The holiday season often feels like the stress of the entire year wrapped up into one month. We do little to no preparation and everything should have been completed yesterday. It isn’t like this for everyone. There are people out there that are so organized that they begin prepping for their holiday celebration and gift giving the week before Valentine’s Day.
They can’t sit with us.
This is written for the people that are forced to acknowledge the season because they can no longer ignore the life sized, inflatable reindeer with a flashing red nose sitting on your neighbour’s lawn.
The house won’t be decorated and the presents won’t be wrapped if we continue sitting on the couch waiting for the latest Netflix download, so let’s get this done.
Research & Planning (What they want and how much it will cost you)
Does your mom need another pair of fuzzy slippers from Costco? How much it will cost for you to get your hands on the toy that Amazon has declared as the hottest on the market? Can we get away with re-gifting last year’s unopened toys back to our kids?
Writing a list for Santa shouldn’t be an activity that is exclusive to children. If you are lucky enough to have friends and family that are forthcoming with their wants for the holiday season, then you should consider yourself very lucky because these people are on your team. Collaboration is the only way you can move to the next phase. Perhaps you should reward them with bonus candy canes?
Strategy (Preparing for battle, AKA shopping)
It’s time to find the gift.
Online shopping is for the careful planner. The mall is for the rest of us. A trip to the mall in mid-December can have you feeling defeated before you have even left the warmth of your car. The sane choice would be to re-evaluate your life decisions and just drive back home. The strongest among us will persevere by circling the parking lot for hours because we have stuff to do!
The best plan of attack is to arm yourself with a list in one hand and a clear map with all exit clearly marked in the other. “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” Walk with purpose, and go as early as possible. Are you ready?
The only problem is that this advice is actually useless and it won’t work.
Any visits to the mall in December will end in disaster and you will have to make peace with it. You can reward yourself with a trip to Starbucks when the task is complete. Good luck.
Execution (The Gift Exchange)
The day has come and you don’t have any more energy, time or money. Were you able to find every gift on your list? Were you able to find a suitable replacement for the gifts that were sold out? Did you just give up and buy a bunch of gift cards and fruitcakes at the grocery store?
The most gratifying part of the season is the sharing and gift giving. The stress and headache was worth it. The crowds, the time and the fight you had with the teenager who stole your parking spot are long forgotten.
Whether you spent $10 or $500, everyone is pleased that you thought of them at this time of year.
You have been running on empty for almost three weeks but the task is complete. The post- mortem of the holiday usually ends with a resigned declaration that you will plan better for next year and this will never happen again.
We shouldn’t be resigned to the inevitability of a stressful holiday season. The entire month of December should be about reflecting on the previous year and making plans for how to make the next year even better.
We want to look ahead with a well thought out plan for the entire year. Why can ‘t we approach January with the same vigor and strategy that we used for December?
Let’s turn 2019 into our own personal, step by step project that we will research, plan, strategize and successfully complete. This will be your year to thrive.