Break Out Your Planner
December has arrived and the days are quickly counting down to Christmas Day.
How do we manage the busyness of our already fast paced lives, but still add the extra burdens of shopping, Christmas school programs, work place parties, church pageants, Christmas recitals, and baking?
The best advice I can share today is to use your planner and prepare a week to week and even day to day schedule.
This is a great weekend to do this. It is still early enough to pull all your planning together using your time wisely. Every week is valuable to getting everything done with minimal stress. Be sure all your life activities are already on the calendar so you don’t overbook a day or night.
Talk to your spouse and sit down together to plan what you do together. Be sure this all goes to the calendar so you don’t have to remember all of this. If you shop together, plan this as a date and write it on the calendar. Then be sure when you go out that you take a few minutes out of that shopping trip to go out for coffee and re-evaluate your outing to determine if you need more time to finish. Have your planner with you and be sure before you go home you are on the same sheet of music.
Aside from your planner have a notebook available where you keep all your notes together. In this notebook write down each person’s name you need to shop for. Beside each person try to think about what their likes and interests are. Write down at least 3-5 of them beside each name. This will enable you to better plan for the best gift for this person.
Remember, have a budget preset and stay in the boundaries of this budget. It is okay if a person only gets one gift if it means staying within your budget. Make this gift meaningful and from the heart. Be sure it is something they like and not something you like. Not everyone’s interests are the same. Use your money wisely because there is nothing worse then giving a gift You know they won’t like.
In this same notebook have a section where you prepare a list of the goodies you like to bake or cook, especially if you give them away to family, coworkers, and the community. As you prepare your list of treats and such, pull your recipes together so you can create a shopping list based on what you need to buy. This will help to prevent you from buying what you don’t need. This will help to keep you on budget.
Speaking of budgets, this needs to be planned out thoroughly. Include any decorations and trees that need to be purchased as well as a gift budget and your food whether it be for baking or your meal. Don’t forget to add any needed babysitter expenses as well.
If you are traveling, figure into this expense your gas, lodging, and any maintenance that may need to be done before your trip, ie… tires, oil changes, windshield wipers, etc.
If you take all of this planning into consideration beginning now, you will be sure to cut down on the mental exhaustion of mental check lists and forgotten costs and figures. It will all be in your notebook that will go with you throughout the holiday season. This way if you happen to see something on your list and it is on sale or limited in quantities you can get it and remove from your list.
The key to all of this and the ability to keep your sanity through this busy season is organization. The more organized you are the less stress you will experience. In turn the less stress you experience you will be able to enjoy the season and it’s many blessings. The blessings of the lights, the music, the decorations and the festivities.
Invest in your planning now. It will all pay off later when you are able to cherish the joy of this Christmas season.