Planning for the Holidays
As we are now into November, we have a few major holidays coming soon! It is easy to become very overwhelmed when it comes to planning and preparing. I find it easy to plan and break it down into bite-size pieces. This helps financially too, as our budgets can’t always handle so much at once. When we were younger, with children and in college, I had to start making notes and plan out all I needed to do several months ahead. It helped very much!
Our family for many years has traded Christmas ornaments purchased from the White House Historical Association. It is very fun as we have around 20 years worth of ornaments now! So instead of waiting until the very last minute, I partner with other family members just how many we will order.
For me, lists are key! I do my best to make lists, create categories and stick to the plan as much as possible! This helps so much!
1. Out With the Old, In With the New
Usually, from October through December, we have several occasions for which we quickly go from one thing to another. There are pretty changing leaves, then Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas then New Years. It is easy to forget about one holiday and concentrate on others instead. Some of us end up putting out too much and don’t put away decor from the other season/holiday. This ends up creating too much around our home. Too many themes end up causing inconsistencies. We should decide when we will start and end decorating for each holiday. For example, many people wait until the day after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas. I think this is great as we don’t forget to concentrate on being thankful for what we have before we dive into so much that happens specifically at Christmas. There is so much available to buy to decorate, then to give.
2. Deck The Halls
I love decorating! I have so much that I have collected over the years. Pulling out too much though can cause too much clutter. I find that it is good to concentrate on themes. I love snowmen, deer, lots of green and I love snow globes too. And then there are the special Christmas-patterned dishes, figurines and “fixin’s” that I love too. I just have to be careful that I don’t overdo and try too hard to put everything out. What theme will you use this year?
3. You Are Invited…
I usually start planning in October for what I will do for each holiday. Sometimes plans change. It can be for good or bad reasons at times. Planning who I invite and for what occasion helps me plan everything else around it. I can then wait for a response. This helps me plan what food, for how many and for how long. Who is on your holiday list?
4. Favorite Family Food
Each holiday season, I make our family favorites! These are traditional dishes that I remember and have fond memories of having each year. Many of them have special thoughts and stories of family we have shared them with in the past. Some of our family favorites are Sweet Potato Souflee, Corn Pudding, Ham, Turkey, Pecan Pie, Dump Cake. If anyone would like a recipe, please let me know and I will be happy to post a recipe. Share in the comments what your favorites are that you plan to make this year.
5. Thinking of You
Each year, if we are going to send out greeting cards, we should find one that we love, write out a list of recipients and send them out 3-4 weeks in advance of the holiday so that friends and family can receive them between the holidays enough to enjoy them. Many people are using picture cards as their annual cards to go out each year. This is a great idea! Recipients can see how you look and your family has grown each year. I enjoy getting one of these each year from many of my siblings.
6. The Thought Counts
Giving is special but we often lose track of what is most important. When we have children, we want to give them so much and allow them to have a great experience each year. It is very important each year though that we teach our children that we need to teach them that it is most important to think of others, not ourselves and what we get!
We need to think of the real reason for these holidays by remembering what we were given by God sending His own Son to be born, die and rise again so that we can have a personal relationship with Him!
It is good to set a spending limit, stick to our budget as we have other things to buy besides gifts. We should also think about what we should give to God first, helping others and giving our lives to Him. Let’s also not forget to slow things down and make sure we focus on all the things we have to be thankful for before we dive into Christmas gift buying. These seasons aren’t just about getting gifts.
7. Set The Date
The month of December in particular is a very busy time for most people. Those who have children must consider children’s programs at their school, church and any other extra curricular programs they are involved in. At work, we have company parties and then social events with friends and family. It is best to put all of these activities on a calendar so we don’t forget them and we can prioritize if we have to make a choice between events.
8. Clean House
It is hard sometimes to clean, then do it all over again a few days later. I recommend writing out a list and keeping a schedule of day to day cleaning chores such as washing dishes and washing laundry vs weekly chores. Also consider when company is arriving, then leaving and new company arrives.
9. Pamper Yourself
Take time to figure out what you will wear for events, for pictures, and time with family. It helps to settle down and have even the smallest details figured out ahead of time. Many families like to do a Christmas card with a picture on it. It looks great when family matches or coordinates with each other. It helps to give yourself a break too!
10. Chill Out
Don’t let yourself get stressed out. Get ready to enjoy the reason for the season! I allowed myself in the past to get stressed out because I didn’t have everything “perfect.” I realize that this isn’t what is important. It is the time spent with people, especially family and time spent thinking about why we celebrate each holiday that is important. Take a little time to be still this season. Make sure it doesn’t just become one chore after another. Sometimes just slowing things down makes a huge difference on our ability to celebrate and worship. It is a time to
“Be still and know that I am God.”Psalm 46:10