Managing the Stress from Christmas

This year, Christmas caught me completely off guard. I was completely unprepared for what Christmas would bring: from the decorations to the presents, it was all stressful.
My daughter's birthday is December 12 and we spent the last several months preparing for her BIG 1st birthday party. After that, I didn't even get a day to relax before I was making a Christmas Present list and ordering our gifts on Amazon {thank you for free 2 day shipping with Prime!!}. As our gifts started rolling in, the idea was to wrap them as they came in..didn't happen.

I was out on the 23rd shopping for last minute stocking stuffers, my husband was out on the 22nd getting our presents and I was up until 3 am on the 23rd wrapping presents so I wouldn't have to do it Christmas Eve. So we {my husband & I} decided that we need to make a plan for next year so that this is not us again.

So I am putting my plan here in blogland for 2 reasons:
1. Accountability - I give you permission to yell at me if I don't uphold my plan.
2. Reminder - I can come back to this next year and make sure that I have a plan to follow.

The Plan:
Shop through the year/Start early: For my husband, mom, dad and brother - no one gives me a list of what they want. So, it is up to me to be creative. For my daughter, I can always pick up stocking stuffers. Throughout the year as I am shopping, I am going to be picking up things as I find them. I will put them in our Christmas Eve box {if they fit} or in our "other holiday" box in our storage area. I have created an Excel Spreadsheet that I can update throughout the year, and created a shortcut on my desktop, if it's not easy to get to, I won't keep up with it.

Create a Decorating Plan: Pinterest is great. It gives you so many awesome ideas for decorating for the holidays, wrapping presents, Christmas card inspiration and food ideas. It is also overwhelming. I have put on my Google Calendar November 1st to start coming up with a decorating plan, for each room. I end up having decorations up until February and put away somewhere else because I don't know what I have or it goes up so late I hate to take it down so soon.

Put Everything on the Calendar: There are some things I can add to my calendar to do. For example: Christmas cards. I have put on my calendar a date to think of what picture I would like to include, when to get the picture done by, when to order cards and now when to have them all sent out by. {Confession, I just sent out my last Christmas cards today}

Start wrapping December 1st: I love wrapping presents. I actually would love to be one of the wrappers at the mall. I just love wrapping presents. However, this year, my present wrapping was the worst it ever was. I was rushed and it felt more like a job I had to do than something fun I enjoyed. It completely diminished my Christmas Spirit.

Create a way to remember the real reason for Christmas: With all of the worldly stresses from this year, it wasn't until Christmas morning, reading from Luke that I took a moment to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. It's not for the gifts or the wrapping or the cookies {even though they are good} it is to celebrate the birth of Christ. I will come up with an idea for this and share it here when I have it :)
Thank you for taking the time to read this and help me to be accountable. What are some ways you help to alleviate the stress from the holidays? Please I need the tips!!!
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