure your kids take part, too. This isn’t an organizing tip, but by taking the focus off of yourself and your busy schedule you can better focus on the reasons for the season. And this perspective will make it easier to slow down and de-stress about all you have to do.

Tip #3: Involve Your Guests

When planning parties and extended family meals, ask your guests to bring something (don’t forgot to keep a menu planner of who is bringing what). Most guests are more than happy to contribute a covered dish or a bottle of wine. You don’t have to be the “Super-do-it-all Hostess.” Let others help you out so you can enjoy the festivities, too.

Tip #4: Keep the Kids Busy During Your Gatherings

Give the kids age-appropriate duties: collecting coats, passing out appetizers, picking up wrapping paper from opened presents, taking pictures or video recordings (if they are old enough). It gives them something to focus on, keeps them out of trouble (hopefully!) and helps lighten your duties.

Tip #5: Slow down and lower your expectations.

Too many times we try to live up to the holiday hoopla of a perfect Hollywood/Norman Rockwell ideal, and as a result we take on way too much. Take a look at your to-do list, prioritize your tasks and obligations, and remove three things from the bottom of your list (these items are on the bottom for a reason, so don’t feel guilty, just cross them off!)

So, my challenge to you is that you let go of creating a “perfect” holiday and instead aim for simplified. Come January you want to have fond memories of the holidays, not be glad they are over.

Visit my post “What’s on your holiday calendar?” and share what you’re NOT going to do to this holiday season.

Simply yours,
© 2008 Debbie Jordan Kravitz


P.S. Don't forget to buy from women this holiday season during our Mom-preneur Shop-a-thon! Let's support each other.