Get Yourself Organized for Christmas

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Yes, I was the crazy person. Sitting on the beach at the Oregon Coast, watching a late August sunset, reading about….Christmas. And worse yet? Getting ORGANIZED for Christmas. Who wants to spend the fleeting hours of their summer, planning for December?!  It turns out I do…and hopefully you will too.

Last year, I had the gift of being part of Kathi Lipp’s launch team for her book Clutter Free: Quick and Easy Steps to Simplifying Your Space Many of you took on the challenge with me to get rid of 2000 items in 2015. Kathi’s latest book applies this same principal to the approaching Christmas season. In her new book Get Yourself Organized for Christmas, Kathi shares easy-to-follow steps to reduce the stress and increase the joy of the holiday season.

Last November, Kathi began to post daily projects & simple steps to help focus on what you really value and want for the holiday season.   By being purposeful, it is possible to be present and to experience the depth of Advent and Christmas vs. checklists, commitments & overwhelming decisions. To have a “Christmas that is clutter free—free of emotional, physical and relational clutter”—is possible.

The first step Kathi suggests is spending time thinking about what is truly important to you…and to your family. I am often the one who is planning event after event, setting up art projects, baking plans and Pinterest ventures to keep the month of December meaningful and memorable. When I finally stopped and began to take a closer look at the holidays and what is really important (and fun!), the need for a picture perfect holiday began to feel hollow.

I asked our boys what they love the best about our traditions. Everyone voiced a love for driving around to look at Christmas lights, for making gingerbread houses and watching Elf. The long list I am a slave to was barely mentioned or touched upon. So…once again, I am editing and trying to pare things down. Simplifying.

Each of the projects Kathi proposes are smaller, allowing you to take on the planning in manageable chunks. After working on Project One, Creating a Holiday Mission Statement, I felt much more focused when making hard decisions about what to keep and what to let go of. If an activity or event began to feel more like an obligation or if it didn’t line up with our Mission Statement, it was crossed off the list. And by mission statement, it needs to be more than “To SURVIVE”.

Kathi encourages you to think through words that resonate with your hopes for the season…each year’s statement having the potential to be a little bit different. {some words to think through: time, energy, spiritual, celebrate, family, tradition, creating, friends, church, community, gift gifting, love, reflect, patience, solitude, connect, serve, peace, joy, activities, care, gift giving, restore, food, etc}.

Next, the second project had me at…BINDER. I loved Kathi’s idea to create a Christmas Binder which held a calendar for the month of December, recipes, menus, gift ideas, receipts, a budget, the to-do list, a list of present hiding places, Christmas card addresses and other tidbits in one, easy-to-locate place.  Rather than trying to track down items you “tucked away” or trying to locate a receipt for the present you sent that isn’t the right size, everything is in one place, easy to find.  Here is a link for some free resources to start getting your binder together.

The projects unfold from there…

  • buying Christmas card stamps
  • choosing a photo for your Christmas card (if you are sending them)
  • planning for purchasing, wrapping and sending gifts to out of town friends and family
  • compiling the MUST make, family-favorite recipes
  • ordering Christmas books or movies from the Library
  • setting a budget for gift buying

There are 21 Projects to help you prepare for the holidays and I have to say that last year felt so much more manageable. And now a year later? I can’t even tell you the gift it is to have already attacked the ever-illusive spreadsheet of addresses for cards or planning for some simple, daily advent activities.  All the work I put in last year is “paying off” in less stress this year.

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If you are feeling overwhelmed about the holidays as Thanksgiving approaches, I would love to invite you to join me as we enter into this season to be more intentional and calm. To break up projects that typically make you want to run and hide and instead be more purposeful, focused and stress-free. Be sure to check out Kathi’s new book and also connect via Facebook where she posts the daily projects as well.  Here is the link for her blog, another great place to get the current scoop.  If you want to take the challenge, click here!  Please share about your progress if you decide to take on the challenge.  I will be doing it again this year and love having a friend or two to keep me accountable!

 

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