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Vicki's Corner


Getting Organized

Reclaim the Holidays

Vicki Norris
Restoring Order Believe it or not, there are only six and a half weeks until Christmas and just two weeks until Thanksgiving! It is just the right time to prioritize your activities and plan your time.

The holidays are an opportunity to reflect upon the hope offered to us, spend time with loved ones, and partake in cherished traditions.

In pursuit of the frocked pilgrims and jolly old Saint Nick, we engage in a frenzy of activity, which we believe will bring us the holiday memories for which we long. In the process, however, we often over commit, overspend, overeat, and over entertain ourselves.

Many of us will greet the New Year exhausted, broke, and unfulfilled.

Here are some ideas to help you reclaim your holidays.

Tip: Focus on your calendar. Your schedule will ultimately reveal your priorities.

Identify your values.
What is important about the holidays to you?
What would you be sorry if you did not experience/accomplish?

Differentiate between obligations and choices. If you have been dragging yourself to the company party for years, vainly attempting to illuminate the neighborhood with your twinkle lights (in the rain), or dreading hosting one more expensive gathering, let yourself off the hook. You are not a grinch to let go of undesirable activities. In fact, when you thin your holiday schedule of unwanted obligations, you are choosing to make room for the activities that are truly important to you and will create lasting memories.

Schedule the holiday traditions/events that are important to you. List all the events of interest, including visits with family and friends, celebrations of faith, and favorite memory-making activities. Then, prioritize the list, schedule the most important items first, and eliminate any that you cannot reasonably fit in your calendar without overload. Move the eliminated items to the top of next year's calendar.

For example, you might decide that your priorities are: a Thanksgiving dinner for immediate family at your house, attending Christmas Eve service, baking holiday cookies with family, and hosting a traditional Open House for family and friends. Set the date for each event. Call the participants early, as people book themselves far in advance during this hectic time of year. Make your RSVPs early.

Fourth, after you’ve scheduled the important dates, back out your calendar and schedule preparation time. If you have an annual cookie party or gift exchange, schedule time to shop for ingredients, supplies, and gifts. By dedicating time on your calendar to shopping, wrapping, and card writing, you won’t feel stressed out and you can make even those activities special.

You can make your holiday preparations even richer by including friends. If you’re low on time for your girlfriends, host a “wrap party” or a “card party” by doing your Christmas wrapping or letter writing together. It will force you to get your list, stamps, photos, and gifts together by a reasonable deadline and you’ll enjoy time with friends. Who knows, this may become an annual tradition!

Being organized is more than de-cluttering and improving the look of a space. Orderly living is about being purposeful with your time and resources so that you can live an abundant life!

Recapture the joy of the holiday by infusing each of your special events with meaning and tradition. Since you aren't over committed and stressed to your limit, you will have time to play holiday music, light candles, and make each person feel loved. Get your cameras charged up to record your activities; this will be your best holiday season yet!

About the Author: Vicki Norris is an expert organizer, business owner, speaker, television personality, and author who inspires people to live out their priorities. Norris is a regular on HGTV’s nationally syndicated Mission: Organization, and is a recurrent source and contributor to national lifestyle publications including Quick & Simple magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Real Simple magazine. Norris is also author of Restoring Order™ to Your Home, a room-by-room household organizing guide.

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