My New Plan to Beat Christmas Craziness

holiday-listNomatter how hard I try to plan December around the ever-elusive goal of not having to shop frantically or wrap gifts on Christmas Eve, I alway spend Christmas Eve running around like a wild animal.  This does not promote a worshipful celebration of Christ’s birth for me or my family.   This year was especially hectic because we spent 8 glorious December days in Hawaii, during which time I did ZERO Christmas preparation.   I knew there would be hell to pay for all the down time I spent there.  And I was right.   I definitely did not count on being quarantined for five days after I returned either.  Could’ve done without that.  But I cut some corners and somehow pulled it all together with the help of an angel husband (who cleaned the house and folded laundry while I finished the shopping on Christmas Eve).


Scott and I hosted the Parkes family’s celebration for the first time on Christmas day… that was truly a joy.  I realized how much I love watching my mom and dad, and my sister and her family celebrate at our house, sit around our tree and eat at our table.  I love that my neice and nephew think my kids are superheroes because they play with them, and I love watching my brother-in-law exhibit his breakfast-making skills in our kitchen.   I tried out a new hot cranberry-orange punch on everyone and it was a big hit.  My sister declared it a new standard at future Christmas celebrations.  That made me feel really good. With lots of sweet little things like that, the day was meaningful and full of joy… and it was certainly worth every sweatdrop.


In spite of all the warm and wonderful feelings I enjoyed this Christmas, though, in the back of my mind there was a little nagging perfectionist who kept reminding me of the stuff I didn’t do… the people I didn’t buys gifts for this year and wanted to, the Christmas cards I didn’t send out, the services I didn’t sing at, the parties I didn’t attend, and a dozen or so other little things that I wanted to do but simply ran out of time.  These mixed feelings left me in a bit of a quandary, because as you may remember from my previous blog entry, Should  Nothin’ , I have a strong conviction about saying, “I should’ve done this or that…” without taking definite steps to make it right. 


So I had an idea today.   I am putting together a play-by-play action plan during this next week that will help me stay on track with Christmas preparations throughout the year and particular during the two months leading up to next Christmas.  My plan will include putting my Christmas recipes together in a folder with shopping lists for their ingredients, buying next year’s Christmas cards this month so I can start addressing them before the Christmas rush hits, writing down gift ideas I got this Christmas while watching people unwrap their gifts this year, and other details I’ll forget within two weeks if I don’t write them down.  


More than anything, this plan to beat Christmas craziness next year is my way of trying to get out of this repeating cycle of having regrets after Christmas.  Don’t get me wrong… this isn’t just an obsessive compulsive way to trying to do Christmas perfectly.   It’s about organizing my time and my ideas so the days leading up to Christmas are special instead of stressful.  It’s about my kids remembering the fun we had rather than how grouchy I was.  And it’s about learning from my mistakes rather than repeating them.


So here’s where you come in.  If you can help me with my plan, I want to hear from you.  All your tips and strategies for getting organized at Christmas… please share them with me so I can incorporate them into my plan!   I need to hear from those of you who are able to do cool stuff on Christmas Eve, like driving the kids around to see the lights or delivering gifts and food to needy families (as opposed the way I spend Christmas Eve… fighting mall traffic or standing in line at Walmart in a full body sweat hoping I have time to shower before the Christmas Eve communion service).  Your ideas and inspiration would be a gift, not only to me but to the people I want to bless next Christmas.

6 thoughts on “My New Plan to Beat Christmas Craziness

Add yours

  1. Em,
    After talking to my sister in law the week before Christmas and not having a clue about what to tell her I wanted for a gift she told me how she keeps track of gift ideas. It is simple and already implemented for 2009. I just created a desktop icon titled “Christmas 2009” and am keeping notes, future gift lists, etc. That way it stays there, I can add to it through the year and if I hear someone say something they would like to have, I can quickly add it to the list and let it go from my brain.
    Just my .02.
    🙂 Jen


  2. Well…I haven’t accomplished the ‘organized, peaceful Holiday routine’ yet either.
    I just wanted to say that I was at a funeral last year for an old lady from our church and one of the things members of her family mentioned about her was that she ‘ never got stressed out at Christmas ‘. This dear woman had 5 kids! I thought that was quite a testimony to her. I think the other mothers sitting around me got that, too, ’cause we were all exchanging significant glances when we heard that.
    It went right over the heads of the men, however.


  3. Hi Emily! While I’m sitting watching t.v. or a movie I’ll get out my cards and address them or sign them while watching my shows. I did that for the first time this year and had my cards out the first week of December. Happy New Years!


  4. I don’t have any suggestions to help you better organize. My suggestion to myself after the way I handled things this Christmas was that next Christmas I am going to put Christ before all of the materialistic meaning of Christmas. I was really disappointed with myself as to how much time I spent worrying about what to get who than I did about the Birth of the Baby Jesus. I am sure he was just as disappointed with me as I was myself. I just hope that I can set a better example for my 2 nieces who are 9 and 12 next year.


  5. Well one great thing you can do is to shop year round for gifts instead of leaving them all to last minute. Also having everyone help do the christmas cards is a big help so your not doing them all on your own. Christmas can still be crazy but we tried to really make sure we did not get to behind by writing a list around Thanksgiving time so we could stay organized. Hope this helps.


  6. Hi Emily.

    Have you checked out Flylady’s website? She helps those of us who are organization-challenged keep our homes neat and tidy, and has a Holiday Control Journal that may be just what you’re looking for. You can download a free copy in either PDF format, or MS Word if you want to modify it to fit your own personal needs.

    If you’re interested, go to, and select “Site Index” from the panel on the left. Then, in the “Fly Zone” box, select “Flylady’s Control Journals”, and select which version of the “Holiday Control Journal” you want to download/print.

    Also, I wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying reading your blog, both for your writing style and your comments/thoughts. Keep up the great work!

    Thelma 🙂


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