Chasing Contentment

Monday, November 7

Every year, as the holidays approach, I sit down with our little family and talk about what we want from the holidays. It's important to me that we remember that we are in charge of creating our own traditions, that we can create our holidays in any way we wish, in whichever way best fills our souls.

This year, we are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm looking forward to it (as much as I look forward to any trip like this). We'll be able to visit with my extended family. Griff will get to play with his cousin, Zachary.

And I'll get to see old friends who still live in that area. Getting out of the family house to see friends is a hard thing to do when we don't visit as often as my grandparents would like and when we won't be there as long as everyone would like. But it's something that fills my soul, and so I will carve out the time for that.

As Mike, Griff, Eliza and I talk about what we want for the holidays, I have a specific set of questions that we each answer. Obviously, we won't answer them in as many details for Thanksgiving as we'll follow my parents' traditions while we are staying in their home. But our answers to these questions will determine how we spend the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.

Chel's Holiday Plan...The Questions
1. Make a list of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's traditions (one list for each holiday) that you enjoy. Each person names their favorite two holiday traditions or activities. (Last year, when I asked Griff his favorite Thanksgiving tradition, it was the 'big feast.')Add those to the list. Don't let the list exceed 10 items (unless your family's that big).
2. Make a list of holiday traditions that you hate. Go on, be honest. Ask each family member if there's any one thing that ya'll have done in the past that they don't enjoy. Add those to the list. (Griff said there was too much talking and not enough eating at Thanksgiving.)
3. Make a list of activities you'd like to do during the holiday season... go caroling, attend an Advent service at a church, drive around after dark looking at lights, rent holiday movies. There's no end to this. It's an initial list.
4. Make a list of people you'd like to send Christmas cards to. Think about whether you want a photo card or a plain store-bought card with a photo inserted or a card you design yourself. Consider if you'd like to say, 'screw cards.' It's a fine thing to say every now and then.
5. Make a list of all of the people on your gift list. Include everyone you can think of... family, friends, teachers, etc. This is the BIG list from which you can cut.
6. Make a list of charities you'd like to donate time or resources to this season.
7. Make a list of your favorite holiday foods. Let each person add to the list. Be sure to include one take-out or dine-out meal!

After the list is complete, I keep it around and rest for a few days before tackling the how-tos of making the holidays happen for us. Just answering the first few questions put us all in a cheerful state of mind.

[  posted by Chel on Monday, November 07, 2005  ]


Chel, I'm going to print off your's a great template for an organized Christmas season! I find myself getting lost in the sea of events, functions and responsibilities. This is a great checklist!

By Blogger Cindy, at 11:24 AM  

Thanks, Cindy! I love, love, love both the holidays & organization, so I'm good at the two combined. I've got other suggestions for gifts and such that I'll post in the next few days. Check back & I'll have them all under the Holiday section in the middle column.
Thanks for visiting!

By Blogger Chel, at 11:27 AM  

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