Are you getting stressed out that there are only two weeks left and you've still got so much to do? I'm with you. But I'm trying hard to enjoy this month instead of seeing it pass by in a blur. There are too many good things all around me every day not to stop and relish them. Friends, family, time outdoors, good books, good coffee, Christmas movies...there are lots of blessings every day leading up to the day of ultimate blessing.
So I'm not worrying about my 'to-do's', and instead employing the organizational and simplifying tricks I use so successfully at work. On design jobs (and in my previous office jobs) I'm a big-picture thinker and a list-maker. I visualize the desired outcome, keep it high-level and don't worry too much about perfecting the details, then make a list of what I need to do to get there. I'm employing these same tactics for Christmas in the next couple of weeks.
This weekend, I'm simplifying what I need to do to entertain friends and family. I invite you to join me in decluttering, cleaning, visualizing, taking stock, making a list (and checking it twice) and then re-stocking only what's necessary to accomplish your goals.
First, clear out your kitchen countertops and cupboards of under-used, broken and outdated appliances, containers, pots and pans, glassware, dishes and food. Take it to a local charity, toss it or store it away until after the holidays. When you have have more space to work with, it's easier to bake, cook and put out plates for guests. Then do a top-bottom high-level cleaning of the common areas in the house - the kitchen, dining room, living room and guest bath. Scrub down the appliances and sinks, and the table and chairs. Take a duster quickly through the entry and living room. Give the floors a good vacuum and mop. You don't have to get super picky here - just make sure that the main areas are clutter and dirt-free. I'm a Virgo, so this in itself calms me down, but even if you're not a clean-freak like me, it should feel great to have your home ready for whatever the holidays bring.
If you've not done much decorating yet, keep it simple. Just bringing in some greenery, natural décor and even a bowl of fruit can make your home feel festive without having to spend a lot of time or money. If you missed them - check out this post and this one for simple DIY holiday decorating ideas.
Now, take a minute in your spacious, orderly kitchen to visualize what a simple holiday season might look like. Think about entertaining a little less. Baking a little less. Buying a little less. Think about spending a little more quality time only with those you really love and value. Are you out skiing or hiking for the day with a packed lunch? Watching movies and drinking hot chocolate? Enjoying board game and pizza night? Does this vision make you happy? Then this is the outcome you want to achieve, and all of your activities after that should support it. No need to complicate things by preparing more big dinners or hosting more people than you'd really prefer to, or stressing over having plates loaded with sweets in case company drops by.
So now you need to make some lists. The first is a list of the baking and cooking you will want to do and/or have prepared to accommodate your perfect holiday vision. The second is your grocery and supply list. Now go to the store and stick to your list. Bake and prepare ahead of time if it will make things easier, or simply have things ready to go when you need them. Have self-serve food like oatmeal and fruit out in pretty containers where others can get it for themselves. Make a snack drawer to store everything in serving dishes so they're ready to whip out when needed. Have your coffee, tea and hot drink station stocked up. Then sit back and relax. You've had a productive weekend and it will pay off over the rest of the month when things will flow easily.
Hope you are slowing down to enjoy these days and weeks my friends. Happy holiday season.