Friday, December 11, 2009

During the Christmas Season

Are you remembering to slow down and enjoy Christmas this year? Is your calendar so full that you want to scream and pull your hair out? Are you coming down the home-stretch of the semester, busy writing papers, giving speeches and taking exams, all the while wondering how you're going to get it all done? I did some thinking over the last several weeks and have found some ways to eliminate some extra stress from my life right now.

Remember my "Monster Projects" that I've been working on little by little the past month? Well, I still haven't gotten around to finishing the one I mention at the end of this post. I haven't given up on my projects, but I did some rational "I can't do everything all at once" thinking, and realized that I have other things I need (or want) to have accomplished by a real, honest-to-goodness deadline. Things like shopping, creating, and wrapping Christmas gifts.

Other ways that I'm making sure I have time to enjoy Christmas this year are:

Saying "no." Really. No offense to anyone, but "no." I decided that I did not want to spend the month of December running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. So I thought about what social activities we were likely to be invited to, decided which ones we really did want to attend, and said "ok, that's it." While there is not a social event on every single day of the month, we have deemed our calendar already full to anything else that comes down the pike. It is a big relief just knowing that all the blank days on the calendar really are blank, that there won't be any last minute parties, functions or commitments - because our schedule is already "full". All of those "empty" days I can fill with getting ready for celebrating Christmas.

Shopping online. Amazon, Ebay, and other stores with websites have allowed me to do some of my Christmas shopping without leaving my house. That means if I want to "go shopping" in my bathrobe, slippers and unbrushed hair, I can. And the gifts will be delivered right to my doorstep, where I can even reach out (still in my bathrobe, slippers and unbrushed hair if I want) and bring it inside without having to brave traffic or other crazy shoppers.

One bite at a time. There have been years when Daniel and I have done all our Christmas shopping over the course of one or two evenings. It works, and it gets it done, but I don't think it's as fun. I like to pick up gifts here and there as I'm out and about anyway. Doing it this way, I don't "waste" a whole day's time and get nothing else done, and I'm not brain-fried when I get home.

Make a list and check it twice. It was a little bit intimidating, but a couple nights ago I wrote out a list of what all I need to do, and when I need to have it done by. Since we have "Christmas" three times this year (not counting Christmas Day here with just the two of us), I don't have to have all my gifts wrapped by one certain day. I usually enjoy wrapping gifts, but I don't like doing it at 1am the morning of the day they're just going to get unwrapped. If all your gifts are needed for the same day, you could divide it up if you wanted to, and wrap x-number of gifts each day until you get it done, allowing you time to put the special touches on each one that you want to but never have time to.

These are just some ideas that I've thought about and wanted to share. I know we all have different schedules, lives and lifestyles. If these don't match up with what will work for you, perhaps I've inspired you to find some ways that you can relieve some of the stress and have an enjoyable Christmas Season :) I would love to hear some of the ways you slow down and enjoy this beautiful time.


Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

My way of slowing down to enjoy Christmas has been limiting my decorating to the almost life size camel & donkey that are on the dining room table waiting for their finishing touches!!

Cate said... [Reply to comment]

Great ideas--we do a lot of the same stuff. Saying "no," shopping online, wrapping gifts as we go along. We also try not to go overboard with decorating. I really enjoy decorating for Christmas and how the house looks afterward, but I have no interest in decorating all the way up to December 24th like I know some people do. We get all our decorations up the day after Thanksgiving, and then we're free to enjoy the holidays without worrying about it.

Sally said... [Reply to comment]

Ahhh...sounds like wisdom has even preceded the birth of your baby! It was AFTER Paul was born that I deemed online shopping for gifts a necessity and ceased store shopping. I am even willing to "soak up" the shipping cost sometimes when I know it is simply my tied-to-children life that is keeping me from popping into a store where I could get it sometime when I'm in town anyway.

Ways I manage to enjoy Christmas? Well, let's say I'm not real great at that. I have a lot to learn. This year is better since I am not working my eyes out on a video project, and because of the age of my children. Right now, having deadlines to get stuff done, making myself stay up late to get my gift-making done NOW before the last minute, and NOT COOKING until I reach a certain point in my progress (that means eating leftovers out of the freezer---I don't know what to tell you if you don't have any leftovers in the freezer, but just start digging and if you're like me, you'll find ones you didn't remember you had!). And, also, I have decided that I am not planning to attend anything other than family get-togethers and stuff with our church. Sibling Christmas programs I am dropping from the schedule. Not because I want to, but because I have made sure to attend in years past, and have had a run-ragged month. I don't want that any more. So, if some Sunday evening that we don't have church (which is only one before Christmas) I want to go somewhere and there's a sibling program on, I'll go. Otherwise, if I feel like staying home, I won't go anywhere!

So, there's my not-very-advanced list of stress management techniques for the holidays.

Anonymous said... [Reply to comment]

huh... love this thoughts :))