I get so giddy when the holiday spirit starts to fill the air! The season is incredible for what it brings to families and communities. But along with peace and joy, it brings busier schedules, longer to-do lists, stressful moments, and a whole heck of a lot more stuff coming into our homes. There are extra gifts, decorations, mail, errands, and longer lists this time of year. We know it’s coming — or is already happening — so let’s be intentional to make space in your home and schedule. These ways will reduce your stressful moments and add to the magic of the season!
Best ways to have a stress-free season and make room:
Purge the Kids’ Toys
Kids are excited for the new toys that are under the Christmas tree. But toys take up a lot of space in our homes. Before you open gifts, partner with your kids to purge through their current toys. Create “Santa’s Bag” of toys to give to other kids in need or donate. Your kids are able to make space for the new toys while being encouraged to give to others. It teaches habits and new traditions of giving.
Corral the Paper
End of the year tax papers will start to arrive. Create a folder for Tax 2020 so those items can go directly into the folder instead of getting mixed in with the normal mail. You can deal with the tax items after the new year. Other paper that needs to be dealt with, should go into an Action folder to be addressed each week.
Don’t let Holiday Cards Linger
Christmas greetings arrive via mail, come home from kids’ school programs and work events. Assign a bulletin board, wall, or basket to hold the holiday greetings. At the close of the season, discard the cards unless you plan to actually do something with them, such as put them in a book. Don’t keep the cards because you feel bad throwing them out or have misled intentions to do something “someday”. They are intended to be a holiday greeting, not a permanent fixture in your piles of paper. Resist shoving them into a drawer to deal with later — because you’ll never be ready to deal with them.
This time of year is exciting because we decorate our homes with holiday spirit, lights, and garland. But there is always extra decor in the box we don’t put up. If there are decor items you haven’t displayed for more than two seasons, it’s time to put them into the donate pile. Don’t keep items that are out of style only because you spent money on it or might use it someday. Keep your decor current! Additionally, decor clutter can take over our home and make us less efficient. Be sure to keep the main work spaces in your home clear of decorations, such as the kitchen table and counter. Decorations are supposed to add to your life not take away, so you need to be able to function in common areas.
Create a Gift Wrapping Bin
Set up a gift-wrapping station to wrap gifts. If you have space, have a table set up out of the way with the trimmings for the season. If you are limited on space, have a container of the essentials that can be pulled out and tucked away when not in use. Or, plan to wrap all the gifts at once so you don’t have to deal with the mess multiple times. Put the wrapping completely away when the wrapping season is over.
Make Useful Lists
Lists help us get things done, if we actually utilize them! It’s a busy season so a daily list with bullet points of essentials can help keep you on task. Determine what needs to be done in person vs. online and be wise about how you spend your time on the road. Group your errands so you don’t stand in line at Walmart more than you need to and utilize curbside pick-up. Shopping local is wonderful too! Make a list and check it twice!
Plan ahead for Food + Treats
If you plan to give treats or bring food to holiday gatherings, find recipes for goodies that can be made ahead of time and put in the freezer. The days are short when you have extra food to bake, so plan ahead and utilize your freezer. If you receive food as gifts that you won’t consume in a timely manner, wrap them up in freezer safe bags and store them for the New Year. The gobs of chocolate trays can be more thoroughly enjoyed if they are spaced out over time.
Give Gifts Wisely
Many women I work with already have a stash of gifts waiting to be used — items that were purchased ahead of time and either forgotten or lost. Before you buy new, go through your current gift stash and use what you can. If you buy additional items this year, be sure you buy with intention so your gift stash doesn’t keep growing. Make a list for each person you need to buy for and what the item you’re buying so it’s clear when you go to wrap. And you’re less apt to buy extra.
Watch for Tradition
Making space for more items helps make the season less stressful, but so does making space for new and old traditions. Carve out space for time with family and friends. Keep your eyes open for ways to spread the holiday cheer and serve others. Making space for others in your season goes much further than making space for more stuff.
As you make space to manage all that comes into your schedule and home this season, may your heart be ready to celebrate the reason for the season, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Need help creating space in your home this season or in the new year? Take advantage of the free holiday gift — a 15 minute call to learn next steps for more order in your home and life! Schedule here.
Merry Christmas to you and your family!