Plan for Christmas and Beyond
By Stacy Yanchuk Oleksy
Tis the season isn’t it? My husband and I have moved to Ontario from British Columbia and I feel as though the Christmas spirit has come a little early (likely because so has the cold weather) and thoughts are now turning to our plan for Christmas and the overall holiday season.
So many of us get caught up in the franticness of the holidays – there are concerts, parties, potlucks, dinners out and that’s all before the actual holiday. Then there’s the holiday season itself and then finally there’s the end of it.
It seems as though there are so many decisions to make around this festive season like should we stay home or go away? Should we host Christmas dinner or be someone else’s guests? Should we buy gifts for everyone or just the kids? And probably the most important decision is should we wear our pyjamas all day? My vote is YES to pj’s all day!
Looking Ahead - Plan for Christmas to Avoid the January Blues
But perhaps before we start making an overall plan for Christmas and decisions about various aspects of the holidays, we should look into the future, January 1st specifically and ask ourselves ‘How do we want to feel after the holidays are over?’ Many of us start the new year feeling exhausted, emotionally bruised up, stuffed with food and sweets and possibly broke or in debt. I can’t imagine most of us actually want to feel this way. So assuming you’re like me and you don’t want to feel the January blues, how do you want to feel? Peaceful? Energized? Content? Happy? Something else? Ask your family the same question – how do they want to feel in January?
Once we know how we want to feel, we can work backwards to create this experience. Stephen Covey speaks of beginning with the end in mind in his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” If I want to feel energized and happy, what do I need to do to create this? That may look like spending quality time with people we love, time together as a family and time alone to do the things we enjoy. And if your family’s desires are different, how can we incorporate them into the plan?
Start Planning Your Holiday Details
Once I know what experiences and activities will make me and us feel the way we want to in January to avoid the post holiday blues, we can start planning the logistics of the holidays. Where will we go? What are the costs? What needs to get done before, during and after the holidays?
Let’s also do some brainstorming with our family on some things that can derail our plans and what we’re going to do to either prevent it or respond accordingly. This could look like a family member, who insists on buying gifts for everyone even though you agreed to a Secret Santa or just presents for the kids; friends who change their plans with little notice; unplanned activities; tension in the family; or a budget issue.
Some possible solutions could include: letting that family member buy gifts for everyone, as it’s their money but sticking with the original plan; flexibility of plans or enjoying the beauty of cancelled plans (think cozy pyjamas, a lovely cup of hot chocolate, and the Star Wars trilogy!); a contingency fund for those unplanned events; deep breathing and finding other ways to relax; and remembering that everyone is doing the best they can. A little planning goes a long way to preventing disastrous reactions when emotions are running hot!
Once you’ve discussed your contingency plan for Christmas, you can now delegate and enjoy the holidays, reminding yourself of how you want to feel in January. If you feel yourself getting off track with those feelings, ask yourself – ‘What do I need to do to get back on track with feeling good?’ The answer may surprise you! Until then, Happy Holidays!