Are you cringing yet with holiday hubbub but you're also a 'lil giddy? Yeah me too...the second part. I know it's easy to say yes to every activity this time of year and then to layer them in between all the other things you *always* do but there's no point in having a beautiful home if you don't feel beautiful.
The FEELING of love, joy, and beauty is the natural state that our bodies crave and need, but where this time of year is to celebrate these very things, being BUSY can junk it all up instead. In order to have a delightful holiday may I suggest these amazing, life changing tips that will allow the best of what the festivities have to offer roll in. If you UnBusy your holiday I promise you will love it, and yourself more.
Firstly, this is the time of year to hone in on boundaries. Check in with yourself about how many parties and traditional gatherings you'd like to attend and be honest about how much down time you need. Say no to any and all gatherings that your gut is telling you not to get involved with. Tightening up your boundaries with all the asks - even if it's to stay late at work and eat an awful store bought cake with your coworkers - will pay off in spades. Most of the stress related to the hopping around during this time is due to a foggy calendar. Let your calendar be your friend this year and put not just the events you need to attend, but the down time and prep time you need as well. This will help you see what you need to say no to if the answer is not at first clear.
Here's where your home can be a handy retreat in between the times you are out and about. Bring as much beauty into your decor as you see fit and don't worry about stressing about decor you don't have if it's too late. Running around town buying a bunch of stuff last minute is just as stressful as not having anything. I love having full on festive lights and greenery but I don't like the time and expense involved, so a few scented candles with the cool wooden wicks do me just fine. I also diffuse pine and clove-blended scents to evoke the greenery and baking I am not dealing with. Since for my down time, I like to read, I make sure to have a perfect light and throw blanket hanging out for me to refresh my batteries. If your bedroom is your refuge, keep it clean and decluttered and hire out the cleaning if you can! That way between parties you have the relaxation you need.
Don't forget that some of these parties involve gift giving, party trays, and dressing up, so be sure to plan ahead and block out time on your calendar to prepare. What if the actual preparations were also as memorable as the actual festivity? Perhaps selecting an adult beverage with care for a nice hostess is just as joy filled as sharing it with her. In embracing my adulthood, I know taking time to find a nice gift has risen much higher on my priority list as I now realize the entire process is part of the package. It reminds me of how and why I even care about the person that will be receiving it. If you struggle with getting a gift or preparing for an event, then it's a sign that this is one to cross of your list.
If you plan to host and want to know the best way to impress guests don't underestimate the power of a clean, decluttered, fresh smelling home. This should be the first thing on your list. Hire this task out, please. I hope you get used to having cleaning assistance if you aren't already. Cleaning delegation allows us to enjoy time with friends and family and our own selves so much more and it takes one more to-do off the list. Often times it's the little blind spots that other people notice first the holiday parties can inspire us to fix. Also add the the list any safety hazards or annoying house things you've been meaning to fix that will be noticed - and delegate this to a great contractor or handyman. Doing it yourself is a great way to get into the weeds.
Have people spent time hanging out in your garage at previous parties? What if you supported their desire to hang out there and gave them a canopy outside or a more attractive location. Think about the spots that people gather and be realistic. If they want to gather in the kitchen, that's fine, but have a plan for seating or take the food into another room. The layout of your party will determine where people will hang and yes, it will be by the food, drinks, and possibly TV depending on your crowd. I like to have different stations of things to do if there is a larger group or different areas where the food will be. If you are limited by how people will be sitting and hanging out due to space, just make do with what you have and get creative. DON'T overthink your party just remember how your crew likes to hang and support how they are.
Schedule time when you are to do online shopping. Why? Because sneaking it in every nook and cranny of your day is going to exhaust you. Block out a chuck on a couple hours and just do it. Wrap those items the same way - schedule a couple hours, already have paper and whatnot and be done. Have all your host and hostess gifts in that pile, too. Remember, when that calendar is your friend, you gain precious time and the moments the season is all about sprout up with abundance.
If you are one of those people who still shops in malls (pffft!)...just kidding I do, too, then calendar that as a day as well. Make it for a time when other people aren't flooding the stores and really decide how much value it will add to your life if you save $200 on a TV for waiting in line overnight at Costco. Stop it. It can be fun to shop, so make it fun. It's like a little hunt thinking of your favorite people. If you don't like getting them gifts, don't. Give them money or hugs. Or ask yourself why you don't like getting them gifts - maybe they aren't good friends. Put them on the naughty list and save yourself some time.
Unfortunately many people will resist calendaring because there is such an addiction to busy! Just because everyone else is running around like crazy, don't be one of them unless that's your jam.
The FEELING of the holidays can remind us to feel love and joy the rest of the year. It's the feeling that we are all trying to attain, not the DOING of the holidays. In order to achieve this holy grail, be sure to focus on your priorities and decide to elevate them to the highest place in your life. Delegate the rest, and don't overthink it. May your season be awesome and delightful and a gateway to creating more rich memories with the people you cherish for years to come.