During the holidays, you want to spend time with the people you love most. But your to-do list is only getting longer. So how do you balance what you need to do with what you want to do?
For starters, take a break from the craziness of your schedule and think about what’s most important to you. Is it a stress-free Christmas morning where you don’t have to travel? Movie nights with the kids? Exchanging gifts with your best friends? All of the above?
Reorganize your calendar and your to-do list to reflect the Christmas you want. Being intentional with your relationships also means being intentional with your time. Here’s how you make it happen:
Step One: Look at your overall calendar.
Maybe you have a mental list of everything you need to do and when you need to do it. But it helps to have a written list or calendar to see the big picture. If your shopping needs to be done by a certain date, write that down. If your neighbors have a yearly bash on the second Saturday of December, write that down. The point is to see everything all in one place to get an idea of what’s happening when.
Step Two: What can go?
You don’t have to do everything that’s on your calendar. You are in control! It’s time to see what can go. Instead of decorating the whole house, keep it simple by decorating the tree and the mantle. Instead of buying gifts for all your coworkers, let it go. Instead of going to five Christmas gatherings, pick one or two. Take some of the pressure off yourself and free up some space on your list.
Step Three: What can you outsource?
Some stuff just has to be done. You can’t get rid of everything. But you can pay someone else to do the stuff you don’t want to. Maybe that’s a "splurge" house cleaning service or buying store-bought cheesecake for your Christmas potluck. Just work it into your budget, and feel the stress melt away.
Step Four: Redo your calendar.
Now that you’ve opened up some space on your calendar, keep it that way. Don’t accidentally fill it up with more commitments or tasks you don’t really want to do. It helps if you go ahead and write down the fun stuff you plan on doing, even if that’s just a night on the couch with your crew. When you see it on your calendar, you won’t feel the urge to fill that block with something else.
Being intentional with your relationships also means being intentional with your time.
The point is this: Slow down and think about what you really want to do this season. Don’t get so caught up in running around, buying stuff, and wrapping gifts that you forget to enjoy the people you’re doing all this for. And have a merry—and much slower—Christmas!