5 Simple tips on how to plan NOW for next year!

5 Simple tips on how to plan NOW for next year!

You are probably thinking “How am I supposed to think about next year’s holidays now, much less make a plan” I don’t even know what I am doing tomorrow much less months from now! Well, most of just get by and then the season is over and we rinse and repeat next year. We don’t actually stop to think about what we really want the holidays to be.  We all know that the holidays are a time when we are “supposed” to be focused on what we are thankful for and ways that we can give to others. Now, I am not implying that we don’t enjoy it, but we tend to focus on everything that comes along with the holidays, such as the cooking, the shopping, the cleaning, the wrapping, the house guests, the in-laws. Oh, and let’s not forget the children who were bouncing off the walls with excitement from sugar over load or in my case, I have two teens who decided the holiday break was a good time to “test” the rules! Our everyday tasks don’t go away just because it’s the holidays.  It’s easy to become overwhelmed and before we know it we are stressed and not enjoying the season.  How many of you have told yourself “this is going to be the year that I get it all done. “  How many of us actually get it all done?

A simple way to alleviate some of the madness is to make a plan! This is the perfect time to do it because once the holidays are still fresh in our minds. Then all too soon it’s next year again and it starts all over.  Sounds simple but most of us don’t think about making an actual plan ahead of time.  So, before we forget and we find ourselves feeling the same next year, take some time now to make your plan.

Let’s start with some questions that we can ask ourselves.  I want you to be honest with yourself – not me, but yourself.  Did you enjoy the holidays?  Were you stressed?  Were you always feeling like there wasn’t enough time to get it all done? Did you travel? Did you want to travel? Did you have house guests? Did you want house guests? Some of us get caught up in the Norman Rockefeller images and set unrealistic expectations about the holidays; I don’t want you to do that either. It’s easy to think we can do it all and before we know it the season is over and we are left feeling like, wow, what happened? So, how can we make a plan?

You are going to create some lists so you will need paper and something to write with or you can even create a document on your computer.

1.Create a stress list: Write down everything that is caused you to feel stressed.   Look at this exercise as a way to vent and remember you are the only person who will see this list, so don’t worry about what you write.

Stress List

Stress List

2.Create a wish list: This list is everything that you WANT to do ~ don’t worry about what you have to do ~ think about what the holidays mean to you. What are your traditions? Is there something new that you would like to do? Involve your family, kids are honest about what they like and don’t. Make the time to ask them and listen. They may want to do things that you haven’t thought of or maybe there is something that you think they enjoy when they really don’t. You might have to come to a compromise on what mom wants and what they want but remember what’s important to you.
Wish List

Wish List

3.Compare your lists: How much of what is causing you stress is on your wish list? What can you remove from your stress list? Go ahead and cross them off! Yes, there are always going to be some things that cause stress that we can’t take off our list because as much as we all want that  picture perfect holiday and no matter how much planning we do, there will always be some form of stress. You have to decide what you are going to change?  Don’t spend the season trying to make everyone else happy! This can be hard to do especially when it comes to family and all the expectations that everyone has. Sometimes we have let go of the expectations and focus on ourselves and what is best for our situation. If you are spending the season miserable is that really fair to you?
4.Make the plan: This list is going to help you navigate the holiday season! In order to create this list you are going to take your wish list and decide what things you are going to do during the Holidays. I have a list called “Holiday Traditions”. On this list next to each task make notes of what you will need, or anything that will help you accomplish the task. When we are in the midst of chaos we don’t always think or see clearly so any notes that you can make to help, you will be happy you did!
Holiday Traditions

Holiday Traditions

5.Schedule: Get out your calendar (you do have one right? If not, I want you to run, DO NOT WALK, and get one!) I want you to actually “schedule” a time at the beginning of the season (I usually do this the end of September/beginning of October because my list includes Halloween through the New Year) where you can schedule a time to plan out the holiday season using the document that you created as a guide.

 Now, doesn’t that feel great to have a plan all set and ready to go? I hope you will share with me what you thought of this little exercise and I would love to hear from you after next year’s Holidays to see if the plan helped you or not.


Enjoy YOUR day!