Christmas is basically one great list, isn’t it? In my planner I have shopping lists, present lists, house decorating lists, even a list of lists in case I get lost!
I think my to do list is the longest one. It’s got such top choices as ‘clean the downstairs loo’, ‘mop the kitchen floor’ and ‘change the sheets’ on it alongside more familiar Christmas items as ‘go carolling’, ‘get the cards posted’ and ‘decorate the tree’. My own list for Christmas Day, ready now since I am that keen to plan ahead (ahem: it is last year’s printed out and altered slightly) is only two sides of closely typed A4 paper. With delegated names marked next to the things I can pass on to others.
I wish I could say just throw the lists away. Alas, if we did that there is a real chance Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the food, presents, cards…. but I can ask you to take a long, hard look at them.
- Does the list have to be quite so long? Look at every item, be ruthless. Adopt a Konmari Christmas mindset. If it doesn’t give you, or someone you love, joy, then pass on it. Your time is precious, so spend it well.
- Do you have to do everything on the list? Delegate, or make a family affair, out of as much as possible. Get the children to help with the cleaning, tell the Other Half that they need to do XY or Z to get the show on the road. Be clear about what you want and expect beforehand, supervise for the first few years. Say thank you when they are done, and let it go.
- Lower your expectations of perfection. Don’t read the magazines and aim for a Christmas that looks like theirs. That Christmas is done by models, in July, in a heatwave with a professional photographer. Good enough is a beautiful mindset.
Now, that should have cleared a lot of stuff. Of the items that are left, some of them are definitely chores (work) and some are fluffy details (pleasure). Both will be vastly improved by adopting a positive mindset. Reframe the chores as Home Blessings (you can read about Home Blessings on Flylady) and gather your kit before you begin, so that they are done efficiently. Make believe you’re Cinderella, listen to or watch a favourite programme and enjoy the work. And take satisfaction in it when it’s done.
For the pleasurable items (I include things like writing Christmas Cards, wrapping presents, decorating the tree in this list) make each of them into a ritual: another little pleasure for you on the way to Christmas.
Keep your cards in a scented tin, so that when you open it a waft of orange and cinnamon comes out as well. Make a pot of tea, nibble at a Christmas treat and write the cards over the space of a week, or a fortnight instead of a mad dash on one day. And try to get them done early, but don’t worry if they’re not. I love getting late cards, it makes the season stretch.
Decorate the Christmas Tree by candlelight, play the soft music, sip mulled cider or spiced apple juice. Get the children to help, or send them away with friends so that they can have a big reveal when they return. Make the task into one that you can enjoy.
And present wrapping is fun when done in a team, so that each one takes responsibility for wrapping, labelling, be-ribboning or packing into bags. Grab a friend or a relative, get together with a bottle of Prosecco and either wrap every one’s pile of presents at the same time, or allocate a day per person and move from house to house.
No where is it written that Christmas must be done one way or another. Nor is it written that you have to do it all. Use your common sense, take care of yourself and see if this year you get to the 6th of January without needing another holiday.
Self Care at Christmas is in my new Christmas book
Have Yourself a Happy Hygge Christmas is available now, along with my other books.
If you purchase through the links on this page, I get a couple of pence extra per copy, and if you’ve already read them and enjoyed them, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. I have a Goodreads Author’s Page!
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