Well, here we go again. There should be a 30 day workout plan that gets your mind and your body ready for the Christmas chaos. I, as usual, am not ready. I like to think that I am just not rushing the season by not prepping for the holidays, but what I am really doing is procrastinating. Every year after Christmas I say to myself, 'Self, next year you are going to do it up right. The tree, the décor, you're finally gonna swap out those old stockings and do something new, you'll get those gifts wrapped early so you have time to spend making each gift pretty instead of just getting them wrapped because you're flat outta time!' But alas, each year it is the same scenario. I wait. I don't know why. I love to decorate, but I wait; I wait until it HAS to get done. Then I rush through it all and hope for the best. All these years of waiting have taught me a few things though. Here are my top five tips on how to make your Christmas Season come together smoothly, even if you've waited until the last minute to get going.
1. Multitask. While the kids are in the dentist chair, work on some of your online shopping. When you have that blessed hour of nothing to do and no where else to be, use it to your advantage. Instead of thumbing through your social media get some shopping done or upload a photo for the Christmas postcard.
2. Not an efficient gift wrapper? If you know you spend a lot of time wrapping gifts because you aren't good at (and probably don't like it), drop into your local Dollar Store and load up on gift bags. Gift bags have come a long way in the last few years and some of them are just dang cute! Bonus, they can be reused. I have a few gift bags that have been with us for soooo many years that my kids will often recall a past gift they pulled out of that same bag. It's not the wrapping, it's the gift everyone's after.
3. Cooking the big meal? Make a menu ahead of time and sort out dishes that can be made ahead of time. Make everything that you can in advance and drop it in the freezer. Also, don't be afraid of pre-made items. There are some great ones out there. Let me tell ya....That Marie Callender makes a damn good pie. She's got the gift of pie making. I mix a good drink, Marie makes a good pie. It's a win-win relationship. One other tip, if you have guests coming for dinner, don't be afraid to ask them to bring a dish. Potluck Christmas is a good thing.
4. Social Invites. This is the season of social get togethers but it can get to be too many. Don't be afraid to decline some invitations to lighten your load. Remember 'no' is a complete sentence. You don't have to offer excuses or explain. You can just decline. Some social events began as a great way to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season but have morphed into a lot of prep work and dread (think the poorly executed company Christmas party). It's a good opportunity to smile, nod and decline the invite.
5. Delegate. Put those kids to work. They can help out with a lot of what needs to be done. They love to decorate the tree. Well, they did love to until they turned about 14. For whatever reason they think they're too cool to hang ornaments at that age. If they're too 'whatever' to decorate the tree, put them to work on wreaths or lights or cleaning. There's no lack of tasks. Put their little hands to work!
Don't forget in all of this seasonal madness to take some time to look at all that you did this year and be proud of yourself. Christmas is a wonderful time to reflect on the successes of the year. And as for next year....just keep this list handy. You might need it again:)
Have a beautiful and blessed Christmas season!