Well, holiday season is in full swing in our neighborhood. Christmas lights are up, carols are being sung and it's even supposed to rain a few more days!
On my end, the presents are wrapped (more on presents and gift giving in a later post), the tree is up and the cards are written. This is the first year I haven't felt rushed in a long time and I thought I would share a few tips I learned.
1. Having a preprinted list of all the addresses you will be sending cards to is key! I made this list before we went to Europe, so that I could easily send postcards. Having this list on a physical piece of paper, rather than having to scroll through contacts on a phone or through an address book took at least an hour off the card writing process.
2. The tree. I am a sucker for a Noble Fir. This is my favorite part of Christmas. Period. So, to keep decorating from being overwhelming, I've greatly pared down my other holiday ornaments. I have the same wreath I decorated years ago that goes on the door, I have the same piece of twine with mini-clothespins that I pin to the wall to hold Christmas cards, I have a few pieces of poinsettia garland with white lights, the same door and kitchen mats I swap out every year. Other than that, there are just a few miscellaneous items. The key is to just keep your favorite items. You know exactly where they go, it take 5 minutes, it brings you joy. Done. That way, any extra time can be spent decorating the tree and reminiscing about the origin of all the ornaments. Some are over 100 years old!
3. Presents. I do want to continue to downsize our present giving tradition. Hopefully we can implement the 1 want, 1 need, 1 read and 1 experience idea next year. In the meantime, I highly recommend staying the hell outta stores in December. I managed to find most of the things I wanted to purchase before December and found this to be key in not overspending.
4. Parties. Don't over do it. Last year JT and I practically collapsed at the end of the season. This year we've tried to stay home at least one day per weekend. This is helping greatly. The parties are fun, but so is time spent with each other.
5. Compromise. Be it where to spend the important days, what to serve, what services to go to, the dollar amount to spend on gifts, where to put the decorations. Compromise is key. Being an only child and a newlywed, I'm still learning that. :) I can vouch for the joy you'll get when you see your loved one get their way though.
That's all I have for now. I hope you have a moment to curl up on the couch with a good book or enjoy a cup of tea and a quiet moment.