Here it is November and already shops have filled with holiday items and décor! Is it too early to plan for the holidays? No! Now is the time to start your holidays off right. With just a little bit of organizing, your holiday will be a joyful relaxed celebration.
What makes your holiday special? What family rituals does your family hold dear? The biggest challenge of the holiday season is using our time as a cherished commodity. Consider doing a family holiday calendar to define what is most important to your family. Purchase a calendar with large squares on it, make a list with your family of their favorite things to do together during the season, and write one in on each date.
From this family calendar, make a list of your holidays needs and resources. Do you need holiday treats for specific days? Are you hosting several get-togethers during November and December? By using the same menu for several gatherings you can take this task in stride. Cook early and freeze as much as you can, making lists and shopping early. Remember that you can purchase pies and other specialty items more easily at this time of year, and give yourself the “gift” of time with a purchased product.
Want to eliminate the stress of holiday shopping? Establish a plan for your holiday shopping and break the job down into manageable pieces. Before heading to the mall, prepare a list of those persons you would like to buy a gift for and what you would like to give. Think of giving the same gift to multiple people. Planning ahead of time will prevent many wasted hours roaming from store to store as well as impulse buying. Most importantly start early. Create a gift bin for gift purchases from throughout the year when you can take advantage of sales and unique items for family members.
Decorating your home can be time consuming, taxing and hectic. Create a family tradition of tree “trimming” and decorating your home at the beginning of the season as a family ritual. As an alternative to watching television on Thanksgiving, you can begin your home decorating. You will enjoy spending time with your family throughout the day as an additional activity and an alternative to football!
Are you overwhelmed and uninspired with gift wrapping? Do you have grandma’s gifts, sister’s gifts or gifts to ship, use the same wrapping paper for one entire family's gifts, and a distinctively different one for the "other side" of the family. This will help you distinguish the gifts easily when packing them up for travel, or pulling them out from under the tree. Enlist family members to wrap each other’s gifts or have a family wrapping party!
Above all, remember to keep your holidays simple. The simplicity of the season adds to the significance behind it. This is the time to instill the aspect of the season of sharing. Have your children share their blessings by making decisions about clothes and toys and then donating to others. Take care not to over fill your family’s calendar by being sure to have time for rest and down time, time spent at home together, time to enjoying the season and each other. Your family will remember the true meaning of the holiday season and you will too.
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