Let’s Do a Holiday Audit!

After Christmas

(Is that the worst headline in blog history?)

Dear friends,

I hope your holidays were very happy. While the celebrations are still fresh in your mind, would you like to join me in an exercise?

Even for those of us who try to simplify, Christmas can often consume a lot of time in preparation and planning. Taking a close look at how everything went this year may help us save time and money, and reduce stress in the future.

Would you like to join me in a short review?

Perhaps you’re like me, in that not everything went smoothly this year. One part of our festivities didn’t go like I had hoped, and I keep feeling bad about it. But let’s face it: rarely does everything go perfectly during the holidays.

So perhaps it’s good if we take a quiet moment and ask ourselves… what went right? Was there a special or unexpected moment of happiness in your holidays?

We had an impromptu dinner Saturday night with my former husband’s family. Jose passed away in 2016, after we were already divorced. Since then, I’ve been taking my son over to spend time with his Abuela and aunts and uncles. If they feel weird about having the “ex” back in the fold, they never show it; they just seem to love and accept us all. We enjoyed a cozy dinner Saturday night, and laughed and told stories and had a wonderful time. It was snowing outside, and we felt so warm and festive.  Pure joy.

How about you?

If you’re inspired to take a look back at this Christmas season, perhaps these questions will help you get started:

1. What was your favorite moment during the holidays?

2. Is there someone you feel like you blessed?

3. Whose generosity especially touched you?

4. Did you stay healthy and rested during the holidays?

5. Did you eat or drink about the amount you wanted to?

6. Did you stay within your spending budget? (Note: If not, the January Money Diet starts this Monday!)

7. What are you most thankful for this Christmas?

8. What meals, events, and plans worked well this holiday season?

9. Are there any annual traditions or gatherings that might need re-tooling?

10. Were you able to celebrate the spiritual side of Christmas to the degree you wanted?

11. Do you feel like you were able to give as your heart led you?

12. Were you able to minimize trash and waste as much as you would like?

13. What would you like to change and simplify about Christmas in the future?

Looking Ahead

Are there any steps you can take now to “pay it forward” to yourself and make next year’s holidays easier? This might mean giving away a bunch of unused decorations, or decluttering the wrapping paper stash, or updating the addresses on your Christmas card list.

You may want to jot a few notes to help you remember details a year from now. For instance, we had cheese and chocolate fondue on Christmas afternoon and all agreed that it was the perfect casual meal. So I made notes on the recipes about steps I can do ahead next time, and reduced the quantities a little bit so we won’t have as much left over.

Do you have any thoughts or suggestions to add to my list? Would you care to share your answers to any of the above questions in the Comments section of this post? I always love hearing from you.

Here’s to you, and may your new year be filled with fun and new adventures.

Hugs,

The signature for Eliza Cross

Grateful thanks to Frankie Leon for use of the Christmas photo above. 

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is a full-time writer and the author of a dozen books about food and home design. She has been blogging about simplicity and sustainable living since 2006.

6 comments to Let’s Do a Holiday Audit!

  • Joy C. Rockenbach

    I think it is always important to reflect on what went well, what didn’t, what to keep and what to do away with. Some years ago, after what I always refer to as “the Christmas from hell”…I determined that 1) I would give my husband the gift of no debt and 2) I would give gifts that you could either eat, drink, read or take a bath in–disposable and always the right size. I also don’t care if someone re-gifts. To ensure no debt, we started putting $20.00 a week into an envelope so in 50 weeks we had $1,000. when I saw $1,000 in cash, I thought, “I’m not spending that much money on Christmas!! So we are more thoughtful when spending cash, and…NO DEBT. I also never go to the local mall after Halloween!

  • Leisha

    I love this audit! I was just trying to make myself notes about the best and worst things and take action. These questions really help with the process! Thanks!

  • Yolanda

    Had a holiday filled with family. My youngest is shipping for boot camp next month and it was very nice to have him here. He wrote some very heartfelt letters to everyone. My Uncle, who was put into hospice and told he would not survive to Christmas 2016 is still with us. The gifts we did receive were modest yet thoughtful. I was happy to REALLY FEEL the spirit of Christmas this year and hope to keep that feeling into the New Year.

  • Pam Sartori

    This was a very different Christmas for our family. Our oldest son(29) was supposed to go to Florida for the holidays but changed his mind as he has a new job and didn’t want to request the time off. Our youngest son(25) was supposed to be here for the holidays but had an opportunity to go to California and off he went. We are still celebrating as we will have our typical “Christmas” dinner on New Years Day. It pays to be adaptable and I hope to carry that trait into the New Year!
    Here’s to adaptability!

  • Kim

    We had a packed December accompanied by several losses in the past few months. Not much inclination to put up a tree, so we didn’t. Did a fresh swag on the front door, lights outside, lights inside, and strung bright red chili lights on a big houseplant. Added holiday linens and a few larger family decorations. Displayed gifts in the living room, played Christmas music, and lit a winter forest candle. Voila! Christmas spirit!

    I love it, and I’m looking forward to NOT spending a day taking tree down and wrapping all the ornaments.

    We found that what we really wanted this year was light. Light in the dark days of early winter. Filling the house with soft, twinkly lights was perfect for us. (No kiddos in the house this Christmas, I should point out.)

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