4 Ways I am “Saving” Christmas This Year

Does this sound like you? Every year when Autumn comes around, and the Christmas stuff starts going on sale, you think, “This year I’m going to be organized and not wait until the last-minute.” But, then you blink and Christmas day is here and it’s like, “Whoa, where did the time go?!” (Please tell me I am not the only one!)

Well, THIS year, I have made a firm decision to really make a change. THIS year, I’m going to really be organized, relaxed, and actually enjoy the Advent and Christmas season. I am “saving” Christmas for myself and here are four ways you can save it for yourself, too!

4 Ways I am Saving Christmas This year

1. Change Your Mindset.

Instead of the go-to response, “Ugh, I am so not ready for the holidays,” this year, I am going to embrace the onset of the holidays. The holidays are a gift! They are a time to give thanks, spend time with loved ones, play with traditions, and, most importantly, to remember that God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, became man for our sakes.

Jesus, the Living God, born of Mary, became a BABY. Jesus is the reason for all the festivities of the next few months – no matter what the stores or the world says. Therefore, when stress or angst about the craziness of the season gets to you, take a couple of minutes to slow down, breathe, and remind yourself of what is important.

2. Learn to say NO.

You know, you really don’t have to say yes to every opportunity or “obligation” that comes your way. Just say yes to those things you really want to do or to those things that bring joy to your life. If you feel like you can’t say no, say “maybe” instead. Take some time to check you calendar and think about whether you want to say yes or not. If you don’t, a simple, “I’m sorry, that won’t work for me.” Is enough. You owe no explanation to anyone!

Remember, you control your calendar. If something is on the calendar, it is there because you added the item. It is up to you to leave margin in your schedule. If you don’t control your calendar, it will control you! Or, at least, everyone else will control it for you.

BELIEVE me, I know how that can be. There are a lot of good and enjoyable things that happen during the Advent/Christmas season. I hate to miss out on good things, too. Nor do I want to let anyone down, either. It is so much easier to yes something rather than face the self-imposed guilt of saying no. In the end, though, it’s not worth it. In order to keep sanity, to stay healthy, and to actually enjoy the holidays, you  need to say no to some things.

3. Enlist Some Help.

You don’t have to do everything yourself. Delegate what you can or ask your spouse, children, or other families to help you with what you need to do. If you can afford it, you can even hire some temporary help. Get a one-time housekeeper to do a deep cleaning of your house. Use photo cards so you don’t have to handwrite every card and then have your children (or a teenager looking to make a couple of bucks) stuff, lick and stamp the envelopes. Of course, baking is one way to get the children involved – even if it makes for more work in the clean-up afterward!

With a little creativity, I am sure you can come up with tons ways to delegate your many responsibilities. Maybe getting help for the next couple of months will inspire you to continue to delegate into the new year!

4. Plan Ahead.

It really does make a difference if you can take some time to plan what you need to do and when. Getting, and staying, organized isn’t that hard if you have a plan in place.

Last year, I made a Christmas planner that made a difference for me. Unfortunately, I thought of it too late so it wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. So, I got myself in gear early and created one for 2017. I am already starting to use it and love it already! I was expecting to keep it to myself but when I told some friends about it, they wanted one too. So, I went ahead and created two: A dated planner for 2017 and an undated planner to be used for multiple years.

I will tell you, right off the bat, that it is nothing too fancy. There aren’t any pretty fonts or fancy tables. It is a clean-cut, straight-to-the-point planner that gets the job done – just how I like it! And, because it is in an e-book format, you can either print out the whole planner at once or just print out the pages you want.

To get the 2017 dated planner go here, and for the multi-year, undated planner go here.

Resources

I will be using the Advent Prayer Journal again this year. Using it last year definitely helped me keep the focus on the meaning of the season.

This year, I am hosting my first (free) virtual Advent retreat. It will be done via Facebook Live in my FB Prayer Group. More details to come soon, so if you aren’t in the FB Group, you can join here.

I’m not Making Goals This Year and Here’s Why

If you are a regular reader here, you know that a few years ago I switched from making “resolutions” to making “goals.” It was more of a mindset and perspective thing but it made a difference for me. I made those goals specific and measurable and I made great strides in accomplishing my goals.

I'm Not Making Yearly Goals This Year

Nevertheless, I sometimes got overwhelmed looking at the whole year and everything I want to do. (Anyone else?) Last year in 2016, especially, was a challenge for me. I struggled physically, emotionally, and felt like failure when I feel behind in my goals/plans. Some goals, like the making videos, were dropped altogether.  By October, I knew I needed to make a change but felt stuck.

That is why I decided not to make yearly goals this year, and instead, I made an outline. As a writer, I often read or hear about the importance of using outlines to guide authors in their writing endeavors. Thus, I sat down and wrote a broad outline of the things I want to accomplish for 2017 and used my calendar to fill in deadline dates. As the year progresses, I will readjust monthly and quarterly.

How does this look like?

For example, I want to write/create a lot of books in 2017. Thus, I  made an outline of how many books I want to write each month for January, February, and March. Then, I took my calendar and picked a “due date” for each book. Then, at the end of each month, I will re-evaluate and see if my goal is realistic or needs tweaking.

For January, I want to create a planner and a short grammar guide (for my carolda.com website). Thus, I took some time during the week between Christmas and New Year’s to fill in the blanks: I created a working title, scheduled writing time, and made a bare-bones outline of the books themselves.

Basically, instead of making goals this year, I am scheduling this year. 🙂

I am really excited about this plan and I can’t wait to see what the New Year will bring. I am ready to take better control and be more intentional with my life and business! How about you? What are your plans for the New Year? What are you doing to take control and make 2017 your best year yet? Do share!

P.S. Don’t worry, I won’t bug you will posts every month and/or quarterly with updates!

The ‘Ultimate’ Christmas Planning Toolkit

Christmas Planning Toolkit

Please excuse the “shameless” plug but November is next week and I wanted to make sure you knew about the ‘Ultimate’ Christmas Planner Toolkit I created.

Every year Advent/Christmas comes and goes so fast that it is hard sometimes to stay organized, sane and truly focused on the true meaning of Christmas. Do you have the same problem or is it just me? 🙂

That’s why I created the ‘Ultimate’ Christmas planner. It is a 96-page e-book chock-full of templates and lists that will help you keep track of everything you need and want to do during the Advent/Christmas Season. Actually, NOW is the time to start planning for the holy-days and this planner includes templates for Halloween, All Saints Day, Thanksgiving and more.

Here is a run-down of what is included in this toolkit:

  • Calendar Templates
  • Budget Template
  • Wish List
  • Gift Lists
  • Greeting Card Lists
  • Thank You Card List
  • Online Confirmation List
  • Menu Plans
  • Baking Plans
  • Grocery Lists
  • Recipe Template
  • Housekeeping Templates
  • Decorating Templates
  • Party and Entertainment Templates
  • Family Craft Template
  • Tradition Celebrations Template
  • Movie, Reading and Music Lists
  • Self-Care Template
  • Pet-Care Template
  • Inspiration List
  • To-Do Templates
  • Blank Note Pages

All you have to do is print out the pages you need, use a 3-hole puncher and put the pages in a binder. Keep the binder in a convenient spot and complete the templates as needed. 🙂

The toolkit is $10 and can be purchased through my Etsy Shop or by clicking the link below.

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