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5 questions to answer to get ready for the season (Preparing for Joy: Day 1)

preparing for joy Christmas Prep series 2023

Grab your favorite pen and a cup of coffee because we are getting ready for the Christmas season! (Don’t know why we’re doing this in October? Catch up here) Today we're starting with five simple questions that will help you prioritize your season. This list will look different for each of us, but it’s just a way to start thinking about how we will approach the entire holiday season this year.

 1. What needs to be done before the holiday season? Really put your thinking cap on for this one. It could mean a home project before guests stay over (i.e. a problem with the guest bath you’ve been putting off) or that closet that needs attention so you can hide all the Christmas gifts. Or maybe it’s something not even home related. Appointments that need to be made before the end or the year, travel arrangements, etc. This will look different for everyone but now is the time to list those out so you can take care if them sooner than later.

 2. What will break my heart if I miss it this season? I really think this is the most important one. What traditions and events bubble up to the top as your most treasured. It could be an important event or party or even just a tradition that matters most. Parties, church services, movie nights, advent studies. If we name those things that mean the most to us now, then they’re top of mind when it's time to prioritize our schedules.

 3. Is my calendar up to date AND does my family know what is on the calendar? There are about 9,000 different ways to share the family schedule and from everyone I know, there is no perfect system. However, this is the time to get your system working as best as you can. Update all the dates you know on the calendar (see #2 above and write in what you can now!) And let your people know how to access it. It can be as simple as a calendar printout posted somewhere or a digit one you can share but the key is don’t overcomplicate it and make it accessible.

4. How did I feel last year- great, overwhelmed, underwelmed….. and what caused it? Take a look back at last year. I’m sure you’re like me and there were moments of pure magic but also moments of complete chaos and exhaustion. Take a few moments to pinpoint what brought you the good feelings and what made the anxiety bubble up. Then, think about how you can handle those better this year. Can you prepare better for something, eliminate an event from your schedule, or maybe even move things earlier or later in the season? You cannot do it all so this is another opportunity to make sure you’re doing what really matters.

5. What can I put off until after the season? This one is two-fold. First up, think about those “honey do’s” around the house. Obviously, there are some things that must be done before the season (you listed those in #1) but there are things that just need to wait. Now is not the time to gut your bathroom if you can help it. If one of your answers in #1 made you feel a little antsy, move it here. List out those things now and then you feel better about not doing it all before Christmas and you’ll have your to do list for after.

The second side of this is actually one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Let me tell you why. My BFF and I have always celebrated Christmas together in some way. We’ve been together a long time and she is 100% family and our traditions are important. But we’ve added husbands and kids and a whole lot of life. One year, we tried so hard to make our Christmas plans work, but it just didn’t. So out of necessity, we waited until after. It was one of the best things ever! Not only can we really enjoy whatever we do (usually brunch) but I found I get so much joy in shopping for her girls after all the hustle and bustle and I don’t feel stressed about any of it. I just enjoy celebrating with my people. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? We prioritized our time by waiting to celebrate!


Easy enough? Just thinking about these things and deciding now frees us up for so much more  later. Be back right here tomorrow as we tackle a few things we can buy now to save us time and money later 

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