As a corporate event planner, the time between Halloween and just before Christmas is my busiest time of year. It flies by, somewhat painfully, but always in an instant and it takes every part of my being not to be swept up into it. So here are a few of my strategies for making the most of the holiday season and as always, the goal is more about thriving than surviving!
I also truly believe that the following strategies apply to any month of the year, not just December. Let me know if you agree!
1. Take a Tool from Santa’s Arsenal
Santa has a list and he’s checking it twice! Don’t wing it…it never ends well. What “needs” to be done, and what do you “want” to do to assure that your holidays are a success? Write them down…make it happen. From grocery lists, to gift wish lists…from party schedules to holiday card address lists, they all need to be done to help guarantee that you won’t be nose pressed to the glass of the locked door of Target on Christmas Eve night!
2. Remember that Perfect is Boring
You’ve read those braggy annoying holiday letters with wordy paragraphs about their children’s high IQ and their tropical vacations abroad. You see the houses with the lights strung in perfect alignment with every window, gutter and sash on the house. You’ve received the meticulous holiday sugar cookies that appear to have had the organic raw sugar applied with tweezers for perfect distribution. Here is what I have to say to “those people”…your perfection is boring! I would much prefer to have the real story, the half flung on lights and cookies that taste way better than they look. Because there is ALWAYS a story behind it. Find your story and own it. Don’t get caught up in perfection…it’s so not becoming!
3. Give the Gift of You
How many times have you been so caught up in making “this the best holiday ever” that you are a bear to be around. This happens to me every time I make a cake for the boys’ birthdays. As they are pulling on my apron strings to ask me a question or need something and I yell, “Can’t you see I’m busy making your birthday special?!!!” This is something that I can only see clearly after the fact however. So take it from me. You will have a much bigger impression on your family with five dozen mind numbing games of Candy Land then by spending 6 hours store hopping to find the perfect stocking stuffers. Make time each day to actual enjoy the holiday season, and not keeping your eyes only on the holi-day.
4. Give Up Your Right of Way
Recently friends of ours went to Hajj, which is the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca that is required of all Muslims. It’s just a little trip with 3 million other folks—a bit more extreme than the crowds on Black Friday. So before going, one of their family members that had already gone gave them a piece of advice—give up your right of way. In other words, when you encounter the crowds, the pushing and the rushing, as they are inevitable—let the others go. Don’t be the pusher, the rusher, the crowder. And they said it was the best piece of advice they could have received. Since hearing this, I’ve practiced it in my everyday life. Need to change lanes? Let me slow down a bit and let you in. Have only a few items in the checkout lane? Please go before me. Are you going inside? Let me get the door for you. It’s my tiny gift that I’m giving over and over in a day and it makes life so much more peaceful…for me.
Whether you celebrate a holiday in December or not, I hope you have a peaceful month and can take a few of my tips from my toolbox for this month and into the New Year!