This month we invite you to join our No More Holidaze series - a weekly guide to help you take control of the holiday season, so that you can get through it appreciating the joy of the season, rather than feeling dazed, frazzled, stressed and exhausted! The first week is all about planning it out!
You know that old saying "if you fail to plan you plan to fail"? That holds true for a lot of situations. The holiday season is no different. Our wish for you, is to spend the month of December enjoying your family and the holiday traditions you love. In order for that to happen, our goal is to have all the necessary holiday shopping and prep done by the end of November. Are you with us? Here is how we make it happen:
- Sit down with your favourite beverage and a pad and pen, or your electronic device of choice.
- Before we start planning, it is so important for you to declare your Holiday Manifesto. This is where you determine what it is that is the most important for you this holiday season. How do you want to feel, and what activities, places or situations make you feel that way? Is it special traditions with your family? Is it certain food or recipes? Is it travelling to be with family?
Whatever it is, declare it now and use that as a guide for anything that goes into your plan. Does it fit with your intent for the season? If not, it has to go!
Let's start planning! First, write a list of everyone you will give a gift to this holiday season. Then set your overall budget for gifts this year. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to give more, or outdo ourselves each year. But the important thing here is, we don't want the stress of a huge credit card bill in January. We shouldn't need to go into debt in order to have a wonderful season. As tempting as it can be to go over budget to get just one more gift - you will feel so much better after the holidays if you didn't overspend.
If the money available doesn't stretch as far as you'd like it to, get creative! Remember, not all gifts have to be purchased, they can be homemade too! Shopping new-to-you is so much easier on your budget (and YES! It is totally okay to gift new-to-you items). Or you can give coupons for your time.
If you have a rewards card with unused points, you might be able to order gifts or gift cards with no extra cost to you.
You can also start a gift exchange with a group of people so you don't have to buy a gift for each person.
- Take your budget and assign an amount to each person on your list. Make sure that the total doesn't go over your overall budget. Bonus points if you can also jot down gift ideas fitting that budget next to each person.
- Now that you've planned your gift list, it's time to plan your food! Most people will cook and bake much more than usual in the holiday season (check your Manifesto again, does it fit in for you?). Make a list of your must have meals or treats (if you don't want to make them yourself, plan which ones you need to purchase and from where), be sure to include any delicious foods you may use as gifts.
Again, create a realistic budget for the extra ingredients you will need. Your regular grocery budget will need to be boosted for the season, or you'll end up overspending.
- Time to plan our events. Do you have specific family events every year? Perhaps moving to digital get-togethers that should be scheduled in. Does your child have school concerts, or recitals coming up? Any work related events? Write them all down, along with any special preparations needed (costumes, dress wear, food to bring etc.).
Remember your Manifesto! If any event ends up taking away time, energy or money from your true desires for this season - take it off the list! Stick to what is truly important for you and your family.
Congratulations! You have taken the first step in saying no to Holidaze! With a plan on paper (or in cyberspace) you have freed up precious mental space and you can stay more present. You can relax and know that we are moving towards a relaxing, fun and inspiring holiday season. Join us next week when we will take another step towards our Manifesto!