Organizing Peace This Holiday Season

Organizing Peace This Holiday Season

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Christmas Vacation. Jingle All the Way. Home Alone. Home Alone 2. Home Alone . . . whatever.
What do these movies have in common? Two things: the holiday season and chaos.

They’re all a bit out there, but you have to admit that part of the appeal is the relief you feel to see someone else having a rougher holiday than you are. By planning appointments, obligations, and to-dos in advance, you can save yourself the trouble these movies portrayed.

First Things First

You know that office party you don’t really want to go to but keep RSVPing “yes” to, anyway? Don’t you stress every year about getting a better present for your mom than your sister does?
It took me three years with numerous eating disorders and recovery to finally say, I’m done doing things I don’t want to do. This rule of course only works within reason—I mean, I still pay my taxes—but when it comes down to contending for the best lighting decorations in the neighborhood and bringing the best dish to the party, I remember what’s really important in the big picture: peace. Not just Beatles and Woodstock peace—peace of mind, peace between friends and family, peace within the body.

Remember that you don’t have to go to your boss’s party you go to every year hoping to get noticed. Spend that time with family and friends or on a leisurely walk with the dog instead of knotting your stomach with nerves. Ridding your schedule of don’t-want-tos will give you more time to do the want-tos.

Ask yourself: Will I regret doing this (or not doing this)? You do have a choice. Don’t be afraid to make one.

Schedule the Big Rocks

Once you’ve made more room for things you need and want to do, use this practice from the Franklin Covey Institute’s Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.

Open up your calendar. Imagine each day like an empty box into which you must fit your appointments and to-dos, which are characterized by rocks, sized according to importance. Medical appointments and choir concerts in which your son is singing are big rocks. Window shopping online and playing Facebook games are little rocks. If you toss all the pebbles in first, you won’t fit in the big rocks, and you’ll not only disappoint loved ones, you’ll disappoint yourself. Pebbles have a way of fitting themselves in your schedule, anyway, so why move big rocks aside to make room you don’t have?

Plan Ahead

It’s far too easy to overspend during the holidays. Before heading out to look at all the new trinkets and decorations at the store this year, take an inventory of what you already have. It’s also a good idea to set a budget before you set a toe out the door. Figure out what your big rocks are here, too. For example, if you really want a nice but pricey gift for a close friend but don’t want to go over your budget for greeting cards, consider sending e-cards or making your own. DIY gifts like homemade jam and preserves, recipe booklets, teacup candles, and granola are great alternatives to expensive and easy gifts like jewelry and CDs.

To make DIY gifts, however, you have plan well enough ahead so you actually get to make them instead of caving two days before the big day and going to the mall. Save a whole weekend on your calendar (Saturday and Sunday!) and set time aside both days to make and wrap these gifts.

Save Quality Time for Friends and Family

Yes, you’ll see them at the party, but make appointments to spend quality time with individuals this holiday season to catch up and get into meaningful discussions before the big day. Make DIY gift-making and decorating the house family activities. Have a gift-wrapping party with close friends. Make dinner at home and invite a friend over for wine. Amid the running about and commercialism of the holidays, you can remember to live a peaceful, organized life, not one preoccupied with organization.

By Marie Rainier

About the Author

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online degrees. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.