I write this list (to myself) as a reminder on how to avoid the Ghost of Christmases past!

With lots of (self-love), Adri

1 – write a list

Get yourself a cup of (insert here your favorite hot drink), a note pad and a pen. Write down everything (and I mean EVERYTHING!) that you plan to do on, and leading up to Christmas. Example: buy the gift for your mother-in-law; wrap the gifts; mail the Xmas cards; bake the turkey; make the gingerbread people for the tree; vacuum the carpet… you get the picture.

2 – share in the tasks

Now take the list you just made and put a name next to every single task. Once done take a good sip from the aforementioned hot drink and look at your list.

Are all names (of capable adults and larger children) in your family equally represented on that list? If not, and your name keeps popping up everywhere, then you need intervention! Proceed quickly to Step 3!

3 – let go of being perfect

Do any of the following seem familiar to you?

  • “When I do it, it is done properly!”
  • “If my kids do it it’s going to take sooooo much more time!”
  • “Oh, (insert you hubby’s name here) wouldn’t even know where to start!”

If so, then you need to let go! Let go of the reins or you’re going to have one more of those nerve-wracking holidays! You know the one, where you go crazy and you drive everyone crazy. Start to familiarize yourself with the idea that others can and should help.

So sit down with your family and each of you take tasks until everyone has equally pitched in. Be honest, are you still greedy and taking more than you can chew?

4 – it’s OK to change (let go of) traditions

Traditions are those things that distinguish one family from the next. Little tiny things that are like sparkles on freshly fallen snow in our childhood memories. They are also those things that drive us stark raving mad during a holiday. Example (from a relative who shall remain anonymous in this blog): the house must be deep cleaned, the windows washed and the curtains laundered and starched before Christmas.

Traditions are nice-to-haves, they are not must-haves. Surely you will not die and Earth will not stop in its orbit if you will not cook your mother’s special dish this Christmas! I promise you it won’t!

So take a sip of your drink, and take a look at your task list one last time. Write down the approximate time for each task. Then add a further 50%, because we do tend to underestimate things!

Add up all the hours and minutes. Does that sound reasonable? Are there that many hours and days until Christmas? And I mean this coming Christmas! If not, then look at your list critically and judge each item whether it’s critical, a must or a nice-to-have. Cross out items until you get down to a reasonably paced number of items that you feel comfortable achieving with your family!

5 – don’t forget to enjoy yourself!

The beginning of December is here and you already have a plan! A reasonably paced, democratically distributed, everyone-knows-what-they-have-to-do kind of list. It looks like this year could be the year when it will be OK. So sit back, and drink that last, gorgeous sip of your hot (now luke-warm) drink and relax. I mean a holiday should be about joy and about recharging. An you deserve it as well!

P.S. There will be hick-ups as with every plan! In this case revisit Step 4 and remember to breathe normally…