The Anti-Anxiety Christmas Checklist

Feeling a little anxiety by all the Martha's out there with perfect decorating and holiday cards already on the mail?

Truth be told, I really and truly can’t stand all of the Holiday Checklists/To-do’s/Spreadsheets that come out at this time of year. I know I am a Professional Organizer and am supposed to love all things organized but these lists actually make me have a physical reaction when I read them.  Maybe it’s anxiety (“oh snap – I hadn’t even thought to put #34 on my list!”). Maybe it’s stress (“how will I ever find the time to get all of these things done?!”).  Maybe it’s the peer pressure (“you mean everyone else does all of these amazing things for their loved ones, homes and pets?!”).

With that being said, what kind of Professional Organizer would I be if I didn’t offer you my own spin on a Holiday Checklist?  I’ve put together some thoughts, advice and resources that when I read them I actually find them helpful rather than having a mild panic attack.  Hope these little tidbits help you to clear your holiday outer and calm your holiday inner…

  • Manage Expectations – let’s be honest, no matter how much we know that we shouldn’t expect “the perfect holiday”, we all hold onto that glimmer of hope that this may actually be the year.  It’s good to have hope and be optimistic … the problem lies in the fact that every family member has a different definition of “the perfect holiday”.  So kick off your holiday season with a family meeting in which every member of the family shares one or two things that would float their holiday boat. Write them down, put them on the fridge and read them a couple times a week.  You might just be surprised how everyone steps up and works together to meet each other’s expectations.
  • Holiday Cards – isn’t it amazing how beautiful and creative some of the cards are that you receive?  Friends put a lot of thought into these cards and I really love looking at them during the holiday season. I honestly feel bad when it’s time to pitch them in January.  I recently saw the great idea on Pinterest of using your phone to take a picture of the photo on the card and using it as your contact picture for that person.
  • ‘Tis the Season for Tipping – ugh, how stressful is it trying to figure out not only who you need to tip but also how much is appropriate?  It gives me holiday brain freeze because I so want to show the appreciation I feel for all of those people who make my life so much easier. However if I were to tip all of them what I truly believe they are worth I would break the bank.  Thankfully, those always-on-the-ball writers at Real Simple have compiled a pretty comprehensive and realistic guide for us to use.
  • Hostess Gifts – I am always grateful for the families who open up their homes during the craziest time of the year to fill us with food, drink and holiday cheer.  Bringing a bottle of wine, a candle or some fancy soap always seems so inadequate and really doesn’t express how happy I am to be part of their celebration. I did a little research to find some unique and heartfelt hostess gifts that I am going to give a try this holiday season…
    • A “Morning-After” Basket – fill it with a special holiday coffee blend, ingredients for Bloody Mary/Mimosas or such, some muffins/scones/banana bread, a CD mix with peppy music so they can get their groove on while cleaning up.
    • A Holiday Cheer Basket – pick a favorite holiday drink and create a basket with all the necessary ingredients and some fun, holiday glassware (click here for a little inspiration)
    • If you are creative, make a beautiful flower arrangement in a special vase that she can keep and think of you every time she uses it.
    • If none of these ideas grab you, check out these additional ideas at  Such the Spot blog
  • The Elf on the WHAT?? – for those of you with young kids who have that infamous Elf on the Shelf you know what I’m talking about.  The kids adore him and the behavior results are worth it, but it seems that there are two definite and distinct camps of parents when it comes to the Elf.  If you want to  have a little fun with your Elf check out this list of creative ideas.
    However if you happen to live in one of those homes with a lazy Elf who forgets to relocate every night, you might enjoy this point of view .

Well, there they are – my contributions to the Holiday Checklist.  Hope the only physical reaction you had was a smile and a surge of inspiration.

Kristin Van Dusen is a professional organizer and owner of Wayne-based Design and Conquer, www.designandconquerllc.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Annie Webb December 12, 2012 at 01:02 PM
Wonderful, Kristin! You always have such great ideas! Merry Christmas.
Kristin Van Dusen December 12, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Thanks Annie! Merry, Merry to the Webb Family :)
Vu Nguyen December 16, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Kristin, Great article on educating the public during these increased times of heightened anxiety and stress during the holiday season. I may have the perfect stocking stuffer! I would like to introduce myself and my company for you to share with all your friends, family and audience. My company is a family start-up business based out of San Francisco aimed at targeting stress and anxiety through creating innovative all-natural and organic products to stop feelings of anxiety, stress, or panic attacks. Our product that just debuted this year is a portable and on-demand oral spray of the most powerful anti-anxiety & relaxation herbs found on the planet, many of which you cover here. The products name is 1Hour Break and is created with the oversight of the American Herbal Product Association by the top herbalist with over 30 years of experience. 1Hour Break is organic and all-natural, is kosher certified, & is taking the anxiety and stress world by storm. A few milliliters sprayed onto the tongue is all that is needed for an Hour's worth of relief and it can be taken as needed. We like to think of ourselves as the forward thinking and progressive company that looks at stress& anxiety seriously through a holistic and natural approach. We offer a unique look at stress and anxiety as it pertains to health and wellness. Please find information about us and our product at the following link. The link: www.1hourbreak.com/kava-kava-infographic Best regards, Vu Nguyen


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