Every year I spend December in a rush – trying to find and purchase gifts and wrap them; figuring out where to celebrate the holidays and how to manage to see everyone I haven’t seen in ages; shopping for the new ‘celebratory’ clothing so I wear something new when the clock strikes twelve on New Years, and so on.
However, this year I decided to take a different approach to Christmas holidays: I would do most of holiday tasks well in advance and spend the time in December on self care while celebrating holidays in the way that makes me and my close family feel special.
Here are types of activities that can be done in advance and some in bulk, to free up some precious time:
- getting gifts. To make it easier, I thought about a budget for each gift and had few ideas of potential things they will like. Being able to shop online took all stress away!
- researching, planning and booking tickets to holiday events. Some things I booked in August! Our holiday-themed activities started in November and included: circus, ballet, going to an event with lots of christmas lighting for great pictures, celebrating Christmas early with friends. What is remaining: going to a Wonderland to enjoy Christmas set up and see their Christmas Market, going to Niagara on the Lake (small Victorian town) to enjoy Christmas stores and wineries, celebrating Christmas with friends, our small family, our extended family and then celebrating New Years and going to opera.
- getting gift wrap paper and supplies
- finding and ordering outfits and dresses for holiday parties. I ordered two dresses, a skirt that goes with everything and new shoes. I am officially prepared!
- planning your time in December and January – taking vacation days, making plans with friends and family, scheduling some romantic trips with a husband and thinking about including days of doing nothing as well as trips to Spa – and writing this down in my calendar so I don’t miss anything!
- creating a list of Christmas & New Years movies and music that lifts your mood and finding/recording/buying them so they are easily accessible
- buying, signing and mailing some Christmas cards to friends and family abroad
- taking one trip to a liqueur store and stocking up on drinks (e.g. wine, champagne) for the holidays
- developing a menu plan for the holidays
- investing into artificial Christmas tree – so that I can set it up and decorate in advance!
thanks to the internet (online shopping, online search, online tickets booking) I was done with most of the things mentioned above by December 1st. This made me feel more relieved since I would not have to go to the mall and fight with others for the last gift set at Sephora (the crows in the mall close to me are unbelievable!). This is what I do with the time that was suddenly freed up:
- Actually enjoying pre-holiday time! Watching Christmas movies, taking walks to look at the holiday lights, baking cookies, taking naps…
- Cleaning. Okay I don’t enjoy this one, but it still easier to do it while not also trying to run to the store to find gifts or decorating the house. I also can clear up areas I normally do not get to (like fridge or area in the hall, or maybe even sorting out my clothes and organizing them into little outfits)
- Self-development: I can spend more time writing, reading, taking online courses (LinkedIn) and doing things for ME that I normally do not get to do
- Tying up lose ends: booking driving tests, creating budget and savings plans, creating meal plans for the week, doing errands, etc.
- Self-care: finally using the face masks I collected throughout this year, trying new bath salts, going to home gym while watching Blacklist (okay the good part here is losing calories to the stationary bike), enjoying lavender scented essential oil, journaling
- Relationships: I can spend more time writing to and meeting with my friends, spend more time playing with my pets, doing fun activities with my husband and the family.
Having done most activities in fall, I actually feel very good about myself this holiday season. It still approaches very fast but being prepared just feels great! I will definitely do this next year.