Celebrators of Christmas: if you find yourself without gifts, without decorations, without an idea of what to serve at the holiday dinner, without a plan, and a bit (maybe a lot) stressed out, take a minute to read this.
Take a deep breath and ponder these things.
· There still is some time, but not a lot of time, before Christmas.
· Adjust the scope of your plans to fit the time that you have.
· Write everything down so you don’t add on the stress of trying to remember things.
Write down the people you need gifts for. Think about how much money you have to spend – you will thank yourself in January for following a budget. You can use the Clear Spaces Gift Tracker – it’s free to download: http://www.scribd.com/doc/191171891/Gift-Tracker. Highlight the people you will see in the next few days. You may want to focus on picking up their gifts first. Online stores might be the quickest solution for getting gifts to out-of-town friends and family because many of these stores will ship directly to them. Hit the physical stores first. Do the online shopping in the evening with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.
By the way if you’re stumped about what to give someone, you can 1) ask what they’d enjoy or 2) Google it with a descriptive phrase about the person. I Googled “gifts hipster young man” and was very happy with the ideas that were provided.
A speedy way to wrap is to use gift bags and tissue paper. Check your supply before adding them – and tags – to your shopping list.
Make it simple: an entrée, a couple of veggies, some rolls, and a desert. Write down what you will serve and the list of ingredients needed to fix dinner. Don’t forget to check the pantry to see if you need to restock. Pick up the rolls and the desert from a bakery. You can download the Clear Spaces Holiday Dinner Tips for free: http://www.scribd.com/doc/178772672/Tips-For-An-Organized-Life-Planning-the-Holiday-Dinner-pdf.
Another idea: order dinner to be picked up. More and more grocery stores provide this service. The joy of the holiday dinner is everyone eating together, and not in how you stressed out to put dinner on the table (stress is hardly enjoyable). The time you save preparing dinner can be spent doing something enjoyable. Remember to pick up your favorite adult beverages – and check the milk while you’re at it.
There is no time for a deep clean. What you need is an emergency declutter and tidy. I wrote a post on this very subject for the Working Women’s Survival Show: http://wwssblog.com/seminars/emergency-declutter-and-tidy/.
Use just a couple of focal-point decorations. Many people spend hours decorating the tree. You don’t have hours. Consider a tree with just lights and a star on top. Alternatively, if your children are old enough, delegate the job of decorating the tree to them. Twinkling lights by themselves are festive. Put lots of candles on the dining room table and you have a centerpiece. If you need a tree or candles, add them to your shopping list. A scented candle or some potpourri will add to the holiday flair.
Pick them up from your favorite bakery or grocery store. Aldi’s has some great holiday cookies that are very reasonably priced.
You have a couple of choices:
· Call your friends and family over the next week and forget the cards. Skype, iChat and Google Hangout turn the call into a personal visit.
· Send New Year’s cards and work on the cards in the next week, but please take a look at your calendar to ensure that you have time to follow through with this option.
Personally, I’m not a fan of e-cards. Hackers spoof e-cards frequently so I just delete them without opening them. A lot of spam blockers trap them. If you send an e-card, the odds are good your friends and family will never see it.
· Limit the scope of what you do.
· Write down what you need to buy.
· Write down where you need to buy it – can you arrange your stops as a route?
· Write the route down.
· Postpone some tasks until after Christmas.
· Drop and/or delegate tasks.
The last item on the list is to enjoy this time. Get some sleep. Listen to music. Listen to the children laugh. Sing. Breathe deeply. Rather than focusing on what wasn’t done, focus on being together and having fun. Where you put your focus is where your riches lie.