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How To Have A Hassle-Free Holiday Season


Kathy Gates, Professional Life Coach

Do you know that some people actually relish the hustle and bustle, the crowded parking lots, and the singing Santas that comes with the holiday season?

But even if you're not one of them, you can have a hassle-free holiday. Try these simple steps to put you in the mood for a happy, healthy, easier holiday season.

Make A Detailed Plan:

1. Buy a spiral notebook that will be used for your Holiday Planning Guide. (I keep mine from year to year, stored with my wrapping, so that I can remember what I gave who the year before, correct addresses, etc.)

2. Prepare a separate page for individual lists of things you need to do (travel plans, gift list, card list, special dinner list, special clothing list, decorations list - whatever applies to your holiday style). Under each heading, write the specifics -- people and gift ideas, dinner menu and ingredients, travel itinerary. If several of these things go together, I tend to put them all on one page. For example, "Party at Judy's-Dec 2", would include the outfit I want to buy, the food I'm preparing, and the gift I'm taking.

3. On each page, put the approximate amount of time you think it will take you to accomplish each of your lists - shopping for gifts, writing cards, wrapping, setting up the tree, cleaning the house for guests, etc.
- then DOUBLE IT! And schedule it.

Avoid Distractions (or at least prepare for them):

1. Watch out for clutter at this time of year. With the extra decorations in place, ordinary clutter can be a real distraction. Get those extra magazines, books, and "stuff" into some boxes and shove it under the bed or into the garage for the holidays. After the holidays you just might decide you like the cleaner feeling and decide to garage sale some of it.

2. Forgo window shopping for more targeted shopping. Do some initial looking and planning from catalogues and the internet, so that when you have the time to be in the stores, it will be productive time.

3. Be aware of your personal habits that tend to distract you. Have a plan to head them off. What usually slows you down - lack of money? lack of time? lack of energy? Actively look for ways to head this off. If there's no extra money at the beginning of November, it's not likely to materialize the day before Christmas.

Don't Procrastinate! First Things First:

1. Put your energy where it counts. Need to ship gifts? Buy those first. If you have a party on Nov. 22, and another one on Dec. 5, be sure to put your energy into Nov. 22 first.

2. Schedule specific times to shop, clean, pack, etc. Stick to the plan. If you're a natural procrastinator, this is the hard part. Write it down in big letters, post it on the door, on the refrigerator, in the car. Set yourself up to shop, clean, pack, at certain times, and keep the reminders in front of you at all time.

3. Pick up a few items for your holiday meal each week, instead of doing it all at once. Canned goods, spices, etc. are easy to buy even a month before the dinner. Put them all together on a specific shelf so you can easily see what's still missing.

4. Do a little each day. Write out three things (example: buy Christmas Cards, get out decorations, order Bob's gift from JC Penney's) you would like to take care of each day between now and Christmas, and do them BEFORE LUNCH each day..

Have FUN!

1. Take time for yourself - just 20 minutes a day will do - to recharge, refresh, and rejoin the holiday spirit.

2. Listen to happy, silly holiday songs, not the sadder ones.

3. Count your blessings, however small.

4. Make it a priority to schedule in what you consider the *fun* part of the holiday whether that's throwing a party, or a quiet night with your special someone, or going out to look at holiday lights. It's only once a year - enjoy it!

Professional Life Coach Kathy Gates helps people who are burned out, stressed out, and fed up to get back in touch with the foundations of their life.

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