December is a month to spend with family. Sometimes though, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s most important, reacting to holiday parties, school concerts, classroom treat days, and cultural expectations instead of planning a meaningful holiday season. Here are five tips to help you simplify your December and reclaim some quality time with your family.
1. Organize Your Holiday Gift List
Helping Santa get the things on everyone’s wish list can be quite a chore. You can simplify this with a list in your planner. List the names of your family members, the gifts they want, where you want to buy it, the cost, and a running total on your budget. Then, when you’re going through the holiday ads and find a great deal, you can write it next to the item on your list, saving you the trouble of bringing pages’ worth of mailers with you on your shopping trip.
2. Track Your Family Events
As your kids bring their school schedules home, take the time to mark their events on the calendar in your planner, and on your family calendar. Putting events up ahead of time can help you resolve scheduling conflicts with a minimum of hurt feelings.
3. Prepare for House Guests
If you’re planning on having family or friends stay with you for the holidays, or even just inviting people over for a party of your own, you will want to present a clean and organized house. If you have any organization projects that you’ve been putting off, it’s better to tackle them well before your guests arrive. Identify the tasks that need to be done, and then mark those tasks on the days leading up to your event, so you’re not rushing to clean at the last minute.
4. Make Room For Traditions
With all the holiday fun going on outside your home, make sure to make time for your own family’s holiday traditions. Whether it’s decorating the house, baking pies, dipping chocolate, or watching your family’s favorite holiday movie (“Stink! Stank! Stunk!”), don’t let the holiday rush crowd them out.
5. Schedule Down Time
Most importantly, as you look at your holiday calendar, make sure to schedule some down time. With many family members to visit, and all of them expecting a visit on the holiday itself, it’s easy for a series of celebrations to feel like a set of errands. Scheduling out visits on days other than the actual holiday can help make your holiday together time more enjoyable.