Holidays: Blissfully Busy or Painfully Packed?!

Happy Homemade Holiday!

There’s something to be said about the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But there is a fine line between this time being “blissfully busy” and “painfully packed.” Personally, I’m looking forward to a blissfully busy time this year. However, I can’t say that I’ve always felt that way! So, what changed? Well, the answer is three things really.

1. I’ve realized the power of saying “no”

This amazing little word is a huge helper… especially around the holidays. I always thought that I had to volunteer for everything, host every party, and attend every event. But now, I’ve decided what is MOST important to me, set aside time for it on my calendar, and said NO to everything else!

I’m not saying turn into “Scrooge.” However, I realized it’s much more important to do less and enjoy it more than to try to do it all and miss out on the joy that the activity was supposed to bring. It’s not always easy to say “no” at first… but once you start feeling the difference it makes, it will become much easier. You’ll soon see that this “negative word” can be a positive thing!

2. I plan and prepare much further in advance

Up until 2008 I was a last minute holiday shopper. Somehow each Christmas Eve would arrive and I’d still have half (or more) of my shopping list to complete! I’d send cards… but they’d arrive after Christmas (oops). I would plan a party, but not make the menu until the day I was going to the grocery store! Talk about stressful… no wonder I dreaded the “painfully packed” holiday season!

Then I stumbled upon the most wonderful plan that has changed how I handle EVERYTHING pertaining to the holidays! It’s the Frazzle Free Christmas guide from Families With Purpose. I’ve always been so organized about everything else, but somehow I’d missed out on making a plan when it came to the holidays! Well, this is no longer a problem now that I follow the Frazzle Free Christmas.  (I’m so thankful to Polly Schlafhauser for creating and sharing it!)

It’s amazing what a difference I felt having all of my holiday “to-do’s” laid out for me. This guide (choose from 8, 6 ,or a 4 week guide) tells me when to start my lists, write-out cards, prepare my menus, and when to start shopping! I actually look forward to this season now that I’m “armed” with the Frazzle Free Christmas (I put the start date on my calendar and grow excited as it gets near)! I’m sure other plans exist on-line… but this has been working like a charm, and as long as it works so nicely I’ll continue using (and loving) it.

3. I’ve adjusted my attitude

Each October I would start to feel the holidays lurking around the corner. Anxiety would set in as I realized ALL of the things that were about to be added to my already crowded to-do list! I would turn “grinch” in an instant and that’s how my attitude would stay as I huffed and puffed and procrastinated my way through the holidays.

Then I decided enough is enough! This is a special time and I was letting silly things get in my way (and stress me out), preventing me from enjoying the meaning of Christmas (and Thanksgiving). I changed the way I looked at the holiday preparations… I made them “want to-do’s” instead of “have to-do’s.” Once I followed steps 1 and 2 above, I simply decided to enjoy everything that I CHOSE to include on my to-do list and calendar.

I made the little things fun… for example instead of buying pre-made invitations for our holiday party I thought it would be fun to make them. This became a mama/son craft project of painting, stenciling, and stamping. It took more time, but we put love into each invitation and enjoyed making them together.

I also started thinking less about the “stuff” that we could give to family and friends, and focused on giving memories. What was once a list of knick-knacks and home-goods has now become gift cards for family outings and fun experiences to be shared together.

These 3 easy things have Simplified my holidays and I hope that they’ll do the same for yours!

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