As I consider that a week ago at this time, I was digging out from the remnants of flying paper, tape and ribbon I am even more convinced that, when it is all said and done, the small things that went, in my mind undone, slipped by unnoticed. The lesson in all this, is that next year, I am going to make a specific list and break it up into manageable milestones and "to be done" dates. Once the date is past, if that particular item is not accomplished, then it will go undone. Period.
I am going to be more purposeful in packing up my Christmas decorations this year. As in years past, I will continue to pack them room by room (themes for each room) but I am going to weed out the items that I have not used for several years in a row. Make a specific pile for old family items that I want to save just because they are old, and fill that box and seal it. Once it is filled and sealed, all other items are going to be tossed. (Well maybe gently laid in the to donate or give away box) but they are not going back into the basement. In my reorganizing and discarding , I am going to make sure that all items kept, are loved and will be used for years to come. If they have a special memory or meaning, I will mark them on the bottom and make sure that the story that goes with that item is documented as well.
I have said this many times before, Christmas is by far my favorite holiday, and decorating brings me great joy, however I know that it is easier to do on a large scale when systematically organized. By placing all the like/themed items from one room together, I am then able to make my list for decorating very specific. For example: three weeks out: decorate the half bath with reindeer When I pull the reindeer decorations from storage, I will empty the box of the decorations and then remove all the daily half bath items, place them in the empty bin, clean the room well, and then set up all the seasonal decorations. Using this method, I can also prioritize the "important/large decorating" areas and if I am crazy busy, can let the smaller themes go for the year. Another benefit to this systematic way of doing things is that un-decorating can be as simple as room by room as well.
I am planning to include on this list all items from card printing and addressing, to craft making, to cookie baking, gift purchasing and wrapping, meal prep, with deadlines for each. The items that require more effort and time and planning will be scheduled for early fall, Sept or October (family photo for the card, crafts). In this manner, I will be able to see the long term goal; having a festive, decorated house, well stocked with groceries, ready to entertain, but will be able to look at the small details, week by week or day by day to accomplish this goal. Knowing that any small piece left undone, will not cause me stress.
This year, I did not hurry to purchase last minute gift items, no one noticed.
This year, I did not send Christmas cards, no one called to ask me why they did not receive a card from our family.
This year, I did not decorate outside, my neighbors did not call the homeowners association.
This year, I did not don't send cookies to all my neighbors, and they were kind enough to still gift us cookies and candy and send us cards.
In looking back over the past Christmas season, I am incredibly blessed, not stressed and desire to carry this to the future. Too many years I have been miserable, causing hard feelings and stress in my home, because of my lack of preparedness or because of my perception of all the "little" things that had to get done before Christmas morning. I must say this has been a wonderfully liberating revelation. NO ONE noticed anything was amiss! Looking forward to many more non self inflicted stress less holidays!