You’d think, as a hugely organised person and household, our Christmas holidays would be pretty seamless. Actually this is one period I tend to leave until last minute and despite all my best efforts I am ALWAYS found dashing to Aldi for one more box of chocolates for a random person and pretending I didn’t forget the school fair as we rock up 15 minutes before the end.
Truth be told, I think this is probably a result of years spent working in retail and finding the run up to Christmas to be manic and stressful – we would start talking about it straight after the summer! Upon leaving that environment I went the complete opposite way – I’m now the person grumbling when a Christmas tune is heard too soon. I don’t like the idea of thinking about presents in October, I curse that lurking feeling about the huge amount of extra unpaid work on the horizon, I shudder and roll-my-eyes when the word Christmas is even mentioned pre December.
Surely it should spread to one month (max) and be filled with spontaneity, family time, magic, not the stressful buying of more stuff and filling the diary with yet more activities. I know, I know, feel free to shout bar humbug at me from afar.
But as I teach in my Organise your Entire Life course, actually being more prepared, prioritising, and getting your sh*t together doesn’t mean you can’t have random fun and last minute drinks out. In fact quite the opposite, it means you can have more of it.
It will take me 5 minutes to book that panto if I do it now rather than three hours trying to find one that still has seats left on7th Dec. It will be an enjoyable task to think about setting up an advent calendar (if that’s your thing, I know I might be alone in finding this fun) rather than an anxiety ridden evening on 30th November, or a panicked visit to every supermarket in the vicinity before picking up the really expensive one because that’s the only one left.
As a working mum, with four young children, I want to spend time off together eating mince pies, actually scrap that, baking mince pies, calmly and without rushing. I want to be the mum who has already bought the flaming advent calendars and has them stored nicely in a safe place (not the sort of safe place that is still holding my sister’s birthday card from last year, grrrr). I want to be hanging out with the people I really like to spend time with and not struggling to find a date we can all do, because we’ve left it too late and now every weekend is booked up with kids parties and visits to long lost relatives.
Finally, and this one is really important, I want to make sure that we share the load as a family. This doesn’t mean delegating odd tasks to other people (mainly, in my case, my husband) and feeling frustrated that those tasks aren’t up to standard. This means sitting down and planning it properly TOGETHER. Making joint decisions, putting in timescales, sharing out actions. If this sounds like some sort of board meeting then, yes, in our house it normally kind of is. Because I’m running a business, Gazzy is working too, I’m still up every night feeding a 11mo and our household takes quite a bit of maintaining just on a normal week never-mind when the old bearded guy is due to make an appearance. I imagine that in every family there is a unique version of this juggle and it is REAL. Christmas isn’t something that just happens, the work that goes into it shouldn’t be invisible, and we want to make sure that it is a time that everyone enjoys, not just a massively long additional to do list that leaves one person feeling like they need a week in a dark room.
So, with all that in mind, this year we are determined for it to be different. And yes, that means starting a little bit earlier. If you have done one of our courses before you may be familiar with the format of this planning and know that it works!!! It’s how we organise our whole lives (don’t ask me why this is the first year that we’ve used it to organise Christmas – duh). We will be doing so much more of this within our new membership (launches in January by the way, if you’re on the mailing list you’ll hear first, just make sure you tick the box when you download the Christmas Planning Guide), simplifying, finding more time for the stuff that matters, managing the juggle. Can’t wait.
I hope that in sharing it we can all be a little less shouty and a little more zen. That we can be the ones who turn up to the Xmas party with their hair done having had more than 5 minutes to get dressed (and not having to nip to the toilet to remove control pants which they didn’t try on because they were so last minute that now they can’t breathe – just me last year???)
So here it is, download the Christmas Planning Guide HERE, I’d love to know what you think and please, please do share how you use it and ideas of your own by tagging me on Instagram #guiltymothersclub, #guiltymotherschristmas or on the Facebook group (Guilty Mothers Clubhouse). Look out for lots more on there too in terms of presents that aren’t going to clutter your house with more plastic and more.
Between us we’ll have it covered!