Plan Ahead for a Happier Holiday Season

Maddie the Christmas dog at Happy Simple Living blog

Our dog, Maddie, is a good sport about dressing up like Santa

October 10? Wait a minute. I’m just getting used to the idea of September being over — how did it get to be October 10th? The weeks pass quickly sometimes, and if it’s already October 10th that means November will be here before we know it. I suppose next you’re going to tell me that December will arrive just as quickly! A quick look at the calendar tells me that Christmas is about eleven weeks away.

A couple years ago I read about a woman who’d had to get everything done for Christmas by December first because her foreign in-laws were coming to stay for a month. The sweet surprise of the early deadline was that, for the first time in memory, she really, really enjoyed the holiday season. With all the shopping and wrapping and decorating done, she was free to enjoy the festivities and partake in the fun and true meaning of the season with her family and friends.

Oh, how this resonated with me — me who has been known to shop for a Barbie Glam Shower Set (that’s right) at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve, me who has hemmed my daughter’s velvet Christmas dress at 5:30 a.m. on Christmas morning, me who once mailed combination Christmas/Valentine’s Day cards. What would it take, I wondered, to get everything done early and actually be present during the month of December?

All Done By December One

"Are we going to an Ugly Sweater party?"

“Are we going to an Ugly Sweater party?”

Two years ago, I started an initiative called “All Done By December One.” Many of you participated with me in 2012 and 2013 as we collectively simplified, agreed to do less, let go of perfectionism, and tackled the remaining holiday tasks earlier.

Would you like to do this again with me?

If we start now and do a little bit each day, we can be less frazzled and more present during the holiday season this year. Let’s also be mindful of spending and agree not take on one single dollar of holiday debt. Okay?

If you’re a technology geek like me, you might enjoy downloading a free app called “Lift.”  To let it help you get everything done by December 1, you simply check in every day that you spend at least 10 minutes on holiday tasks. You’ll get a big, green checkmark, kudos from other users, and nice words of affirmation from Lift when you complete the task for multiple consecutive days. It’s surprisingly motivating! You can find our group here:  https://www.lift.do/plans/173111-10-minutes-doing-holiday-related-tasks. Or when you’re setting your goals, just enter “10 minutes doing holiday” in the search box and you’ll find it. But you definitely don’t need to use the app to participate.

I’ll share some of my own experiences and ideas about getting organized for the holidays in the days to come, and I hope you’ll comment and leave your thoughts and suggestions, too. If you’re “in,” and you’d like to be All Done By December One, you can affirm your participation by leaving a comment below.

Hugs and enjoy the weekend,

The signature for Eliza Cross

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.

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