Well, I don’t know about you but my hallway looks like a traffic jam this week as the commuters of Thanksgiving and Halloween decorations pass by the boxes of Christmas ornaments coming out from their dark hole under the stairs.  

Hate to give you a headache but…here it is…

Headed to storage!

Headed to storage!

We are in the take down/put up mode at our house.  Holidays are messy business.  It’s distracting enough to have all of these new things added to the calendar and responsibilities but to actually see it all in flux….it’s like watching a heart patient during surgery…it’s a little messy.  I’ve got wrapping gear out in one place and Christmas cards in the dining room and boxes in the halls.  There’s some sentimentality, mixed with excitement, mixed with stress in the air.  

Christmas decoration boxes

Stress!  Why the stress?  It’s supposed to just be joy? Right? 

If I’m honest, I have tried to simplify and be organized so …yes, I’m doing my part to get better at handling the onslaught of demands that the holidays can bring.  Spending more time in my chair in the morning with my Bible and devotional puts it all into perspective so I am trying to stay connected with Jesus because I have a tendency to buy into perfectionism…..which we all know is a lie.  

Nutcrackers

Are these grouchy nutcrackers staring at me because they doubt I can get it all done??? I think they are right!

But, still there are times when the concepts of Christmas decorating and celebrating can crossover into “I have to do this and I have to do that and I have to get it all done” kinds of thoughts.  

It’s human but it’s stressful when I get into that mode.  So, I have to stop and take a deep breath and ask the Holy Spirit to reframe everything for me once again.  We can break and remake some things we are doing to bring back the real JOY in the celebration again.  In fact, we have to.  There’s just no reason in celebrating God’s greatest gift at all if we can’t truly celebrate.  So some things are just going to have to drop…off…the list/schedule/perfection picture in my head.

It’s a process and everybody is going to value certain parts of Christmas and Holiday traditions differently.  

Since I’m no expert in the area of Christmas planning, I’m opening up the floor to you guys.  I’m going to tell you a couple of things that work for me and I would really like to turn this post into a group forum where you can write your advice, ideas, things that work for you during busy, celebratory season.  Then, I invite you to come back and read what others are posting whenever you want over the season.  This blog is mine but it’s also yours, my readers and subscribers.  

So I’ll go first,

A few years ago I found this lady online who has a website called OrganizedChristmas.com.  I started using her Christmas binder system.  

Christmas Planner

She has printables for things like gift lists, budget, cooking days, internet shopping orders.  

Organized Christmas Printables

She actually just declared that she is retiring after this Christmas season so act fast if you want to go see her website and printables but I print the pages and keep them in a binder to take out with me if I’m shopping or to track things during the season.  I keep the sheets from year to year and I can look back at costs like Christmas lights hung by a service or shipping.  

Christmas records

Each year there is a sheet to fill out after the holidays that asks you what went right and what went wrong?  This is money!  Every year I can look at those and remember things like “Oh yeah, book haircuts for the kids early or make sure I don’t book a luncheon and dinner event on the same day throughout the holidays or I’ll never get anything done!”  I keep a large envelope in the binder for receipts.  There is also a holiday values worksheet that gives you a chance to answer some questions about what has been most meaningful to your family….was it taking things to a shelter together or making time to attend the Christmas play at church or reading out of an advent book as a family.  These have helped keep me selective about our schedule during this busy time.

Values Worksheet

I know binders are kind of old fashioned and we all have our Christmas lists in our phones but this works pretty great for me and holds tear sheets from catalogs, coupons, recipes, receipts or whatever other paper notes I need.  

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I hope this season you and your family find joy, peace and a lot of laughing in your kitchen together!  Ok, let us know any tips you have for managing the demands and expectations of Christmas in your home to find more peace and joy….your ideas can help others.  Put them in the Submit a Comment Box below.  Then check back to see what everyone is saying.  Thanks for sharing!  

Best,

Ivy

Merry Christmas Pillow

 

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