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November 24, 2012

Your most important holiday lists: Sanity takes planning

Step back in time to 11 months ago, on one of those winter holiday preparation days when thousands of us swore that next year would be different. We will not wait until the last minute. We will not overspend. We will have a budget and a list. And there will be no more insane mall parking lot nightmares waiting for an open spot only to face gridlock when trying to leave. 

Last year was going to be the last year that the beautiful holiday cards sat in the box tormenting us every day as we proclaimed that tomorrow there would be time to sit down and write heart-felt notes to all family and friends, until January came and the box was packed up with all the other decorations that barely made a debut.

Many people who say that they loathe the winter holidays really don’t despise the entire time, just certain parts of it, and feel trapped into having to repeat certain rituals year after year. Get ready for this year’s holiday season by taking a good hard look at last year. What made things stressful? Too expensive? Too exhausting? Then ask yourself what your favorite things are about this winter holiday time — these are things to write down as you begin a new way of celebrating Christmas.

If you dread Christmas-card writing, groan from the constant get-togethers, fear crowded stores or have no fondness of cookie baking, this is all information to write down. If there never seems to be enough time and money to do it all, you are most likely correct. But it does not have to be that way. It all begins with a few simple lists starting with List One.


This is not as much a list as it is a reminder note to yourself about why this holiday is important to you, what your idea of a nearly perfect holiday is and what are a few things that you can do for yourself along the way to add joy to preparations. The note might include things such as how giving gifts makes you feel, how wonderful this holiday’s special foods are and the religious/spiritual significance of this time of year to you. Memories play a major role in how we perceive a holiday as being great, but commit to making new memories this year instead of relying on what once was.

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