We all start off with the best intentions for the holiday season. We have a vision in our minds of these beautifully perfect and memorable celebrations but then we are slapped with cold, hard reality...which is anything but those lovely images. Instead of cuddling up with cocoa and the Hallmark channel, we end up playing a real-life version of Black Friday Fortnite. We aren't enjoying the process of lovingly wrapping gifts, we are frantically trying to locate our scissors and tape in the endless sea of paper, ribbon and bows surrounding us and covering every square inch of our table. It doesn't have to be this way. Pause. Listen. Let me say it again. It. Doesn't. Have. To. Be. This. Way.
I'm going to share some simple steps you can take and give you a free downloadable template that will walk you through creating the holidays of your dreams. If you give yourself the gift of a few minutes of planning now, I know you can cut through that glitter-tinsel facade and drill down to the heart of what really matters to you. When you can get to that, you can recreate your holidays and make them what you truly want them to be.
Define your ideal holiday season and write it down - You must get this out of your head and onto paper (or the downloadable planner) so you can see it and refer to it to help you stay on track. It's too easy to fall into the trap of the habits that sabotage your time and create the stress and chaos instead of guide you closer to that vision you have of what you want the holidays to be for you.
Align your budget and activities with that vision - Now that you have the vision, it's time to start making some decisions while you keep that vision in mind. What is your budget? What decorations do you want to have? (check out this post for more help with this) Do you like baking or no? Do you want to send cards? Digital or paper? What events do you have or are you usually invited to? By taking the time to carefully evaluate each one of these things, you can start to create the framework for how you want to spend your time. When you do this step, you figure out what brings you joy and what you do out of some sense of obligation.
Plan it out - What things can you start early? What has to happen right before the holidays and can't be done ahead of time? Take the framework created in step #2, and break out those projects into baby steps. Take those baby steps and make a "date" with yourself to do that step. Stick to that commitment just like you would a commitment you made with someone else. In fact, write that "date" on your calendar (or the downloadable planner). Keep in mind that colder climates can decorate outdoors with fresh decor earlier so depending on where you live you may need to plan accordingly.
Simplify where you can - Do you need to make all 25 cookie varieties when there are really only 1-2 favorites that everyone likes? Don't be afraid to stray from self-imposed expectations. This even includes decorating. Use white lights that will work for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years celebrations. Instead of Halloween jack-o-lanterns, use nondescript pumpkins (white pumpkins are ideal) that will work for Halloween and can be incorporated into November and December by adding some fresh greenery into the display. Where can you combine decorations and use them for more than one holiday? Pine cones, for example, work very well for this...decorate fall and winter with them.
If you didn't download your planner using the link above, you can do so using this button. An email will be sent with the link to download the planner once you have entered your information.
Remember, this vision is YOUR vision. Everyone will have a different one and that is okay. The goal with Christmas in July planning is to tap into yourself early, before you are caught up in the chaos. Give yourself this time to think about what is important and then with that in mind plan your priorities first. The rest will happen (or it won't) but really, is that such a bad thing? Let go of the unnecessary and embrace the rest.