Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Getting Through the Holidays Without Stressing Out

I received a comment yesterday that made me pause. After reading my weekly goals, Livin' in Duckville wanted to know if I slept the week I was accomplishing said goals. As my blog name implies, I am not a super hero and I don’t want to give the impression that I am one or make anyone feel bad if they don’t accomplish the things I accomplish.

In fact, I was at my SIL’s house last night for a Lia Sophia party and I left feeling a little bad about my home decorating skills and what I put up for Christmas decorations. Her house could easily be in a magazine the decorations are so beautiful. BUT – I am not my sister in law! She works two and a half days a week, I work 5+. She prefers to put money into her house, we prefer to drive newer cars and take trips. She prefers her house to look elegant; I prefer things look homey and lived in. It’s all about priorities and what’s important to YOU.

This year I set out to make Christmas completely non-stressful for myself. I don’t want to slide into Christmas exhausted and crabby. Other years I would be putting up decorations a few days before Christmas, feverishly wrapping presents until midnight on Christmas Eve and killing myself to make cookies that sometimes would be thrown out by the end of January. That’s not even taking into account the financial stress I put myself under to make sure everyone had “the perfect gift”

After last year I questioned myself, is this really what Christmas is all about? Do I want to go through life so tired, exhausted and stressed that I just can’t wait for the holidays to be over? Now that I’m in my 40’s (early 40’s just to be clear) I’ve developed a little bit of wisdom. This wisdom tells me that life is too short to not enjoy. I’m the only one putting all this pressure on myself and I’m the only one who can stop it. It’s up to me to only do what is important to me and my family, determine the most efficient way to do it and not beat myself up if something doesn’t get done.

With that in mind, last year I sat myself down and asked myself what my fundamental issues were (same thing I do with my organization projects). Here is what I determined.
  • Even though we know Christmas comes at the same time every year we are always financially unprepared for it. I’m always thankful that December is a three paycheck month.
  • The decorating of the house gets done when I have time for it, not when I schedule time for it and sometimes its right before Christmas.
  • My disorganized closets make decorating painful in that my Christmas decorations are at the bottom of the heap and everything needs to be pulled out. Adds to the time it takes to decorate.
  • I typically wait until I have all my presents bought to do my wrapping. Then I get mad when my husband a) doesn’t want to help me wrap b) doesn’t do a “good enough” job.
  • When shopping I try to make sure that I spend exactly the same amount on everyone, to the point of buying something stupid for someone because I’m $10 off.
  • Shop and shop and shop for the perfect gift. Sometimes a gift card says it all.
 I’m going to address what I have done to improve each of these issues over the next few days. I’ll start tomorrow by addressing how I managed to finish most of my shopping by the beginning of December without stressing myself out financially.
Stop back tomorrow to find out some of my shopping tricks.

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