Did you enjoy the holiday season last year?  Or, did you feel stressed, over-whelmed, out-of-control, and thankful when January finally arrived? Were you wrapping gifts on December 24th (or possibly purchasing gifts on December 24th) or were you sitting back enjoying a quiet moment reflecting about the reason for the season? Many of us get caught up in what we “should” do during the holiday’s that we don’t enjoy what we “are” doing.  It’s rush, rush, rush – and crabby, crabby, crabby!  Not relax and enjoy.

The time to start planning to reduce the stress and overwhelm regarding your holiday season is now, not December 15th.  Getting organized is the key to managing a fantastic, stress-free season. Use this plan to decrease your anxiety and increase your productivity.

STEP #1:  Schedule two hours (or 2 one-hour slots) in your calendar to start this process.

STEP #2:  Imagine your ideal holiday.  What activities would you like to do.  Who do you want to spend time with?

STEP #3:  Create a list of the activities you usually participate in during the holiday season.  For example, baking, entertaining, gift purchasing, cleaning, decorating, caroling, cards, visiting relatives . . .

STEP #4:  Examine the activities that are listed in STEP #3 that are not listed in STEP #2.  If the activity isn’t a part of your ideal holiday – do you really want to do it? If not, what steps do you need to take to delete this activity from your holiday season?  Or, maybe you still do the activity, but you can delegate the majority of the pre-work to someone else.

STEP #5:  Create a list of supportive people.  Often the majority of the holiday prep falls on our shoulders.  Who else can help?  Start easing your helpers into the idea now!

STEP #6:  Create a checklist for each activity you want to do this holiday season.  Include the start date and person responsible for each activity.  Using “Send Greeting Cards” as an example, our checklist could look like this . . .

  • Task Person Target Date
    Determine list of recipients Mary Oct 1
    Decide if e-card, greeting card, photo greeting card, greeting card with letter John Oct 10
    Update addresses Mary Oct 15
    Schedule appointment with photographer Suzy Oct 1
    Write holiday letter Billy Nov 1
    Purchase matching outfits Mary Nov 1
    Purchase cards Mary Nov 1
    Purchase Stamps, ETC, ETC, ETC John Oct 15


If we start this process now, imagine how less stressed we will be around December 20th!  Keep all checklists for the holiday season in one binder for easy access year after year.

STEP #7:  Use your calendar!  Schedule self-care time, make a note of start dates for projects, and block of time for the important activities you identified in STEP #2.

STEP #8:  Schedule time in your calendar in January to evaluate this process.  Fine tune your checklists.  Add activities.  Delete activities.

Starting to plan for December now may seem a bit “overly organized”.  However, usually the stress we feel during the holidays is a result of running behind and cramming 4 weeks of “stuff” into 1 week.  Once you can determine what activities you want to spend your time on, who can help you, and when each needs to be started – you will be in control of your holiday enjoyment!

Wondering how you can utilize checklists in other areas of your life?  Contact me for a no obligation Find More Time Strategy SessionDuring this session you will gain clarity on your goals, uncover the hidden obstacles to your success, and leave energized to design the life of your dreams.  You are guaranteed to at least one Ah-Ha moment and actionable idea that will catapult your plan to success.


[Image credit: Keerati from FreeDigitalPhotos.net]