Seasonal Bliss: Inviting the Holidays into your home—your way!

Typically, I like to share former clients’ questions with you, providing suggestions that address common topics in the home. This week, however, with the holidays approaching, I offer some tips that will give you more time, peace, and enjoyment during these approaching months. Light a candle, play some music and tune out the world for a moment!

Tip 1. Simple is better

Give yourself permission to change things that previously created more stress than joy. Make the decision to cull ornaments and decorations. Do you really need all of those ornaments or displays? Plan to spend a Saturday baking with your family. Those warm, sincere gifts have a charm that carries farther than the ‘quick buy’ to satisfy and it saves on finances.

Tip 2. Be realistic

Plan ahead so you don’t take on more projects or seasonal decorating than your schedule truly permits. Pare down if you find yourself cringing at the thought of ‘making holiday cheer’. Allow yourself to choose what you and your family can realistically accomplish over the holidays and accept the fact that you know you won’t ever satisfy everyone. Relax, it’s your world!

Tip 3. Get the whole family involved

Are you the one who always seems to be wrapping presents, writing cards, and planning? If you’ve got family, call in the troops! Schedule a family meeting and delegate, delegate, delegate! Take advantage of the skills your family has. Kids can wrap and bake (who really cares if it isn’t perfect—this makes it personal!). Re-visit your card list and cull those that you simply feel ‘obligated’ to send something to (the holidays are for spreading good cheer, not some dreaded obligatory thought). Your spouse can certainly step in with the writing of such cards, shopping for gifts or ingredients or work with you on parties. Make it a family affair and relish in the memories it will create. Communication, teamwork and planning are key.

Tip 4. Make your own list

While this all may sound as if geared to moms with families, it truly is written with people in all situations. During the holidays we tend to focus on others, for it is the season of giving. Well, you are a strong part of the picture and deserve the same gratitude, peace and joy you spread to others. Don’t neglect yourself; list your own items, goals and wishes you’d like to receive. You’ll be surprised at the outcome if you share it!

Tip 5. Don’t overshop

Can you admit that you’ve impulse-bought during the holidays? Have you ever gone way over budget but rationalized that it was the ‘holiday season’? All that has ever done after the season is over is to create unwanted stress. Consider simplifying gift-giving. Replace gifts with events—gather your friends for coffee (you can use this time to plan ways to help each other!). Avoid, at all costs, last-minute splurges. Often those people we feel we need to buy a gift for are the very people that a simple gift of cookies or bread would suffice.

Tip 6. Hide things logically—no more ‘lost’ gifts!

How many seasons have you ‘lost’ a gift? If you are like the majority of us, the answer is not zero! I grew up with at least two or more presents falling into the black hole of my mother’s closets only to have them resurface the next year. Sort your gifts according to recipients in places that make sense to you. Make a list of the gifts and the location if you have to—it can’t hurt! As well, by listing you have more control over what you’ve bought so you don’t duplicate that ‘perfect’ sweater you bought for your sister months ago. The small amount of time you spend identifying the placement and the gift far outweighs the frustration of trying to remember where you so ‘smartly’ hid it!

Tip 7. Stick to your children’s schedule

During the holiday season your stress is often transferred to your family. Keep the family schedule. This will reduce chaos and eliminate the need to appease your children or family members (with ‘bribe gifts’ or promises) in order to fill those obligations that are not in your normal yearly schedule. All benefit and you find peace and harmony in the process.

Tip 8. Answer invitations and requests honestly

While this seems a no-brainer, how often do you find yourself responding to invitations or request with a ‘guilty yes’? Take back your time. Respond to invitations honestly and immediately! If you don’t have time to attend a party or drop-in, say so as soon as you receive it. Eliminate your guilt and free up your time for things that you choose, not those you feel obligated to attend. Your last-minute ‘no show’ will linger longer than your proactive response from the get-go.

Tip 9. Buy instead of cook

Just because you’ve been asked to make a dessert for a party doesn’t mean you are obligated to do so! If you find yourself stressed at the thought of creating a work of culinary art but are living on microwave time, simply buy the ‘creation’. It is guaranteed to be good and you have just allowed yourself to breathe and anticipate the event rather than ‘freaking’ about your creation. Bakeries are good! The cost of the dessert is well worth the benefits it allows you.

Tip 10. Make your choices wisely

Now is the time to plan. Take some time to evaluate your past holidays. What did you dread, what gave you joy? Only by revisiting past experiences can you re-create future times that bring smiles and enjoyment to all. These next two months are geared toward many expectations, but you have the power to choose. My suggestion? The simpler the better. If, however, you are not celebrating any traditional holidays, you still need to choose how you respond to invitations that come your way. Simply know you have the power to make the changes that will enhance and simplify your world.

Karen A. Joseph is the owner of Ordered Bliss, a professional organizing company on Daniel Island. A former librarian, Karen offers her clients positive strategies for creating an ordered lifestyle for all areas of your home. Ordered Bliss is a company in good standing with NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers. Contact Karen at 843-345-2592 or; she will truly ‘bliss your life’

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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