The holiday season has arrived!
With a little planning, you can have more fun during the holidays, with less waste and less stress.
1. Start with your values
Spend a little time coming up with a few words or draw a picture that represents your values (especially what you value during the holidays). Consider involving others in the family to help. Use your values as a guide to determining your holiday activities. Some of my values include relaxed time with family and keeping family traditions going from when I was a kid (like going to cut down a tree).
A new resource to simplify the holidays from The Center for a New American Dream includes an interactive calendar to help focus on what matters most during this time of year. There are tips and ideas about planning, budgeting, giving and receiving, reducing waste, meaningful moments and entertaining.
2. Make your to-do lists
Make a list of all the events or projects you want – or feel you need – to get done this holiday season. Consider making separate lists for each holiday. Start by listing each project/event and then list all the activities you need to do for each one. Don’t forget to include what you’ll need to do for preparation, the actual event/project and clean-up. For example, the activity “Christmas Dinner” could include activities like sending out invitations, choosing recipes, buying food, preparing food, decorating, cleaning up and putting away dishes and decorations.
3. Assign your time
Once you’ve created your list, assign the amount of time you think each activity will consume. Be realistic when assigning time to each activity and add some extra time. If you’re not sure, give it your best guess – it doesn’t have to be perfect. The important part is realizing that everything takes time to complete.
4. Revisit your values
After you have your list of activities and the amount of time each one should take, revisit your key values to make sure your activities align with them. Consider filtering out activities that don’t match up with your key values, or adding activities focused on downtime, relaxation and fun.
5. Create your calendar and revisit it regularly
Schedule your list of activities on your calendar. Scheduling your activities ensures you are creating space to get them done. As we all know, things will change and you might need to add, remove or change activities. By allowing for some buffer, you’ll have space to be flexible as things change.
Consider which activities you can delegate. Have a teenager in your life (son, daughter, niece, nephew or neighbor) that loves to wrap? Let him or her take on some of the present wrapping. It gives others a chance to contribute and feel involved with the festivities and play to their strengths. It also allows us to share some gratitude with those that make these holidays worth enjoying.