Every year, I set out in mid-November to “enjoy the holiday season.” To me, that means not rushing, stressing, and feeling pulled to complete so many obligations. Instead, I imagine watching as many corny Christmas movies as I want, wrapping gifts with time to spare, being done with shopping before the stores swell with holiday shoppers, and really relishing the time with friends and family. Well, hahahaha (or should I say Ho Ho Ho?) It never happens.
This year, I’m on track to really do this.
Running for office left me with a very open calendar in November and December because I didn’t know if I’d be training for taking office, finding staff for a January inauguration, and setting up my life for this new honored position. With the results not being what I’d hoped, I had November and December available to me like never before.
It seems so obvious, but what was wrong all those other times, (and even what was wrong with my coaching advice for years) was that being concrete about where one could say “no” is just not enough. It’s enough to help enjoy the holi-DAY, a special event here or there, but not enough to create a season that is really fun and joyful.
Shopping early enough to avoid crowds, taking my time with all the things that used to be last minute, really indulging in connecting with people who want to get together before the year is out, and having the time to plan and strategize the new year has been like pressing “pause” on the usual holiday chaos. It’s truly a pleasure.
This year’s schedule was an unintended bonus, and I now know what it feels like to have the holiday season I’ve always intended. Once we feel it, we have sense memory. Our body remembers, and so will our cognitive memory. We can’t unknow what we now know!
So, if I were to make this repeatable and shareable so you can do it too, I’d say:
- Move a lot of your business planning to early fall.
- Keep your days light in November and December (allows for spontaneity).
- Take advantage of stores being open very early (before work or right after school drop off!)
- Bake your goodies early and freeze them.
- On any night that you cook, make double so you’ve saved yourself time another night.
- Decorate early too. It feels like holiday longer!
- Chill. Just ratchet down the holiday hysteria and give up perfection … it ain’t happening!
I hope there’s still time to put this in place for the last two weeks of the year, but if not, start planning for the next. It takes that much intentionality. I promise it’s worth it.
And while you’re at it, planning your new year should include our Now What? Home Study Kit if you are up for a career shift.