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5 ways to make your HOLIDAYS HAPPY

November 22, 2010

photo courtesy of jurvetson

If you’re like me, you can feel the excitement and anticipation of what’s about to arrive… along with that added stress that’s trying it’s best to accompany the holiday season.  DO (don’t just read – grab a pen and paper and make a plan!) these 5 things to welcome the holidays – while turning your back on that stress:

1.  VISUALIZE

Find a few quiet minutes and think:  What do I want the holidays to be? {Not just for your family  – but for YOU!} Using “surround yourself with what you love” {last blog series} write down what you want to both experience and avoid.

This is what I’d love {and not love}:

LOVE:  experiencing and being the true meaning {cliche sounding, but true-and doable… if you need some ideas, let me know & I’ll send some to you – from an Advent workshop I attended} + calm AND happy times with loved ones + singing Christmas carols with my kids {they actually think I have a beautiful voice – which I so don’t! –  it’s my rock star moment} + favorite traditions {from yummy foods (she-crab soup on Christmas Eve & chocolate peanut butter balls) to the arrival of our Elf on the Shelf (if my boys don’t spend too much time pondering why identical elves are lined up in every store) + reading The Night Before Christmas + pulling out decorations and Christmas music + wrapping gifts + finding great {not necessarily “perfect”} gifts + that magical feeling I still get when I wake up Christmas morning + PEACE.

DON’T LOVE:  rushing around + overbooked schedules + paying for express shipping OR seeing “out of stock” when I go to buy something {because I waited too long} + attending my children’s Christmas programs and thinking “I really need to be using this hour getting stuff done” instead of being in the moment + spending too much money + not having any downtime + being amidst that “hustle and bustle” at a mall {know this goes in the “LOVE” category for some : ) + looking forward to the holidays being over

WHAT TO DO WITH THIS? Do your best to add your holiday “loves” into your calendar or to-do list. {This is EQUALLY important if what you love is a bit of nothing! Make sure to block out that quiet time.}  For the things on your “don’t love” list, see #2:

2. STREAMLINE

I still tend to pack too much into my suitcase {which I’m perfectly okay with}.  But when it comes to packing my schedule {including to-do’s}, I really do try to streamline as much as I can. This quote from a wellness program I’m involved in that beautifully sums it up:

“The most important perspective to keep is one of ‘crowding it out.’ Crowd out the draining tasks with uplifting choices. Crowd out the mediocre tasking junk food with excellent tasting indulgences. Crowd out the frenzy by prioritizing what you will do and bringing calm and joy to those experiences.”

Lisa Byrne

www.WellGroundedLife.com

from Roadmap to a Happy, Healthy, Meaningful Holiday Season

(click here for more info on this wonderful program)

3.  BUDGET

Establish your budget FIRST.  Then, make your list of who you’ll be buying for. After you know these two things, then determine how to allocate your $. I do an Excel spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • For (recipient’s name)
  • Gift Purchased (or gift idea)
  • Budget*
  • Actual*

* I made it to where these two columns calculate the total budgeted / spent at bottom. It’ll calculate as you plug in different amounts and you can keep adjusting until you have the #’s where they need to be.  BTW, this list is great to refer back to in years to come. {My husband will probably be amused that I’m giving budgeting advice but I’m very proud to say that this is what I did last year and it worked beautifully UNDERbudget!}

4.  ORGANIZE

As you know, I’ve fallen in love with order. It’ll not only keep you sane, but help you truly enjoy the season. One tip: Make a holiday organizer: This is what I use:  a pocket file holder {found one at Target for like $2.50} with the following tabs:

  • Ideas {such as tear-outs from magazines}
  • Cards {our holiday card mailing list + extra stamps + few extra cards + my writing pen}
  • Receipts {all receipts from holiday / gift items purchased}
  • List {my gift list: I just print out the spreadsheet, see #3 above}

5.  TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELF

Drink lots of water, ensure downtime is on your schedule, breathe, spend time with some of your favorite people, get in some exercise {even if it’s 5 minutes here, 10 there}, throw in some healthy meals / snacks… And finally:

Keep all “things to do” {including those you’re keeping in your head} written in ONE PLACE!  Place with this holiday plan and regroup every few days.  {This tip falls under the “organize” category but it’s also one of the best ways you can take care of yourself. More order is HUGE for your well-being. And something else that’s big:  letting go…

Abandon Guilt. You are supposed to enjoy, indulge, delight, relax, and pamper during this time. In order to have a healthy and peaceful holiday season you will need to say no, say yes, establish priorities, get things done and leave things left undone. It is all okay. A moment in guilt is a moment wasted.

Lisa Byrne, Well Grounded Life

Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some favorite recipes {fabulous for entertaining over the holidays}; some easy + beautiful decorations for your home + favorite gift ideas + more!

In closing, I just wanted to say that I am thankful for each of you and hope you are surrounded by what you love during the holiday season – and beyond!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and again, thank you for reading!

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