Welcome to www.OnlineOrganizing.com -- A World Of Organizing Solutions Your Order Your Shopping Cart About Us Contact Us Site Map
Do You Need Help Getting Organized?Shop For Organizing And Business Development ProductsProfessional Organizing ServicesFind A Seminar, Workshop, Or Keynote SpeakerRead Our Two Free Monthly NewslettersFree Organizing Tips And AdviceResources For Professional OrganizersLearn How To Become A Professional OrganizerUseful Organizing Website LinksUseful Organizing Website Links

Search for:


You Are Here: Home - Blogs

NEW! - Keywords For This Page:   Holidays - The Mental Side - Simplify - Time Management - Tips And Tricks - Organizing E Book - Boundaries - Special Occasions

Blog: Simplify Your Life
Your Holiday Not-To-Do List

It's time to make this festive season a bit more sane and reasonable. Let's start by taking a look at all of those traditional holiday "to-do's" -- and whether or not you need to actually be doing them all!

Know Thyself, Know The Season

Do you spend every holiday season grumbling about everything that you have to do? My first question is, if something makes you bitch and complain, why are you doing it? If your answer is, "Because it's a holiday tradition," my response will be, "So what?!" The first key to creating a peaceful holiday season is identifying those holiday traditions that you enjoy and those that you don't. When you spend your precious time and energy on activities that you don't find rewarding, you are destined to become frustrated and cranky. So go ahead and be honest with yourself before the season even starts. Make a list of every possible holiday "obligation" that you can think of. Your list might contain (but not be limited to) the following:

  • send greeting cards
  • bake holiday goodies
  • decorate the house
  • shop for gifts
  • wrap gifts
  • make the holiday meal
  • attend church services
  • go caroling
  • volunteer
  • visit extended family
  • visit friends
  • spend time with spouse
  • plan family get-together
  • spend time with kids
  • decorate the tree
  • clean house
  • shop for food
  • attend a concert/play
  • watch holiday TV
  • visit Santa
  • look at lights
  • host a party
  • attend a party
  • take a walk in nature 
Now, here's the fun part -- circle those items that you enjoy doing and absolutely don't want to miss this holiday season. Then cross out those that you hate, despise, and dread. Be honest here! If you loathe baking, don't try to convince yourself that this year you will turn into Donna Reed with a batch of homemade gingerbread -- ain't gonna happen! And you can get very specific if you need to. You might love visiting with your parents, but can't stand seeing your critical Aunt Louise. That's fine -- make visiting your parents one activity and seeing Aunt Louise another. It might be a good idea to have everyone in your family make their own lists -- everyone has different ideas about what activities are joyous and which ones are miserable.

Fitting In The Joy

Now take a look at your list -- which items did you circle? Did you feel so strongly about some activities that you double-circled them or put a star by the side? Those are your true priorities -- and no matter what you do this season, you need to make time to fit them in. Notice I didn't say "find" time -- the best way to assure that you will never get around to doing something is to say, "I'll do it when I find a few free minutes." Somehow, they never seem to appear until you MAKE it happen! If you want to include an activity in your holiday season, schedule it into your calendar. If walking around your neighborhood with your family singing carols and looking at holiday lights is a priority, sit down together and pick an evening and have everyone block it off. It's as simple as that.

So at the start of the season, decide ahead of time which activities on everyone's lists are the most important.  Of course, you'll have to be realistic about what you have time for -- you may only have enough room in your schedule for each person to pick three priorities instead of eight. And you may need to do a little trading with your loved ones -- "I'll go to Christmas Eve services with you, and in return I'd like for you to go for a nature walk on Saturday with me." Creating harmony in any situation is about compromising -- just don't allow yourself to bend so far that you give up all of your priorities for someone else's. Everyone should feel that his or her needs are being met.

Let Go Of The "Have-To's"

The big question now is "how do I fit in all of these priorities when I've got chores to do?" It can seem hard to make time for the good stuff when you have so many other obligations. Those "have to's" will absolutely kill you! But why do you "have to"? Are you being graded on how much you accomplish during the holidays? Are you going to be judged harshly by others if you skip out on the cards or parties or baking this year? (and why do you care what those kinds of people say about you in the first place?!) A simple "no" should be sufficient -- especially if you run across an activity that everyone in your household has crossed off of their lists. Remember, the only things that you "have to" do are pay taxes and die -- putting up a Christmas tree isn't required!

Let me share a story to illustrate. A while back, my husband and I had a really rough year and decided to skip out on the traditional family Christmas get-together for the first time in our lives. We chose to go on a trip by ourselves -- cross-country skiing in the middle of nowhere in Colorado -- instead of spending the holidays with relatives. And since we were going out of town so early in December, we only put up minimal decorations and didn't send any greeting cards. We worried and worried that we were going to offend someone with our crass insensitivity -- but do you know what happened? Everyone we talked to (family included) said, "Boy, I wish I had the courage to do that!" It turned out that 90% of the people we knew had considered doing the same thing at one point in time, but had never been able to walk away from the pressure of the "have to's." Well, we had a marvelous time (one of our best Christmases ever), everyone loved hearing about our trip, and we now take a holiday vacation every other year.

The lesson here? Just because you think that you "have" to, that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone else feels the same way. Most people are overwhelmed by the holidays and would like for them to be easier -- but no one seems willing to make the first move. Be honest with folks about what you want and don't want this year, and you may find your to-do list dwindling all on its own!

read the original post of this blog

posted on: 12/14/2010 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

Simplify Your Life: < Previous Post - Next Post >
Blog Central: < Previous Post - Next Post >

Discuss This Post

There are no comments.

Add a comment about this post:
(Note: To reduce blogspam, HTML tags are not permitted in blog comments and will be removed)
Please Enter The Following Code:
In order to cut down on SPAM, we ask that you enter the code exactly as shown in image below. If you can't read the code, simply select "Load New Code" and a different graphic will appear. Cookies must be enabled on your web browser.
Code Image - Please contact webmaster if you have problems seeing this image code Load New Code
Powered by Web Wiz CAPTCHA version 2.01
Copyright ©2005-2006 Web Wiz


Simplify Your Life

by Ramona Creel

View This Blog

   Subscribe To This Blog

About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter, check out my Facebook profile, and subscribe to my feeds.

Ramona's Website:


Ramona's Other Blogs:

Ramona's Favorites:

Add this page to your Bookmarks!

E-mail this page to a friend!

www.OnlineOrganizing.com is a service mark of Bradford, LLC.
Content on this site is © Bradford, LLC, All rights reserved.

If you notice any problems with this site, please contact our webmaster.
And if you don't see what you need you are welcome to "ask the organizer" any question!

To see what people are saying about www.OnlineOrganizing.com, check out our visitor comments.

Click here to view our privacy policy.

Calendar Of Organizing Holidays And Events Blog Central Sign Up For Our Free Online Newsletters Join The Conversation At Our Organizing Discussion Board Advertise Your Company On Our Website Be An Affiliate Of www.OnlineOrganizing.com
Check Us Out On FaceBook