Thursday, December 9, 2010

Getting It All Done

With all that "needs" to get done this time of year - clean the house, decorate, shop, entertain, wrap presents, attend school/church functions - it's a wonder more people don't go into system overload and simply cancel the month of December! But that is not possible nor truly desired. By prioritizing what actually matters to you and your family this season, December can get back to being a rather blissful month.
Planning does alleviate the stress of a month that is typically packed with fun events, obligations and extra chores. If you are a procrastinator or a bit unorganized, there is still hope! By making a quick list of things that are vital to you and yours to enjoy you are on the right track to conquering the stress that can accompany this festive season. If you are hosting this year but do not enjoy cooking, call everyone who is attending and assign them a dish to bring. This takes the onus off of you to create the entire spread and the guests have the option of making their requested course or going to the grocer's to pick it up pre-made. You, too, could go to the grocer's and order a turkey or ham dinner and all of the trimmings to serve to your guests. Simply pick the meal up the day before the holiday and your work, sans heating up, is complete! This is a costlier option, but your time and sanity is worth the extra bit of money you'd end up spending.
Is decorating the evergreen in your home putting you in a bad mood? Quickly call in the friends and family you actually adore and invite them over for pizza and beer, your treat, as long as they promise not to leave until your boughs are decked. Have the lights and boxes out and ready to go and you get lost in the kitchen putting pizza on paper plates and pouring beers into pilsners while they get frustrated with the lights that don't all work and the ornament that refuses to hang properly. Before they leave your tree should be complete and all you have to do is take out the trash and recyclables and stow the Christmas tree boxes for the end of the month... when you'll invite a crew of different friends and family to disassemble this masterpiece while you order Chinese take-out!
Hate to shop but have a list longer than Santa's? Decide on one gift that everyone on the list could enjoy - flashlight, food, game, book - and buy it in multiples. If the store offers gift-wrapping and you detest that chore, pay the extra amount and you are not only finished shopping, but your gifts are beautifully presented as well. If you still have a ton to buy, refer to my "gift" blogs, including this week's "stocking stuffer" guide. At least you aren't going to the stores empty-handed!
Are you sifting through five invitations for the same Saturday night in December? And Sunday there are six more? Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Open them again and be ruthless. Which events are the ones you selfishly want to attend? For the rest, pick up the phone or whip off an email stating you cannot make it but thank you for thinking of you. If it is an "obligatory" event - office party, school concert, church function - consider going as you'll probably truly enjoy yourself and be glad you went. But, if you are putting your foot down, just bow out gracefully, even if it entails a lie, "my child (parent, I) is sick and I cannot take him/her out right now" Yes, it is awful to lie, but, let's face it, this is December, kids are often sick and get sick at the last moment. This one is okay... according to me, anyway.
December and Christmas ought to be filled with people and events you want in your life. As a whole, we get too involved with things that are not contingent to our happiness. Sometimes "getting it all done" is impossible. Getting what you want to and need to get done becomes tolerable when you decide with your family what will make December and Christmas memorable and fun.


  1. Reading these blogs I am beginning to enjoy Christmas like never before :-)

    Top tips Chief :-)

  2. I hope that is sincere, Art, as that is part of the goal!!! Thank you ;-)

  3. Wait. You mean you want me to let go of my control and let OTHER PEOPLE decorate MY tree?!?! I would let them help sort and hook 'em but physically letting them put the ornaments on the tree is going a little too far for this control freak. ;)
    Which reminds me, I need to get going on the "Kid's Tree"... :D

    Luckily for us the only obligations we have at Christmas time is making sure our kids (just Rebekah this year) get to blocking rehearsal, tech rehearsal, dress rehearsal and performance for the children's program at church.

    My lack of organization is making my Christmas Cake and getting things mailed on time. AUGH!

  4. No no no, Jules. I wasn't implying or stating YOU should let go of the control, only people who hate the task at hand, whatever it is. No worries, your control freak habits are safe with me :-)