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HolidayStressThe stockings are hung by the chimney with care in hopes that St Nicholas soon will be there…

You are probably not quite ready for stocking hanging, but with all of the preparation that you have done in the past 6 weeks you are most likely feeling a bit more together than usual for this time of year…at least I hope so.

That is the point…all the organizing and preparing enables you to slide through this last week, as opposed to frantically clawing your way through it. Take the time this week to enjoy the festivities and take care of yourself too. So many people get sick this time of the year and I believe that the stress we put ourselves through is a big contributor.

Self Care During the Holidays:

- Give Yourself Permission- lose the guilt and allow yourself the time you need to just be. If you need to spend some time meditating, going to yoga, relaxing with a good holiday movie…then do it! Give yourself permission to enjoy this time and to look after yourself. You are worth it!!

- Say No if you want- If there is just too many events and activities on your agenda then purge the least important and just say NO. Managing your time during the Holiday season is important to keep the stress down.

- Be in the NOW- Enjoy this Holiday season by living in the now…enjoy the moments you spend with family and friends without constantly worrying about what comes next. Breathe in the wonderful smells that surround you while you are cooking and pause a moment when you take that bite of Christmas Shortbread… use your senses and enjoy the moments!

Wow the time is going fast now, only 2 weeks till the big day. We are now heading into the home stretch where parties are plentiful and shopping is crazy.

anna and I at wendysAs the weeks pass the holiday parties are coming fast and furious. Office parties, Association and club get togethers, playschool cookie exchanges, socials, family gathering….an endless list of invitations. There are only so many hours in the day, with a limited amount of energy to take it all in. Back in the days when Martha Ruled it was about bigger, better, sparklier…however, these days it is about managing expectations and taking on only what you can reasonably do or manage.  

Holiday Entertaining Tips and Tricks...

Decorating the Christmas treeWell it is almost December and for most it is time to start decorating for the jolly season.  Some of us Christmas fanatics have already got our trees up and are ready to party, but for most now is the time to get it done!  I love decorating for this season, being organized is key for me to get things up and done quickly, but being organized for christmas decor normally starts the year before during the undecorating!  

For now here are my tips for organizing your decorating tasks for the season:

  • If you do not have any organization to your Christmas boxes then plan the time to get all your Christmas decor out and in one central place so you can take inventory of what you have.
  • Sort your decor according to what it is or where it will or may be used- Outdoor decor, kitchen items & decor, tree ornaments, etc.
  • Pick the place you most want to get done right away and grab the sorted piles and get work.
  • It is a great time to have a box set aside for those things you no longer need, use or love.  There are lots of organizations and people out there who would love your cast offs so pay it forward and donate those items now.  it is so much better to give them away BEFORE Christmas so they can be used this year.
  • Keep things simple if you do not love to decorate, a nice tree, a few key decorating items and some strategically placed Christmas lights can sparkle any place up quickly. If you want some inspiration check out  my Pinterest Christmas page. 
  • To make it fun get the family involved or invite some friends over for a decorating party!  

Week 4 Checklist…

CHRISTMAS PLANNERHere we go...5 weeks and counting. My goal is to help you simplify your Chritmas so you can enjoy the time and have some fun.  The holidays can bring out a lot of stress and gift giving is one thing that can not only mentally stress us...trying to figure out what everyone 'wants', 'needs' and will 'appreciate' but also can stress out pocket book.  Over spending and credit card bills is enough to drive us over the edge.  

We put a lot of pressure on each other to get the right gifts and it seems some days that you can never get it right.  What happened to the saying that it isn't the size of the gift that matters but the thought behind it. I truely beleive that if you put some thought behind the gift, add some love, then you truely can't go wrong. Our homes are over run with too much stuff now...do we need more gadgets and gizmos that will clutter it up more?  Really take the time this year to think about this.  

I got real simple with gifts years ago, I LOVE to bake Christmas cookies so almost eveyone on my list gets cookies - parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neices, nephews, cousins. Because I would much rather spend my time baking than shopping.  If you are a crafter, spend your time crafting something for your loved ones. If you love to shop and have the budget then go at it...have fun!  I still shop as I do have kids and a husband who do not want any more cookies lol...but I keep it simple, just one or two key gifts, some traditional stocking stuffers that they expect and a maybe something fun to play with (kids are 18 and 21 so they mostly want cash haha).

To me it is all about the fun and caring, gift giving is about honoring the person you are giving to...the 'thing' you give them is just a symbol of that love, a token used in the ceremony for you to say 'I honor you' and as a recipient for us to say thank you. Remember the 'thing' is not what counts, it is the thought that counts.  So you DO NOT HAVE TO KEEP THAT THING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE AND NEITHER DO THEY.  GOT IT? 

SO HERE ARE SOME SIMPLE IDEAS TO KEEP THE GIFT SHOPPING & GIVING ORGANIZED AND EASY THIS YEAR: