Monday, December 13, 2010

Make Christmas Memories NOT More Stress

I'm amazed that it's really been a MONTH since I posted.   Wow where does the time go?  Of course this is the busiest time of year for me and I'm sure many others.  It's so easy to get caught up in the "have to's"  of the Christmas and Holiday Season.   I  was thinking about this the other day, and all I needed to get done. Then I stopped and thought about  what I really needed to do.   Amazingly enough these lists weren't the same.   Sometimes we let ourselves get caught up in what we oughta do and not necessarily what we need to do.  There's a big difference, then we are faced with the dilemma of  choosing wisely between the two.   Here are a few things I thought about when I put my need list together hope it helps a bit.    

Time Management
Ok this one is a REALLY  big one  because we are all pulled in a million directions during the holidays. In order to make our holidays a lot happier, we must decide on what the most important things are that we want to accomplish.   Family should be first and foremost on the list .  Whether your family is a traditional one or one of the non-traditional others that exist,  it is important to decide what ways you are going to spend time with them.   Whether it includes making new traditions,  keeping old ones, going to performances, or  parties you need to make a list and schedule them.   You  can then work your other secondary commitments into this set schedule as you see fit. Make sure it's what works for YOU!  

Duties or tasks  maybe the list that cause a lot of us the most headaches.   Through the media, friends and others we sometimes put these crazy expectations on ourselves, and then when it comes time to enjoy Christmas we  just want to take a nap.   We find that we've ruined our own holiday by setting the bar too high based on the false expectations we've either put on ourselves or let others pressure us into.   Give yourself permission to say no when it doesn't fit  your needs and those of your family.

I know your asking yourself  how in the world do you decide what to put on the have to list?   Once again, write it down, then go back and rank the items according to importance.  Even with the items on your list, you should look at your expectations of them, and decide if you want to keep them as is or revamp.   For example, instead of sending out 100 Christmas Cards,  maybe this year you just send out to close friends and family.   Another ideas might be contacting your friends and family you exchange gifts with.  Suggest and talk about drawing names, giving a family gift or my personal favorite,  do a gift exchange that  is part of a game instead of buying for everyone.  Of course this is great for the budget too.

Making Memories 
Finally, I'm drawn  back to something my mom says all the time, "let's make some memories".   I think that's probably the most important thing about holidays.   Ask yourself what you want to accomplish and what memories you want to make.  If you have children ask yourself what memories do you want them to have and then do what you need to in order to make those happen.

I have a lot of Christmas memories,  but one of my favorite is when my dad took my younger brother and I to cut down our Christmas tree.   We lived in a small mountain town surround by national forests and   back then all a person had to do was buy a permit, go pick out your tree, and cut it down.    I remember getting in the car and heading up a snow covered road straight up into a mountain paradise.   Imagine the prettiest snow covered mountain scene you have ever viewed and you get the idea.  It looked like something right off of a Hallmark card.   Dad parked on the road and we walked down into a small valley which included a small stream running through it. Of course this time of year it was mostly frozen and while dad worked to chop down the tree, my brother and I skated back and forth on the frozen strip.   My mom and dad may not have set out to "make a memory"  for me that day, but it has always been one of my favorite.  

The key to having a great Christmas and Holiday Season is to stop and give some thought to what you want for yourself and your family.   Decide what memories you want to create, then simply get organized and help make them happen.   I think maybe the most precious gift someone can give  is a memory that  will be cherished forever.  

Make it a wonderful Christmas and Holiday Season for you and yours.