Overwhelmed just thinking about the upcoming holiday season? Relax. If you take a little time to plan your holiday season, it will be more enjoyable for you and your family! Focus on practicing good organizational techniques and time management principles.  Here are some tips to make the holidays enjoyable and the new year start off in a positive manner.

Setting Your Goals for the Holiday Season

  • Christmas_treeWe are pulled in so many different directions during the holidays: travel, family gatherings, parties and social events, shopping, baking, decorating, etc. As yourself: What do I want? This question is an invaluable guide for the holiday season. Think about what you want to do, as opposed to what you think others expect of you. Decide on your goals for the holiday season. Do you want to spend quality time with family? Do you want to try your hand at hosting or baking? Or, do you want to relax and enjoy quiet time? Achieving your goals and creating a meaningful holiday season requires that you have smart plans in place, especially if you want to enjoy the season without overindulging or stressing out.
  • It is difficult to keep all of the mental clutter associated with the holidays in our head! Keep a ‘holiday central’ notebook or create a memo in your handheld device. List items you want to do (notice I didn’t say need to do!), gifts to be purchased, people to send cards to, etc. Create a holiday budget so you know what you want to spend and stick to it.

Dealing with Holiday Schedule Overload

  • holiday_stressorsAll the things you want to do over the holiday season can bring pressure if you don’t bring your wants and needs into alignment and into a manageable schedule. Holiday joy comes from balance and choosing the activities that are fulfilling for you. Avoid taking on too much at this time of year. If you’re feeling too pressured, look for activities that you can reschedule until after the holidays, delegate, or say no to. Recognize that you can’t do everything, especially if you want to enjoy your holiday season!  Ask yourself: What is the worst thing that will happen if I don’t do this?
  • Identify and avoid triggers. If going to certain events or seeing certain family or friends stresses you out and always ruins your holiday experience, avoid that activity. If you must attend, shorten your visit. If you are watching what you eat, plan ahead by eating a small healthy meal at home, so you won’t be as hungry at the event. Or plan out what you will eat at the event, allowing yourself a few treats that you only get to have once per year and stick to your plan.
  • If you regularly exercise, don’t stop over the holidays! Carve out time for exercise, even if it is not as much time as you usually do. The holidays are stressful enough – don’t miss out on a great form of natural stress relief!

The payoff to all of this planning? You won’t have post-holiday regret syndrome! You’ll be calmer and more available to enjoy the company of your family and friends, and you’ll start the new year feeling empowered.

Easter may not be here until April 8th, but I am planning for it early this year. And while the typical Easter colors are usually pastel, I am painting my Easter eggs red! Okay, not literally… that would be strange. But I did get to use an awesome $50 Red Envelope gift card courtesy of Buttoned Up. I was asked to purchase something from Red Envelope and blog about my experience. Of course, I happily obliged as I’ve had a long love affair with Red Envelope. I’ve received several lovely gifts over the years from my sister-in-law from Red Envelope, including a year of wishes of candles and a year of seeds. And I bought gifts from Red Envelope for Christmas last year for two people on my list and they were quite the hit!

I just easily and quickly bought a beautiful Easter basket filled with fresh fruit, nuts, and of course, jelly beans (yum!). Check out the special Easter basket items offered at http://www.redenvelope.com/easter-baskets-reasb.

I found the ordering experience simple. I like the Recently Viewed category at the bottom of the page that shows you what items you have already looked at. It saves me the time of scrolling through the items to try to remember which baskets I’ve already looked at. There are many different Easter-related items available, and some look truly delectable. I decided to stay somewhat healthy, but you don’t have to. Go ahead and get some of the delicious-looking baked goods to serve on Easter Day. So take a look and send a gift to a loved one, or choose an item for yourself. Happy Easter!

Full disclosure: This is sponsored content and I have been compensated to do this post in the form of a gift card. That being said, I do not blog about anything I do not believe in and Red Envelope did not edit this post or direct the content in any way.

Overwhelmed just thinking about the upcoming holiday season?  Relax. If you take a little time to plan your holiday season, it will be more enjoyable for you and your family! Focus on practicing good organizational techniques and time management principles.  Here are some tips to make the holidays enjoyable and the new year start off in a positive manner.

Setting Your Goals for the Holiday Season

  • We are pulled in so many different directions during the holidays: travel, family gatherings, parties and social events, shopping, baking, decorating, etc. As yourself: What do I want? This question is an invaluable guide for the holiday season. Think about what you want to do, as opposed to what you think others expect of you. Decide on your goals for the holiday season. Do you want to spend quality time with family? Do you want to try your hand at hosting or baking? Or, do you want to relax and enjoy quiet time? Achieving your goals and creating a meaningful holiday season requires that you have smart plans in place, especially if you want to enjoy the season without overindulging or stressing out.
  • It is difficult to keep all of the mental clutter associated with the holidays in our head! Keep a ‘holiday central’ notebook or create a memo in your handheld device. List items you want to do (notice I didn’t say need to do!), gifts to be purchased, people to send cards to, etc. Create a holiday budget so you know what you want to spend and stick to it.

Dealing With Holiday Schedule Overload

  • All the things you want to do over the holiday season can bring pressure if you don’t bring your wants and needs into alignment and into a manageable schedule. Holiday joy comes from balance and choosing the activities that are fulfilling for you. Avoid taking on too much at this time of year. If you’re feeling too pressured, look for activities that you can reschedule until after the holidays, delegate, or say no to. Recognize that you can’t do everything, especially if you want to enjoy your holiday season!  Ask yourself: What is the worst thing that will happen if I don’t do this?
  • Identify and avoid triggers. If going to certain events or seeing certain family or friends stresses you out and always ruins your holiday experience, avoid that activity. If you must attend, shorten your visit. If you are watching what you eat, plan ahead by eating a small healthy meal at home, so you won’t be as hungry at the event. Or plan out what you will eat at the event, allowing yourself a few treats that you only get to have once per year and stick to your plan.
  • If you regularly exercise, don’t stop over the holidays! Carve out time for exercise, even if it is not as much time as you usually do. The holidays are stressful enough – don’t miss out on a great form of natural stress relief!

Holiday Decorations

  • Pull out those holiday decorations (yes, all of them!). Take stock of what you will definitely use, and donate the rest in time for a family in need to use the decorations this season. Those decorations that are really just sentimental, but will never be used, should be stored in your Memory Box, not with holiday decorations.
  • Do you need to go all out with decorating this year? Maybe you want to scale back? Ask yourself if you still want to decorate as much as you used to, or are doing it out of habit or others’ expectations of you. If so, then give yourself permission to keep it simple!

Holiday Cards

  • Buy your stamps in bulk or online at www.usps.com. Check that you have current addresses for everyone on your holiday card list. If your contacts are stored on your computer, you can print labels.
  • Use a card sending service, such as Send Out Cards.
  • Consider sending New Year’s or Valentine’s Day cards instead. It’s unique and can be an unexpected treat to the receiver!
  • Just don’t do it! Don’t send paper versions of holiday cards at all if you don’t want to. Use email and social media sites to send holiday wishes, or pick up the phone and call special people in your life.

 Holiday Baking & Cooking

  • Prep your kitchen for holiday time. Purge any food items that your family is not eating (if they have not expired, donate to a nearby food pantry!) and make a shopping list of what you will need for holiday cooking and baking. Choose recipes in your favorite cookbooks or online, and start making lists of holiday menus you want to prepare.
  • Plan out your baking and cooking time on your calendar as an appointment so you take it seriously and stick to it. Otherwise, you will find yourself cooking and baking at 3 in the morning the night before the occasion!

Gift Giving

  • When gift giving, keep in mind that more isn’t necessarily better – sometimes, it’s just more!
  • Considering regifting. Yes, I said it! Look at gifts you have received and have not used yet, or gifts you bought and stored throughout the year. Consider sharing some of these gifts with those on your list if the gift is a good match. Don’t feel guilty! It’s the thought that counts, not how you came by it.
  • Think outside the box. Try to give gifts that won’t just become clutter. Give perishables (make a favorite food item for a friend that always comments on your great cooking), gifts of experience (horseback riding for that niece that loves horses), gifts of time (baby sitting for the couple that never gets to go out alone), etc.  Be creative! Consider only giving gifts to children on your list, or deciding to donate to charities in people’s names instead of buying presents. Just make sure to agree to do this with others on your list so you don’t offend anyone come gift exchange time!
  • Ask people to be specific with what they want and need, and you do the same when writing out your wish list.
  • Let go of whatever gifts you receive that will just become clutter in your life, and do so without guilt! If you can’t return it, donate it or give it to a friend that is likely to enjoy it.

The payoff to all of this planning? You won’t have post-holiday regret syndrome! You’ll be calmer and more available to enjoy the company of your family and friends, and you’ll start the new year feeling empowered.

Looking for a holiday gift that subtracts from, instead of adds to, clutter? Check out my e-book, DECIDE to be Organized: An Empowering Process for Change.

eBook Image

Often, people complain that gifts given for the holidays, although well-intentioned, just add to their clutter. E-books make gift-giving easy, as they can be sent to anyone on your gift list by email instantly. And they don’t cause physical clutter!

DECIDE is an empowering process that leads to change. It will assist readers in achieving results at home, at work, and in life in general. The DECIDE® e-book is less about the “stuff” and more about the thinking behind the “stuff.” The DECIDE® process examines the connection between decision-making and disorganization.  It looks at the way people think and act with regard to organization, and offers an opportunity for an empowering change to occur.  So, although this may be a small book (it is a tidy 58 pages long), it is a powerful one!

Give the gift of organizing to someone on your list this holiday season. Or treat yourself!

Are you overwhelmed just thinking about the upcoming holiday season? Don’t want to get caught up in the madness and miss the joy?

There is a better way! Join me for a live 1.5 hour workshop, “Managing the Chaos of the Busy Holiday Season,” on Thursday evening, December 3, 2009 at Goshen Gourmet, 14 W. Main Street, Goshen, NY. This event is sponsored by Linda’s Office Supplies of Goshen.

The workshop is from 6:30 – 8:00 pm (Eastern Standard Time) and the fee is $10 per person. Space is limited so please call (845) 294-3869 to register.

I will be sharing tips on time management, project management, how to say no, and setting goals for the holiday season and beyond. The workshop will be interactive, so come with your questions ready!

I hope to see you there!

Lisa - signature