Christmas Encouragement

5 Simple Christmas Tips to Reduce Holiday Overwhelm

It really is the most wonderful time of the year even if we feel slightly crazy!  However, as a grown-up, the lists are long and all in addition to our normal full lives.  This season can leave you overwhelmed in a hurry.  I don’t know about you but I can get pretty grinchy!   Today, I am sharing 5 tips that reduce holiday overwhelm so you can enjoy this magical season.   

5 Simple Tips To Reduce Holiday Overwhelm

1. Do a Brain Dump & Create a To-Do List

I get overwhelmed by the number of items that need my attention.  Not to mention all the decisions that need to be made from what to get my dear Aunt Sally and what to serve for Christmas dinner.  

Sit down and get it all down on paper.  There’s something magical about taking what is in your head and putting it on paper.  Suddenly, you can think again!  

 

holiday to do list

 

2.  Do A Little Everyday

Once, you have your to-do list.  Take a look and prioritize what needs to get done first.  As you get deliveries, open up the boxes and place everything where it goes.  Wrap the items you can.  

3.  Use Throw-away Minutes & Set a Timer

We all have those moments in our day.  5 minutes before you need to pick up your child from school.  10 minutes before you need to leave for your appointment.  Usually, we hop on social media and start scrolling.  

Instead, set a timer and get to work.  Often times we don’t start a project because we think it will take a while.  Our competitive side comes out when we are racing a clock and I am always surprised how little time a task takes.  This works great with kids too if you want them to clean-up!

4.  It’s Okay to Say No

Every “yes” to something means a “no” to something else.  Make sure you are saying YES to what really matters.  Saying “no” doesn’t mean forever.  Maybe, it’s just not the year for Christmas cards or you can’t attend that charity Christmas party.  It’s okay to say no so that you can say to the best stuff this season!  

5.  Ask for Help

There is no award for preparing for Christmas all by yourself.  So much of it falls on our shoulders but our kids and spouses are happy to help.  Yes, you might have to let go a bit of control but just think you are teaching your kids how to prepare for Christmas, a good life skill.  Look at your list and see what you can delegate. 

 

daily journal with Christmas cup

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6.  Fill Up so You Can Pour Out

This time of year, I believe the lie I don’t have time to work out or do my morning quiet time.  What ends up happening is I become crabby.  I worked out the other day and my son said: “mom you are in such a good mood.”  So, what fills your cup?  You might not fit in a full hour workout but can you do a quick run or walk on the treadmill?  Can you get up 20 minutes early to enjoy some quiet?  

Make sure you are getting enough sleep too!  The fastest way to crabbiness for me is lack of sleep.  Caffeine can only go so far. 

Just Remember…

As You Prepare for Christmas, think about how you can make whatever you are doing more enjoyable.  Try lighting your favorite holiday scented candle and turning on some of your favorite Christmas music.  Overwhelm happens to all of us but it doesn’t have to stick around.  Take some time to jot down it all, fill your cup and little by little you will be prepared for the most magical time of year!

 

Still Needing Some Christmas Gift Ideas, check these posts out – 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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10 Simple Ways to Prepare for Christmas in November


It seems there are camps this time of year. You are either Camp Thanksgiving or Camp Christmas is coming. While I love everything about Thanksgiving, I also do most of the heavy lifting for Christmas in November so I can enjoy the season even more. So, what do I do now? There are 10 simple ways to prepare for Christmas now and if you do them, you will thank yourself later!

 

1. Create a Christmas Shopping List

Go ahead and print off a printable shopping list like the one above and start making a list of all the people you need to shop for and ideas you have. Once you have that started, you can determine what you need to buy and where.. When you have a plan and a list, you are more likely to stick to your budget and shop purposefully.


2. Create a Christmas Budget

This could be interchanged with creating a Christmas list. For me, I like to determine who I am buying for and then set a budget from there. For my husband’s family, we draw names and have a set price limit for each gift (around $30 for kids and $40 for adults) which really helps. I tend to stick to the same price point for other family members too. Then I also determine what my kids want and establish a reasonable budget for their gifts. There is no need to go into debt to celebrate the most wonderful time of year.

3.  Begin Shopping

Now that you have a list you can begin shopping.  Often times on Amazon things go up in price as the season goes on.  Last year, my son wanted a particular lego set and the price jumped 30% after Thanksgiving.  Supply and demand people.  Shop early!

I also was that parent buying a $20 American girl dog from a 3rd party vendor because it was sold out on the website and that was THE ONLY THING my daughter really wanted for Christmas.  Don’t risk items selling out if you see it and you think you want it, buy it and tape the receipt to the item.  You can always return it.

Check out these gift guides for great ideas to get you started –

Advent Calendar Gift Guide

Elementary Age Boys Gift Guide

Family Games Gift Guide

Picture Books Gift Guide

 

4.  Create a Christmas Bucket List

There are only 24 days until Christmas in December.  You might say that’s obvious but inevitably if you don’t plan for the things you really want to do, your days will be filled with other engagements.  Every year, we plan to go to a lighted holiday display and have a pizza picnic in the car, I put that on the calendar now so that we don’t miss it.

The Simple Purposeful Living Shop will be selling a simple, fun and purposeful Advent Activities kit. The kit comes with 43 perforated ideas to put in an advent calendar so you can plan to do a little simple fun with your family.  Buy yours here.  Bonus, $5 from every sale of that kit goes back to adoption care as part of the Simple Purposeful Living Gives Back project!

Annual Christmas Lights and Cocoa Party
 


5. Plan Your Family Christmas & Christmas Parties

If you have family and you are coordinating when to have Christmas, start planning now.  Have you ever tried to coordinate 2-5 families’ schedules and find a date that works?  If you have, then you know it’s good to plan early!  Be flexible with one another,  although Christmas is on December 25th, the spirit and purpose of Christmas can be celebrated on any day!

It might be an office party or inviting your small group over for a Christmas meal, but whatever it is, it’s good to let people know early so they can mark their calendar and gives you time to plan a fun party.

Need some party inspiration, check out these posts –

Snowball Party Games

Adult Party Game Ideas

Simple Spinach Artichoke Dip Recipe

Simple Baked Mexican Dip Recipe

 

6.  Find & Purchase Christmas Attire

It’s never too early to think about what your family will wear for Christmas.  For some of you, this is not important but it’s one of two times a year I try to have all 3 of my children coordinate, the other is Easter.  The days are fleeting they will comply.  Even if you don’t want to dress clothes, who doesn’t love matching holiday pajamas?

Last year I waited too long and it was hard to find coordinating clothes and pajamas in all the different sizes.  Take it from me, shop early so you can get exactly what you want.

7.  Prepare Christmas Cards

Go ahead and take a family photo or compile some photos from the year and order your cards.  Places like Vista Print or Shutterfly have some great options.  Right now Vista Print is running 50% special with code NOVEMBER19 and Shutterfly is running 50% off + extra 20% sitewide.

You have time to gather all the addresses of your card recipients, get stamps and get a fun, festive return address stamp.  Create an assembly line with your family and get them all ready to send and then mail them right after Thanksgiving.

 

8.  Purchase Wrapping Supplies

It’s a great time to stock up on Christmas gift wrap.  My favorite place to buy it is Hobby Lobby.  Their paper is thick and high quality and you get huge rolls.  Costco also has large packs of tissue paper for a great price.  Don’t forget bags, gift tags, bows, tape, and scissors.

Once you have purchased all your supplies, create a space in your home, maybe a spare bedroom or a drawer in a buffet or dresser so you can be ready with all the essentials in one spot.

 

 

9.  Create a space for your presents

Around here little minds will want to know what I have bought so I create a space in our storeroom to hide all the presents.  I hide them in totes out of eyesight and reach.  I will periodically pull all of it out to make sure I have everything I need and crossed off the list and wrap it all up.

Many times the Christmas totes that are emptied of decor are where I hide all the presents :).

 

 

 

10.  Put Up Your Exterior Christmas Decorations and Lights

Especially if you live in the midwest,  it’s safe to say the cold is going to set in soon (if it hasn’t already).  Take advantage of a warm day in November to put up all your decor.  You don’t even have to turn them on but when you are stuffed full of turkey the day after Thanksgiving all you have to do is plug them in.

 

Are you motivated to get started now?

No matter what camp you fall in – Thanksgiving first or bring on Christmas, you can do these few simple things now.  I promise you will thank yourself come December when you have fewer items on that to-do list.  Give yourself the gift of a headstart this Christmas season.  You don’t even have to put up the tree.  What are you doing now to prepare for Christmas?

Don’t forget to get your kids a fun advent calendar?

Advent Calendar Idea for Every Age

You might also like these Christmas-related posts –

Christmas Home Tour

Bake Now Serve Later Quiche

5 Tips to Stay Sane

Have you Lost your Christmas Spirit?

Christmas Party Game Ideas

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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When Christmas Gets Overwhelming

It was my first time hosting a holiday.  Scott and I had been married 2 years and I was 5 months pregnant with our first child. It was the time to show my domestic-ness (you know what I mean).  I decided not to ease into hosting, my first mistake.   I went big like Clark from Christmas Vacation and hosted both of our families.  It was going to be great.

I decided to cook the ham in an electric roaster oven while we were at church.  When we got home I opened the door and was hit in the face with smoke.  My ham was now a brickette and I had a moment.

My husband and mom tried to comfort me but I would not have it.  I was a hormonal mess and my first Easter was ruined for sure, there was no protein for my meal.  What would I do?  They dashed off to the only store open on a holiday and found canned ham. I served canned ham on my first holiday.

I got overwhelmed and the burnt ham and forgot what mattered.

When Life Gets Overwhelming

Don’t we all get overwhelmed? Especially at Christmas with the presents, the menu, getting everyone to agree on matching pajamas, find the perfect Christmas outfit and wondering if everyone is going to get along around the dinner table.  If you are overwhelmed, you aren’t alone.  I have too.  So did Martha!  Do you remember Martha from Luke 10:38-42?

Martha got overwhelmed hosting Jesus and had a moment!  She confronted Jesus! Say what?  Now, Jesus in all his wisdom did not fire back a snarky response when she asked if he cared about her.  Instead, He said she was worried and upset over many things but few were needed.  Indeed only one and that Mary (her sister) had chosen what was better.

Jesus wanted Martha to know that although her heart was in the right place and she was doing all these things to serve him that she missed out on being with him.

What Really Matters

The lesson, we can learn from Martha is remember that although the details are good, there is something greater.  All Jesus wants for his big birthday bash is our presence with Him.  When was the last time this season you sat down and talked to Him?  Laid your burdens, woes of family drama and burnt ham at his feet?

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed but Jesus reminded Martha to let your worship inform your work.  Give the gift of your presence to Jesus.

When I ask my dad what he wants for Christmas, he always says the same thing – time with us.  Jesus, our heavenly father, wants the same thing.  Although we can never repay him for his great gift of salvation, all he wants from you this Christmas is the gift of your time. He will give peace to your overwhelmed soul.

praying hands and bible

Christmas Encouragement

Here’s some Christmas encouragement.  God’s word says He will refresh your soul, order your day and give you a heavenly perspective that we desperately need when we get lost in the details.  We all get overwhelmed but turn to Jesus and give him your cares and let his peace wash over you.

Watch the Full Message

I shared this message at a recent women’s event.  You can watch it on Simple Purposeful Living’s YouTube channel.  Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss future videos!  Watch here.

You Might Also Like

Have You Lost Your Christmas Spirit?

5 Simple Christmas Tips to Keep You Sane

 

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with BeckyAndrea

Have You Lost Your Christmas Spirit?

This time of year conjures up all sorts of feelings.  You may be grieving the loss of a loved one, experiencing financial stress, feeling over-tired or over-worked and the list goes on and on.  You may be overwhelmed by the to-do list that’s nearly as long as Santa’s and your little ones aren’t nearly as helpful as his elves.

Have you lost your Christmas spirit? with holly

Have you lost your spirit?

Whatever the cause, you really just want to know how to go about finding some joy.  Where is that joy hiding?  Is it at the bottom of the 3rd cup of coffee?  It’s not, I already looked there.

To top off the long list of stuff that is added to your plate, you have the stuff that was already on your plate.  You know the feeding, clothing, laundering, shuttling and loving you do all year through.  Most of the work associated with Christmas preparation falls on your shoulders and no one needs to tell you, your shoulders are looking slumped.

They might say: “This season will pass, they are only young once, let the wonder of Christmas in your children fill your heart.” None of that really works.  No amount of close proximity to your children (and there is a lot of that) will rub the Christmas spirit on to you.

So what’s a person to do?

Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28

From the lips of Jesus himself.  The very man who came into the world as a tiny infant, the very reason we celebrate Christmas.  He never meant for Christmas to become what it is today.  He didn’t mean it to be about presents, parties, cards, carols, cookies, trees and stockings.

He meant Christmas to be about peace, joy, redemption, restoration and healing.

But he can’t impart any of that on to unless we give him time and our heart.

Go to Him in your weariness, with your sorrow, your to do list, your financial burdens and your calendar.  Seek Him more in the chaos and craziness.  He can and will restore your weary soul.

In Him, we will find the Christmas spirit we are after.  It’s not in the best wrapped presents, Pinterest-worthy Christmas party, most delicious cookies, the joy in others, or a beautifully appointed tree.  Read my story here.  

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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