Chasing Contentment

Friday, November 24

A few years ago, my friend, Aleece, confided in me how challenging the holidays can be for her. I told her it was all about organization and having a plan, and she said she didn't have a plan. So I shared mine.

And I'll share it again this year. I've made some minor adjustments to each phase of it due to the move and our change in situation, but it's essentially the same plan. And for me, the beauty of it is that with those adjustments, it can work for her or for me or for anyone. (There are days when being overly organized actually helps.)

Now, traditionally, I do this part of the plan before Thanksgiving, but this hasn't been a traditional fall for us.

Chel's Holiday Plan...The Questions
1. Make a list of Christmas and New Year's traditions (one list for each holiday) that you enjoy. Each person in the family 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. (Attention to everyone who has been on my card list in the past... I am NOT sending cards to anyone who doesn't send one to me first. Just so you know. Email me if you need our new Florida address.)

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.

This year, of course, since we've already moved past Thanksgiving, we've already put up all of the Christmas decorations, which also go a long way to getting me in the holiday spirit.

[  posted by Chel on Friday, November 24, 2006  ]


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