by Kathy Gates
Do you know that some people actually relish the
hustle and bustle, the crowded parking lots, and the
singing Santas that comes with the holiday season?
But even if you're not one of them, you can have a
hassle-free holiday. Try these simple steps to put you
in the mood for a happy, healthy, easier holiday
Make A Detailed Plan:
1. Buy a spiral notebook that will be used for your
Holiday Planning Guide. (I keep mine from year to
year, stored with my wrapping, so that I can
remember what I gave who the year before, correct
2. Prepare a separate page for individual lists of
things you need to do (travel plans, gift list, card list,
special dinner list, special clothing list, decorations
list - whatever applies to your holiday style). Under
each heading, write the specifics -- people and gift
ideas, dinner menu and ingredients, travel itinerary.
If several of these things go together, I tend to put
them all on one page. For example, "Party at
Judy's-Dec 2", would include the outfit I want to
buy, the food I'm preparing, and the gift I'm taking.
3. On each page, put the approximate amount of time
you think it will take you to accomplish each of your
lists - shopping for gifts, writing cards, wrapping,
setting up the tree, cleaning the house for guests, etc.
- then DOUBLE IT! And schedule it.
Avoid Distractions (or at least prepare for them):
1. Watch out for clutter at this time of year. With the
extra decorations in place, ordinary clutter can be a
real distraction. Get those extra magazines, books,
and "stuff" into some boxes and shove it under the
bed or into the garage for the holidays. After the
holidays you just might decide you like the cleaner
feeling and decide to garage sale some of it.
2. Forgo window shopping for more targeted
shopping. Do some initial looking and planning from
catalogues and the internet, so that when you have the
time to be in the stores, it will be productive time.
3. Be aware of your personal habits that tend to
distract you. Have a plan to head them off. What
usually slows you down - lack of money? lack of
time? lack of energy? Actively look for ways to head
this off. If there's no extra money at the beginning of
November, it's not likely to materialize the day before
Don't Procrastinate! First Things First:
1. Put your energy where it counts. Need to ship gifts?
Buy those first. If you have a party on
Nov 22, and another one on Dec 5, be sure to put your
energy into Nov 22 first.
2. Schedule specific times to shop, clean, pack, etc.
Stick to the plan. If you're a natural procrastinator,
this is the hard part. Write it down in big letters, post
it on the door, on the refrigerator, in the car. Set
yourself up to shop, clean, pack, at certain times, and
keep the reminders in front of you at all time.
3. Pick up a few items for your holiday meal each
week, instead of doing it all at once. Canned goods,
spices, etc. are easy to buy even a month before the
dinner. Put them all together on a specific shelf so
you can easily see what's still missing.
4. Do a little each day. Write out three things
(example: buy Christmas Cards, get out decorations,
order Bob's gift from JCPenney's) you would like to
take care of each day between now and Christmas,
and do them BEFORE LUNCH each day..
1. Take time for yourself - just 20 minutes a day will
do - to recharge, refresh, and rejoin the holiday spirit.
2. Listen to happy, silly holiday songs, not the sadder
3. Count your blessings, however small.
4. Make it a priority to schedule in what you consider
the *fun* part of the holiday whether that's throwing
a party, or a quiet night with your special someone, or
going out to look at holiday lights. It's only once a
year - enjoy it!
Professional Life Coach Kathy Gates helps people
who are burned out, stressed out, and fed up to get
back in touch with the foundations of their life.