TiP for Your TUESDAY!

let it be enough

Do What You Can & Let it Be Enough

This is the time when we start to panic that we haven’t done enough to prepare for the holidays & get anxious to find one more gift or fit in one more thing to make the season more perfect.  Resist.  Only do what you can and let it be enough.  Don’t run yourself ragged!  Don’t push until you get resentful.  Give yourself permission to stop when you need to.   It will be enough.

How to fit JOY into your Cluttered Holiday Calendar

Here we are at the start of the holiday season.  A season of gathering, celebrating, memory-making.  The time of year when life can become so full that taking a moment to breathe almost feels unreasonable.

Are you already there? 

We have just entered the season & yet looking ahead can feel overwhelming! 

The calendar starts to bulge with events & traditions.  And in the beginning, when the invites & events start coming, it can feel really exciting to think of all the ways you are going to “celebrate the season,” until… you step back and realize that your full calendar has left you no room for the parts of the holiday season that used to bring you joy.  The simple joy that came from simple things.

Instead, the little things that kept your spirit up & made you feel “in the moment,” have been pushed aside as everything jostled for a place on the calendar. 

I have been there (and still find myself reverting to that space easily if I’m not careful).  It’s a place that feels like resignation and can quickly become a resentful place.

Your Turn…

So what can you do when you find yourself looking at a cluttered holiday calendar & feel the joy of the season slipping away?

1.  Take a moment to think of the things that you used to truly enjoy about the season.  For me, they are the little things, the creative things, the things that don’t involve hoopla and big celebration- sledding as a family, hot chocolate & cozying up to read Christmas books, cutting out snowflakes.  If I don’t intentionally make space for these things, they could easily be left out & leave me feeling like a piece of my holiday joy was missing. 

2.  Look for openings in the weeks ahead when you could sneak in one of those little “joyful moments.”  Or trade out something you aren’t looking forward to & use the time for the activity that you have been missing.

3. Check in with your energy level.  When last minute celebrations & opportunities come up, check in with your energy level before saying yes.  This season involves a huge amount of energy output, as we gather with friends & family, shop, and attend performances, so watch for signs that you need a break before you “break.” 

4.  Take time to recharge.  Maybe instead of gearing up for another holiday event, you need a quiet night in.  Turn on a holiday movie & make a bowl of popcorn.  Taking a break will increase the chances that you’ll enjoy the next thing on the calendar.

5.  Experiment with saying no or decreasing some of those “extra” expectations/obligations that have crept on the calendar.  Take a store-bought treat instead of spending time on holiday baking.  Take a year off from one of your holiday traditions & see how it affects your mood.  Decrease the amount of time you spend running as you check off those shopping lists by giving certificates or doing your shopping locally or online. 

IMG_8568Next Steps…

It isn’t easy to pull back and say no to activities & events that seem so fun & so necessary during the holiday season, BUT it will feel worth it when you still have energy at the end of December.  And it’s good for our soul to make time for the things that fill us up. 

Take a moment to list 3 things that you truly enjoy during the holiday season and then check the calendar to see if they are on it.  If not, clear some space & make them happen!

Tell me what you came up with!  What has been missing or been left out?  And what might you give up to make that thing happen?

TiP for Your TUESDAY!

make space for the holidays

Plan Ahead

If a big part of your holiday involves giving & receiving gifts then plan ahead & prepare space for new items that will be coming in.  Grab a box or garbage bag & do a quick sort through your collection of games, puzzles,  toys, clothes, or decor and donate/pass on the items that are no longer needed or used.  Starting the month of December off with some open space will ease the overwhelm that can happen once the packages have all been unwrapped.

Or plan ahead by having a conversation that could enable you to shift the focus from giving gifts that take up space to some great alternatives-  tickets or certificates for a special experience together or gifts of service- weekly cookie delivery or 3 mos. of snow-shoveling .  Be creative & find ways to decrease the number of items coming in.

 

Decluttering your gift wrap saves time!

Gift wrap seems like an area that you might not give a lot of attention to, but it can be a perfect place to practice your decluttering skills, see immediate changes, and create a sense of relief around this time of year.

If you are anything like me, this area can get cluttered & messy very quickly!  I am a firm believer in reusing, so when gift bags enter my house I usually send them down to the basement to be used at a later date.  Unfortunately, when this gets repeated over and over with each gift, my space can begin to overflow with a ton of bags & tissue that probably won’t get used again.  And since I want wrapping to be easy & quick, I am more likely to buy a new bag & tissue when things aren’t organized.

What can you do to manage the overflow of gift wrap?

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Step 1.  Gather and sort-  bring all of the wrapping supplies to one area and begin the sort.  Separate the bags, tissue, bows, ribbon, tags, and wrapping paper.  Only keep the items that are in great shape & that you really like (you won’t package a gift in something that you aren’t attracted to, so don’t let it take up space!)

Step 2.  Create boundaries- Pick an area of your home that will store the gift wrap and then find tubs that fit that space.  Pick tubs/containers that will easily fit the variety of gift bags that you choose to keep and be realistic about how much is reasonable to save.  Once that container is full, you are going to have to purge before you can add more.

DSC_0773Step 3.  Notice what you have & what you are missing- Do you have tape and scissor handy?  Are you low on tissue?  Would you like to store tags and cards in this area to keep all gift supplies together?

Step 4.  Label and put back-  Label the containers so it is easy for everyone to find what they need quickly and efficiently.  Store the items in a place that is easily accessible & keeps everything you need in one place.

Step 5.  Recycle or donate-  Gift bags, bows & ribbons that are still in good condition can be donated.  They might not be your style but someone else will be happy to use them.  Tissue & wrapping paper & gift tags are usually recyclable.

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Taking the time to gather & notice what you have, keep only what you like & create boundaries around your gift wrap will make wrapping more efficient & your gift giving more fun!

If you are looking for tips on how simplify and wrap gifts in a more eco-friendly way, check out this post.

I’d love to hear from you!

What do you do to make the gift giving process  a little more simple?

What boundaries have you created around wrapping and storing these supplies?

If you read this and feel too overwhelmed to begin this project without support, be in touch.  Together we can make the process light and easy!

The Holiday Shuffle

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 9.25.24 AMThis time of year, I always find myself struggling to keep the holiday spirit as I contemplate my lists of things to do in order to get to every event on our calendar with all of the required food, gifts, smiles, and energy.  It is the same every year.  Every year I say to myself, “how could I do this differently next year?” and every year I find myself in the same place.

The holiday bustle is starting earlier and earlier and it seems like that only creates more pressure for performance.

In my house, I am the “bah humbug” of the family.  I am not ready or willing to start thinking Christmas until Thanksgiving is on the books.  I usually don’t listen to Christmas music until that day, and I don’t get the tree or the house decorated until after that day.  I’m the scrooge who lives with a husband and kids that would (and do) listen to Christmas music year-round!  I feel guilty for being this way, but I also try to honor each day, and I guess for me that means letting each holiday have it’s time.

So, Thanksgiving is done and then Wham! I start to get overwhelmed!  I worry about being behind and not having a plan and how will I come up with gifts and, and…  Things start to bubble and boil and it isn’t pretty.

Last week, as I was justing coming out of the haze of panic, I read a great re-post by Brene´ Brown, The show must go on. But, at what cost?  It is a reminder that many of us are feeling the same way over the holidays and there are ways to change or adjust to feel just a bit better.

I started to breathe and remember that I had made a plan for this year that would turn down the pressure:
-I am giving up on the idea of mass Christmas cards.  Instead, I have been working to send intentional notes when I get time throughout the year.
-I am doing more shopping online to avoid the hysteria and panic that being out in the crowds can create in me.
-We are changing our holiday schedule to avoid excess travel.
-We have been collecting money to share with a charity that we chose in early November.
-We are trying to carve out time to create some homemade gifts.

All of these little changes are attempts to keep the spirit of the season and my values included in our other traditions.  I’m not trying to add more, but make the things that are already there more intentional.  I can feel it working.  I won’t say that I didn’t have my Dec. 1st freakout, because I did, but I just put myself to bed early and woke up the next day determined to try again.

How do you keep things in perspective at this busy time of year?

What adjustments could you make so that things feel easier?

Tell me about it!