Being a time strategist, a.k.a. I help people find more time for the important things in life, in the month of December I often get asked, “how does one make time for all the fun activities that makes the holiday season special, all while having to continue to do the life stuff like working, chores, and the day to day responsibilities?” Then add the “have to’s and must do’s” of the holiday season. You know what I am talking about – all the things that others expect from you while you are trying to meet your own high expectations.
Psst… I wrote a blog post all about all of the above and you can read it by clicking here.
I recently asked the following question on Facebook:
Today, I want to talk about making time to enjoy the holiday season and all the fun that comes with it, while working, pleasing, meeting expectations, and finding the perfect presents.
Stop asking, “Where did time go?”
I have been saying this throughout the entire month of December and I am going to say it again…we, as women, put too much stress and expectations on ourselves. We live in this crummy mess of emotions and stress for 25 days. Then, while we are sitting at the table eating Christmas dinner, we realize that it is all over. The fun, the joy, the laughter, the presents and the smiles of Christmas…are done! We wonder to ourselves, “where did the time go?” and “how did I miss it?” My friend, you missed it because you were too busy sitting in the emotion of everything that had to be done and the stress of trying to make the season perfect for everyone.
Now, I am with you! I love to make everything perfect, for everyone. I want everyone to smile, create memories and hug, all while drinking hot cocoa and watching a Christmas movie. Trust me, I get it. Especially now that my eldest is 17 and my youngest is 10. Time is flying and before I know it, I will have grandbabies running around and I will be wondering, “where did the time go?” But I am refusing to let those words come out of my lips in 10 years.
Here are some things I am doing to embrace and enjoy the holiday season.
1. Schedule… everything!
If you have a list of activities that you want to do during the holidays, you need to schedule them into your calendar. Making them a priority will help you stick to your goals and timelines to make them happen. Also, when having to commit to the activity, by putting it into your calendar, you will begin to realize which activities are the ones you really want to do. For example, our family wanted to go to the movies to see Jumanji: The Next Level. So, I put it in our family calendar, booked the tickets and we enjoyed a family night of laughter and fun at the movies (P.S. IMO Jumanji: The Next Level is the movie of the year). If I didn’t put it in the calendar it would have never happened.
Ladies night out with the Mompreneurs
2. Set timers or time block for your activities
Whether it is baking, decorating, watching a movie, wrapping presents, family dinners or anything in between, if you give timelines and deadlines to the activities you want or have to do, you will stay on schedule and complete more tasks and activities than you thought possible. The easiest way to make this happen is to make it a game. For example, for Christmas shopping plan to go shopping for three hours max. Whether you are driving store-to-store or shopping in a mall, plan out your route and don’t make shopping for the perfect gift to difficult. Actually, use my next tip on finding the perfect gift for your loved ones.
3. Finding the perfect gift for your loved ones
Sometimes we make finding the perfect gift for someone to unwrap Christmas morning such a big deal that we end up purchasing a gift that they don’t love, but we love watching them open it. The simplest way to find the perfect gifts are to, are you ready for this… ASK them. Whether it is your husband, child or parent, ask them for a list of items that they want for Christmas. Now, if these items are not something you can afford or find, consider purchasing a gift card to the store where your loved ones can use the card to purchase what it is that they want.
Another option is to give your loved one an experience instead of a tangible gift. Maybe it is dinner out or tickets to the movies? In the end, maybe your loved one would love time with you, doing something fun? Lastly, if you have a teenager who wants money…give them some money. $25.00 cash will make a teen more excited then a $25.00 present. The trick is finding a creative way to wrap it. I will wrap the money around a stick of deodorant or around a chocolate bar.
4. Quick and Fun activities for the family
If you want to spend more time with your family but are not sure how to fit it into your schedule, choose quick and fun activities. With a family of six humans, three being teenagers, this is what we do.
Family fun night for Wil’s birthday
Here are some activities that the Clarke Crew enjoys during the holiday season.
- Evening drive to look at the Christmas light displays – includes hot cocoa and coffee from Tim Horton’s.
- Christmas Charades – you can make this game up or purchase it online
- Bake and Decorate cookies – a double task because we give the cookies as gifts for Christmas.
- Board Games – usually it is poker and we use Christmas candy as poker chips.
- Movies, movies and more movies – we watch a movie every weekend, maybe not as an entire family, but whomever is around tends to join in (like right now, we are watching Elf and there are three of us here).
Create work-free traditions
Lastly, I removed the “how did I miss the holidays?” thought at Christmas dinner. Want to know how? A tradition we started a couple of years ago is going to the movies on Christmas night, after supper. It is a fun way to end the holiday, with family. Not to mention there is no work involved for me and I now enjoy our dinner because I know it is not the end of our celebrations.
No matter what you do during this holiday season, please promise yourself (and me) that you are going to slow down to enjoy the moments that you are probably missing. It is so important to me that you and your family get the best of you. If you use the tips and ideas that I gave you above, you will experience a different holiday this season.
Love You Girl!
XO – Sara