According to my very careful calculations, we still have thirty Christmas-y days left! That’s thirty glorious, fun-filled, full-of-holiday-awesomeness!
For a lot of people, Christmas can be a crazy, stressful time of year, and that makes me ever-so-sad, so I’m going to be bringing you some tips and tricks and strategies to help all of us Have an Awesome Christmas. 😀
Okay, so let’s get to Day One…the beginning…the most important step to creating smooth, fun Christmas fabulousness:
Yep, it’s time to bust out your calendar!
But it’s not enough to just have a calendar…or just look at a calendar…or just partially use a calendar. Nope. You need to commit!
But commit to what???
Ah, first you (and your family) need to answer some questions…
What type of calendar will you use?
In our house, we use a Google calendar just for family events and plans. The calendar is shared with all three of us, and we can all make edits and things. (We have individual calendars, too, but the family calendar is for things that affect one or more of us…this is definitely where all Christmas plans land.)
But you don’t have to use Google calendars…any kind of calendar will do as long as you use it consistently. (I hear that a large magnetic calendar on the refrigerator can also be awesome, but we all like to be able to access the calendar on our phones.)
What goes on the calendar?
Ah, this is where some tricky work may come into things. Before you start merrily marking up your calendar, there’s some groundwork to tend to.
Make a list of all of the Christmas-related events that you normally attend. Now ask yourselves if there are any of those events that you do out of nothing more than obligation or “just because it’s what we always do.” If there are any events on the list that don’t make the cut of bringing joy to at least one of your family members, seriously, seriously consider ditching it. Really. Just ditch it. Now, I’m not saying to abandon your 98-year-old Granny or to drop out of the play that you’ve already been rehearsing for three months, but if there are boring office parties or gross trips to the mall that are just done out of habit or anything of that nature, really consider ridding your life of the event. (And when it comes to parties and other social obligations, most people are very understanding about busy holiday schedules, and won’t be at all offended if you bow out politely. I mean it. Really. I’ve done it and lived to tell about it.) 🙂
Okay, now that you’ve tackled the things you want to do, schedule them! Here are some things to consider when spending quality time with that calendar of yours:
- Vacations – To really get a grip on your schedule and free time, you need to know when everyone in your house is out of work and/or school.
- School events – Are there any pageants or Christmas plays or ceremonies? Do they involve rehearsals or practices? Put it all on the calendar.
- Family events – Does your family have traditions that you love? (Maybe you love going ice skating or driving through one of those nifty light shows or going out for peppermint ice cream or watching a movie…whatever brings joy to your family.) Schedule that stuff…it is high priority! If we try to squish it in “when we have time,” we sometimes end up having to skip the things that make the holidays special…or we find ourselves scurrying and stressing about “getting this thing done” instead of savoring and enjoying.
- Family celebrations – This is for the family shindigs…you know, the ones that happen with people who don’t live under your roof.
- Social events – This is where parties and get-togethers come in.
- Performances – Plays, ballets, concerts, etc. Mark them down…and make sure you have tickets while you’re at it. 😉
- Travel plans – If you’re travelling, add it to the calendar. If someone is travelling to you, make sure you add that to the calendar, too. You don’t want to be out at a play when Aunt Margie is waiting for you to pick her up at the airport.
Okay, go forth and put alllll of that stuff on your calendar. I promise you that it won’t even take too long. I bet you’ll be done with all of it in 30 minutes or less. 🙂
But what if?
What if you’re overbooked at some point? Well, that’s part of what the calendar is for…so you’ll know you’re overbooked. If you have too many things scheduled, you’ll have to decide what has to be let go…or if there’s some reasonable way to participate in both activities. Just remember to let people know if you have to back out of an event.
What if there’s a last minute event? Easy! Check your calendar and see if you’re free. If you’ve marked down everything, a quick glance will let you know if you have time for another commitment.
I know it might seem like a lot of work (or it might feel silly to schedule your family movie), but I promise you it’s worth it! Knowing that you’re not going to forget anything or neglect something important to you and your family is a huge stress-reliever. 🙂
Later on, I’ll be sharing my very own Christmas calendar for my little nerd family on the Home for Full-Grown Nerds Facebook page. Join me there to have a peek at a real-life example of the Christmas calendar. 🙂 Be warned…our Christmas calendar is a bit weird. Grace will be at her mom’s for Christmas this year (we switch off years), so we’ll be celebrating Christmas after Christmas…but we still do the whole shebang. Personally, I think it’s right nice of Santa to make a special second trip out around the world to accommodate all of the blended families. 😉
What about you? Have you ever had a Christmas scheduling disaster? What sort of family traditions do you have that you always make time for? Do you have a favorite calendar? Do you prefer an app or good ol’ pen and paper?