I love, love, love this time of year, but I often find that my calendar gets jammed packed with so many things. Most of these things are very important, but they all require time and energy and extra planning on our end. While I don't have it all put together, allow me to share some tips for avoiding holiday madness:
1. Plan ahead. Seriously, it's that easy. If you don't have a centralized family calendar--RUN to your nearest location and pick up one for next year. In the meantime, you can easily make your own on your computer to print out, or use that handy dandy function on your cell phone. I have a Google calendar that sends my events to my phone every day so I know what's ahead.
2. Not only do I plan ahead with dates, I plan ahead with tasks to complete before the date so I'm not going insane on the day of the event. I not only put in my events on my Google calendar--but I remind myself to with to-do tasks. For example, in a few weeks we're hosting friends for dinner. I know that I have an event or obligation planned every single night that week so I need to make many things ahead of time. I make sure that simple (and unfortunately ungreen, Laura!) things like obtaining pretty disposable plates and cups will make my life and cleanup a lot easier.
3. Decorate early. I know, I know, I know some of you think I'm insane when I start decorating in November. BUT, when I look at my holiday calendar, I know that the small amount of time off work at Thanksgiving is NOT when I want to be busy in and out of my attic and tearing my house all to pieces. I want a pretty house AND time with my family for the holidays. By decorating earlier I am not stressed, I can enjoy the season, and I'm surrounded by festivity.
4. Try to remember the reason why you are doing these things--are they essential? For me, yes, they are essential and wonderful memories. I feel that things like holiday programs at church (and at work for me) and hosting friends and family for meals and overnight are part of what makes the holiday season special. Yes, they are absolutely crazy and time consuming, but they are such a warm reminder of things that are important in our world.
5. Say "no" to things that make you insane. Can't do every party? Can't cook for every event? Don't want to buy for Secret Santa. Then don't. Just say no to things that make you want to cry or overwhelm you. There is no need for unnecessary craziness folks, absolutely no need.