Are you ready to turn your love/hate relationship with the holiday season into the best memory-making extravaganza you’ve ever had?
You can! It is actually possible to experience the wonder of a relaxed Christmas filled with joy and snuggles and amazing memories this year. And it’s not too late to get started.
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Two years ago I was dreading the holidays. We had recently moved away from our family, we were in a new town, our kids were making new friends, and I was looking down the barrel of a monster holiday calendar. Traditions, baking, travel, concerts, and all the rest filled me with fear and trepidation. How would I get it all done?
(Cue the screeching breaks here.)
This is NOT what Christmas is supposed to be about. Well, duh. But what could I do to change it?
(Cue the singing angels here.)
Enter my saving grace, aka Kathi Lipp, and her book “Get Yourself Organized For Christmas: Simple Steps For Enjoying The Season.”
I found this book through blogging and social media and I ordered it straight away. I am so thankful I did. I ended up going through it with some other moms at our homeschool co-op and adopted the ideas and concepts inside. I also constructed my Christmas Notebook which has saved my bacon on more than one occasion.
So, here’s the nitty-gritty. If you are tired of being tired during the holidays follow these steps to have your most relaxed Christmas ever.
Step 1: Buy the book
This is a no-brainer friends. Max, you’ll spend ten bucks. You’re gonna spend that on lattes anyway so just go get it. It’s easy to read, follow, and implement the ideas. Do it right now so it’s on the way. By the time you finish the other steps it could be at your front door. (Or faster if you get the Kindle edition.)
Step 2: Find yourself a notebook
If you are an office supplies geek like me this is the most exciting part. A new notebook. Who doesn’t love a pretty folder where you can keep all of your notes, printables, calendar, lists, recipes, and other goodies? Merry Christmas to you!
I took an old ugly yellow folder and covered it in red, silver, and gold sparkly washi tape. It’s totally kitsch but awesome at the same time. It’s my lifeline during the holidays. And each year it’s ready for me to fill with new info while all my old info is already in there. BAM!
Step 3: Download some printables
The most awesome Thanksgiving and Christmas printables I’ve found are at iMom.com. Seriously, I’ve been using them since my kids were small and they do the trick year after year. Why try to reinvent the wheel? That’s not relaxing.
My favorites are the
There are tons of others you’ll want to explore but start with those.
Step 4: Talk to your family
None of this planning works if you don’t agree on it as a family. From cards to concerts, from mission to movies everyone will enjoy a more relaxed Christmas when you decide together what to do and how to celebrate.
One of the most surprising things I learned from reading this book and then talking to my family was how little they valued things I thought were really important to them. But at the same time I was surprise at what they consider to be a big deal. I found out they don’t care about going to the Nutcracker (sniff), they want to watch Elf (awesome), and they demand rice pudding on New Year’s Eve (yummy).
When I took all of their wants and needs into consideration the whole season became more fun, relaxed, and enjoyable. And I keep talking to them because my small people are now tweens and their tastes are changing. I want to be sensitive to them as they grow and mature.
Step 5: Think outside the box
It’s okay to change things up. If something doesn’t work for your family then feel free to let it go or do it differently.
The best of example of this for our family is our “Christmas” card. I send them in July. Wait, what? You can do that? Yup, you can do that.
We have always taken our annual family photo on July 4th. In the past I saved the photo for our holiday cards. But after reading this book I realized how much I hate spending the time to choose, design, order, and mail our cards in December. The cost is also an extra ding in our budget that I’d rather spend on gifts.
So, I decided to send our cards in July. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. I save money and time, and I relish in the fact that our friends and family will have the time to sit down and read our card. What else have they got going in July? It’s a win-win.
What tradition or “must-do” is on your list that you can change-up to make the season more relaxed. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
Step 6: Enjoy your relaxed Christmas
Once you figure out why you are celebrating, how you want to proceed, and then get organized you will be amazed at how enjoyable and stress-free Christmas can be. And once you create your notebook you’ll be able to come back to it year after year.
I’m on my third year of using my notebook and I love how organized it’s keeping me. I’ve got some sections than never change such as the food section where I store all our favorite holiday recipes. I don’t have to go searching for them, they are right there.
I also keep our Advent scripts in my notebook. Each year we go through the amazing Advent scripts as prepared by Katharine Barrett in her book “Walking to Bethlehem.” It’s perfect for kids of all ages and it’s become a meaningful tradition for us away from the hubbub.
Of course I’ve got my printables, my calendar, and a place for gift receipts. You’ll have to pick what works best for you and put it in there. Don’t worry if it changes from year to year. This is an organic tool that will change and grow with your family. But heck if I’d want to try to do Christmas without it. No, thank you.
The holidays are an amazing time of year when you should be able to focus on the reason for the season, your family, and find opportunities to unwind. If you start getting organized now you’ll be amazed at how easy and stress-free your season will be.
Enjoy a relaxed Christmas this year. Don’t let the stress of you’ve always done dictate your life any longer. Let it go, let it go (sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
If you want some good ideas for New Year’s Eve with tweens and teens, check out these Fun New Year’s Eve Traditions For Families.
Are you ready to get organized and have a relaxed Christmas this year?