In many ways, this time of year is the most wonderful to me.
It's filled with excitement, fresh starts, newness and flawless school supplies (which you know I adore). There's the promise of apple crisp and football and pumpkins looming. It almost makes the passing of my beloved summer seem bearable.
But, today I am here to talk to you about the time of year the song was actually written about.
You know...that most wonderful time of year when you are stressed over money and to do lists? Our conferences and report cards also fall in December. Let's not forget the crowds. Aren't crowded malls fun? Don't they add to the wonderfulness of the most wonderful time of the year?
In case you didn't make note on your calendar today, we are exactly 4 months away from Christmas. Four months is nothing.
Here's the thing. I started to loathe the month of December. I was overwhelmed by the chaos and the waste and the bills and the wrapping and the chaos of it all.
And that made me sad.
I wanted to enjoy the holiday season and make memories with my son. I wanted it to be an experience and not a burden.
So I took charge.
A few years ago I started to give myself official deadlines for the holiday "to dos." People make fun of me and call me names (much like poor Rudolph), but I think it is because they are jealous. My deadlines are as follows:
Columbus Day weekend: all gifts must be bought
Halloween: all gifts must be wrapped
Thanksgiving Weekend: all cards ready to mail
I know you are flat out crazed with school stuff right about now, but trust me on this. It is one of the best things I have ever done.
I started by dwindling my gift list. I LOVE buying gifts for people when I find the perfect gift. I hate buying gifts for someone just to fulfill an obligation and "trading gift cards" seemed silly. So hubby and I had some heart to heart talks with some of the people on our lists and we agreed to stop swapping gifts and instead make a plan to spend quality time together.
As you know, I hate clutter. This comes in handy when the holidays roll around because I've worked hard to not add clutter to other people's lives. I try to give "experience" gifts whenever possible. If buying a gift card, I avoid cards that will be used to buy more clutter and instead aim for an experience:
tickets to a show
a gift certificate to a class, amusement park, museum, spa, etc.
Start by making a list of all the people you need to buy a gift for. Brainstorm some ideas for gifts. Acquire said gifts. Then wrap and deliver. Done! I made you a printable to help with the process.
Instead of running around stressed and bitter during the holiday season (which is where I was at), I enjoy the season and take it all in with the simple things. We bake cookies. We get together with friends. I host a ginderbread party for the kids. We watch holiday specials. I read by the light of the tree in my festive jammies while sipping hot cocoa. You get the idea.
So, it's August 25th. Hop on my bandwagon which is doubling as a sleigh, print my cute little organizer and get started. Stagger your purchases and I'll check in on you around Columbus Day.