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Overhauling Holiday Organizing
April Miller, B.A., B. Ed.
The holidays are sneaking up on us and with them, holiday stress. From finding the perfect gift (then buying generic pajamas at the last minute), to scheduling Christmas day meals (early lunch at the in-laws, late lunch at Nan’s, supper at Mom’s), or dealing with kids who’ve already exceeded their quota of circled items in The Wish Book, the holidays tends to equal stress!
What’s the trick to holiday organizing? Instead of talking about the latest and greatest app or planner, it’s time to get real. The trick to organizing for the holidays is setting boundaries.
Let’s talk about gift exchanges. I know people who give gifts to every family member. We give gifts to our hair stylists, our kids’ teachers, and our co-workers. If that makes you happy, soldier on! But if you’re stressed, it’s time to take stock. Limit who you gift to, opt out with a simple, “We’re cutting back this year”. For teachers and stylists – you can’t go wrong with gift cards!
And what about your kids? Why are you really buying piles of presents? End the living room landslide of wrapping paper, and watch your kids actually enjoy their gifts instead of being overwhelmed by excess. A friend of mine initiated a 'top 3' list with her kids - cutting down the list so there is less focus on getting at Christmas. I advocate a Santa sack – a version of 1 in, 1 out. Your kids put out a sack filled with toys they no longer use for Santa to take to other kids. Decluttering and helping others – win-win!
And let’s talk about your time. Instead of stressing about overscheduling, try this: decide what you really want to attend, and say no to the rest. That’s right – that uncomfortable word that makes us want to turn inside out – 'no'. Imagine eating one meal on Christmas day. Imagine staying home in your pjs while your kids play. Bliss. A few years ago, a friend radically changed her family's Christmas day – she said no to every meal and visit. Instead, the family spends a lazy morning together and then goes to the movies in the afternoon.
If you entertain during the holidays, keep a running “How can I help?” list. You don’t have to be a martyr and do everything on your own; stop sweating through that special Christmas outfit while you clean the house, cook a turkey, and take care of guests! Host an un-decorating party at the end of the holidays for one last hoorah.
The uncomfortable, in-your-face, truth is that setting boundaries is the best ‘trick’ for holiday organizing. Let’s all get more comfortable saying no for the best holidays ever!
April Miller, B.A., B. Ed.,
is a Trained Professional Organizer,
and a Hoarding and Chronic Disorganization Specialist.
For help with your organizating concerns, contact April at: