Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. In Australia, Christmas celebrations are quickly followed by summer holidays, when we may enjoy time off work, school and everyday commitments. The festive season can fill up pretty quickly with social engagements, events and occasions, which can often make this time of year as stressful as it is merry. We offer some tips on how to plan, organise and set goals to take the work and stress out of your holidays and put the enjoyment back in.
The Christmas and holiday season in Australia coincides with the beautiful summer months, so of course there are so many activities to do and occasions to celebrate. The problem is that when these build up, it can begin to feel like an effort to attend everything, rather than what it should be – enjoyable. If you have a family who all love to do different things, then this can also add to the pressure. Whether you are planning for a whole family or just for yourself, sit down with a calendar and make a list of all activities and events, then evaluate. If the schedule is looking a bit full and stressing you out, assess what is most important and what could be cut, keeping in mind that the activities you end up doing will be far more enjoyable as you won’t be run-down, preoccupied and stressed.
It might sound crazy, but scheduling down time should also be a priority this festive season! Set aside time each week to relax: read a book, watch a Christmas movie, walk around the neighbourhood and see some Christmas lights, spend a lazy afternoon on the beach, hang out with your pets. Let the Christmas spirit find you! A cosy night on the couch with friends or family watching Love, Actually for the tenth time, is actually a huge part of what the Christmas season is about, i.e. relaxing with those you love.
We know the aftermath of unwrapping presents can be chaotic, but an unorganised wrapping space can often look the same! Set up a little wrapping station somewhere in your house and keep all your paper, tags, tape and scissors in the one place. Avoid a huge tower of unwrapped gifts staring you down on Christmas Eve and wrap and label as you go. Wrapped gifts sitting under the tree or around the house are also an easy way to add festive cheer to the house. Another tip for avoiding the stress (and expense) of having to buy the ‘perfect present’ for all those you love is to make handmade gifts, adopt a Kris Kringle system or exchange wish lists. Perhaps if you have a group of friends you could all do a fun activity together rather than gift presents.
If you’re the one doing the entertaining – whether it be for a barbecue, weekend gathering or Christmas dinner – start your planning early to avoid last minute running around. Book dates in early (as everyone is busy at this time of year) and prepare a menu. You can get ideas from recipe books, holiday magazines or online blogs, and make a shopping list as you go. If you are organised early you can keep an eye out for supermarket specials and buy them as they come up. If you feel the pressure to create a fabulous event, take it down a notch and consider one or two special touches – fold your serviettes in Christmas shapes to take a dinner table next level or bake some little homemade treats for guests to take home. Lastly, if you are hosting, lighten the load by asking guests to bring some nibbles, drinks or salads to share.
We would all love to recreate the ideal version of Christmas that we see in movies and television, but reality is a bit more chaotic! Christmas crafts, holiday decorating and baking may mean the house is looking a little messy, but what you and your guests will remember are the laughs and great memories created, not that the roof of your Gingerbread house was a little wonky. Embrace the fun and the spirit of the festive season and enjoy the process as well as the result. Schedule in your down time, eat healthily outside of special occasions, and don’t feel guilty if you do indulge. Remember that the festive season is a time for family and friends, and celebrating that we have made it through another year!
If you enjoyed getting organised for the festive season, CAE have a range of courses to help you take on the world with confidence and organise your life. Be the best you can be with one of our Personal Effectiveness courses.
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