Most of us (especially those of us who tend toward being disorganized) fly through the holidays by the seat of our pants. We have a hazy notion of how we’d like to celebrate – visions not of sugar plums, but elaborate gingerbread houses, happy family dinners, a house decorated to the hilt and lots of laughter and singing (just like in the movies) dance in our heads. The reality, though, is a far cry from our fantasy as we can’t find the extension cords; half the lights don’t work and there seems to be a box of decorations missing…
What’s a clutterer to do to really enjoy the holidays?
1. Decide. Most of us react rather than choose. It is very possible to decide to simply enjoy the holiday season “as is.” That means we have to…
2. Pare down. Declutter our holiday expectations. If three quarters of the family is on a low carb diet, there’s no reason to bake and decorate dozens of sugar cookies. And it’s pretty unlikely we will be able to hand knit seven sweaters (one for each of the nieces) by December 15 (the last day to mail parcel post for on-time delivery) since we haven’t picked out the pattern, the yarn or even have the sizes of each girl.
3. Slow down. So many of us have the idea that all the decorating has to be done at once – and should be done the day after Thanksgiving. So we litter the living room with boxes of decorations and frantically unpack everything, putting things anywhere we can. Consider taking more time, perhaps making it an evening family ritual to unpack a few things at a time, reminiscing.
4. Enjoy the journey. In many church communities, the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the Advent season. Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The entire season is one of preparing.
5. Plan for next year. Keep a log or journal about what worked this year, what didn’t. Create an organized list of decorations and where they are stored. Consider building a holiday notebook to store things like Christmas card addresses, gift lists and recipes. This will give a jump start on next year’s preparations.
Focus on joy and giving. Don’t let stress rob you of the season.
Brenda Spandrio, The Declutter Lady