I was reminded earlier today that it is only 36 days until Christmas. But I am well aware the Christmas season is approaching because Kathy and I have been discussing (or maybe more accurately debating) when decorations should go up and when seasonal music should be playing. If you visit our cafe, you’ll soon learn who won.
Regardless of whether you think October is too late for holiday music to start or Christmas Eve is too early to decorate the tree, the truth is, the Christmas season, perhaps like no other holiday brings with it a variety of reactions and it means so many different things for everybody. For some it’s a time for anticipation, excitement, reflection and celebration but for others it’s a source of stress, disappointment and serves as a reminder of loss and pain.
Whether you love Christmas or simply endure it, here are 3 keys to making the most of the holidays.
#1 Budget Your Time
- Decide ahead of time how you will spend your time. Take out your calendar and begin with your most important priorities.
- Be realistic about how long something is going to take. We tend to underestimate how long things take whether it be the drive to the mall or meeting a friend for a coffee. Proper planning will help you avoid running late, disappointing others and frustrating yourself.
- Volunteering during the holidays is a practical way to give. Decide ahead of time the organization(s) you want to serve and when.
- Say “No.” This is an important discipline especially during the holidays. You can’t go to every Christmas party, craft sale or office get together. Sometimes saying no, even to good things is wise.
#2 Budget Your Money
- Decide now on the amount you will spend for gifts etc. and stick to it.
- Don’t spend what you don’t have. Choose not to go into debt.
- Relationships, not store-bought gifts are important. Remind yourself that no amount of money can take the place of you.
- Be generous. Christmas offers up numerous unique opportunities to give to others. Do your homework and decide ahead of time where your money will go.
#3 Budget Your Energy
- Don’t allow extra Christmas activities to infringe on your rest. Decide ahead of time that you will get what you need. (Probably more than you’re already getting)
- Build in margin. Your calendar could use more white space and only you can make that happen. Be selective in the activities you’ll participate in. You can’t do everything.
- Schedule down time. This may be especially true if you’re an introvert like me. If you recharge by getting alone, or being with only a few people, be sure to schedule it. You will feel better and you’ll have more to give when you’re in larger social settings.
- Exercise and proper diet are often casualties of the holidays but maintaining your regular routines will serve you well; you’ll be grateful you did…in January.
There will always be more demands on your time, money and energy than you are able to give. Make the most of the holidays by deciding ahead of time how you will spend them.
Q. What is one thing you look forward to this Christmas? Why?
Q. What is one thing you don’t look forward to this Christmas? Why?
How can budgeting your time, money and energy make a difference for you this year?