This year, I used the system on Happy Simply Living called “All Done by December 1.” By December 01, I had most of my Christmas to do list completed, and felt pretty good about it. But now that the Christmas season has come to a close – it is not over until the three kings show up to the party – I can honestly say that it had a bigger impact than what I originally anticipated on December 01.
- No part of the season was spent shopping or at the mall. WOW!! That is huge for the family since we often spent part of our weekends in the mall trying to get the shopping done. I made a list and budget, shopped early, and got it DONE! It was great because it allowed me time to rationally think, and it pretty much kept me out of the mall and in very few stores. This freed up time for us to spend time with friends, time with each other, and allowed my son to prepare for exams without a zillion other things going on.
- Our house did not have every nook and cranny decorated this year. It did not take long to put all of this up. It also did not take long for us to take it down – less than an hour and a half for all of it. We even had lights up outside. This gave us the opportunity to look through all of our Christmas decorations to see what was important, and what we just put up to take up space. Most of that will be getting donated this week.
- Having meals prepared ahead of time was a lifesaver. On the nights that we were busy, it allowed us to have good food on hand. It is not only healthier that hitting the drive through, it is faster as well. And having the meals packed in smaller containers allowed us to pick and choose what we wanted to eat on nights when we were all coming in at different times.
- Having pictures made early was awesome. Those were the first pictures we had taken for over ten years, and not trying to hurry up and do them during the season was awesome. That left plenty of time to address cards and get them mailed before they became Epiphany cards.
- Planning nights to just spend time as a family was one of the best things ever. Not only can Christmas be stressful in itself, but it is also exam time at school. My kids get panicky and anxious and tend to be more than a little high maintenance at this time. My son also has the added pressure of exams and the study group that he tries to maintain becomes very popular in December. These nights allowed both of us much needed downtime so that we really could enjoy the season.
All of these gave us the incredibly valuable gift of time – time together, time with family and friends, and time to just enjoy the beauty of the season. I never envisioned on December 01 how much of a difference this would make for the next four weeks.
So I head back to school today, and for the first time in a long time, I really feel like I had a Christmas break. I was not running back and forth to different events, staying up late addressing cards, cooking, or wrapping, or stressing about every little detail. Things were done. No worries. Done.
Would I do it again this year? In a heartbeat. I was so grateful for the gift of calm in the midst of the chaos of the season.