By Carol Graham
“I hate Christmas!” Those were the words spoken by a woman who was looking in the showcases in my store this week.
“I hate Christmas — well, not really. I just hate all the stuff I am forced to do.”
I have not been able to shake that conversation from my psyche.
Each year, I watch the craziness and the hustle. I see the anger. I hear nasty, grumpy comments by people who generally are easy-going.
People pushing, swearing, rushing, yelling. No wonder she hates Christmas.
Christmas CAN BE stress-free — honest!
I LOVE Christmas. I love what it represents on so many levels. To me, the best part of Christmas is family. It is a time to be with family without feeling rushed. It is a time to express our love to our family through giving of gifts, our time and ourselves in various ways.
My three-year-old grandson nailed it when he said, “Mommy, isn’t it great that we get gifts on Jesus birthday?” That is the true meaning of Christmas and the reason we celebrate. He was thrilled that we actually get gifts on someone else’s birthday!
But for many, it has become an obligation. We feel we MUST see members of our family we don’t even like. We MUST buy gifts for people we don’t want to. We MUST decorate the house and make the perfect meal and try to out-do our neighbors. The list goes on.
I would like to share a few ideas to make your life a wee bit easier this time of year. It is called…….wait for it…….it’s a nasty word…..O R G A N I Z A T I O N. And you just must check out the post on that dirty little 15 letter word — which will help with the whole organizing scenario.
I cannot remember the last time I have been rushed, frustrated or dreaded any part of this holiday. I promise you that if you heed just a few simple tips, it will make your next Christmas a lot more pleasant and relaxed.
1. SHOP EARLY. I know many people like to wait for Black Friday sales or the week before Christmas sales. However, there are just as many bargains throughout the year. Christmas in July sales are FABULOUS. This is the time of year I buy the larger, more expensive gifts. Even if you put them on a credit card, they will be paid off before Christmas.
2. WRAP JUST AS EARLY. This is my favorite! When I started doing this a few years ago, I found it so exciting at Christmas. As soon as I buy a gift, no matter what time of year, I wrap it immediately. I will keep a list of what I bought just in case I have to refer to it later in the year. But, usually I forget what I bought until the recipient opens the gift and it is so much fun – especially when it is exactly what they were hoping for and I took the time to find the perfect gift without the rush of the season.
3. BAKE EARLY. Try to have your baking done by mid-November and in the freezer. These can even be wrapped as gifts and put in the freezer in large ziploc bags. Better yet, go to Christmas bake sales – no one needs to know you didn’t sweat over a hot oven for days!
4. MAIL EARLY. By doing numbers one and two you can mail your gifts without having to stand in line at the post office.
5. CHRISTMAS CARDS. If you are one of those people who mail Christmas cards, blessings on you. I haven’t done this in years but when I did, I usually did them a couple months before, stamped them and mailed them out about three weeks before Christmas.
6. DECORATIONS. This is one area where many of you will have traditions. Maybe you decorate as a family three weeks before or…..???? If you don’t have a tradition, maybe you should consider starting one. This should be an enjoyable time for the whole family instead of a stressful one but will need some advance planning.
7. MEAL PREPARATION.
A. If you plan your menu and shop for all the ingredients you need a month before Christmas, it pays off big time. Then all you have to buy are your fresh ingredients and avoid the long line-ups at the grocery store.
B. Set the table two to three days in advance. Not only is this smart but also lovely to look at for a couple days.
C. Prep your dinner the day before. Refrigerators are great appliances for keeping things fresh and ready for the big day.
9. BE CREATIVE. If you are one of those gifted, talented people who make Christmas gifts, start in the lazy winter months of January and February. And, yes, wrap them as well. What a wonderful start to your organized Christmas.
10. PREPARE YOUR PETS. We have a lot of them and put them in another room during the meal but enjoy their antics the rest of the time. Think ahead as to how you want to handle it and make sure they are comfortable and not stressed.
I know there are many of you who are far more organized than I am. Do you have any tips you can add to the list? Would love to hear them and will implement them for 2016!
Oh, and P.S. If you want to read a hilarious story about handling stress….go here.
OR……Maybe we should try this
Source Battered Hope