Tuesday, 20 November 2018 05:58

MY 4-STEP PLAN FOR SILLY SEASON SANITY

30 days to Christmas and the silly season is upon us! A month ago, I wrote about preparing and planning well in advance. Here we are 30 days later and you might not have all your ducks in a row yet!

I thought you might like some more ideas on how to enjoy your festive season. Here is a 4-step plan that will help you go from stressful and anxious to stress less and relaxed this year.

Step one: Think, plan and prepare

Take a moment this weekend, grab a notepad and pen and spend some time thinking, planning and preparing. Think about what worked and what didn't last year!

Make a list of everything, I mean EVERYTHING you have to do until the end of the year and allocate time (enough time) to the tasks – and start today!

Step two: Simplify, organise and manage (and delegate)

Now break your long list down into smaller lists. Be specific about gifts, shopping, dinners, lunches and outings, activities and trips.

If it feels like too much – it probably is. Now’s a good time to be realistic and cross out all the things that would be nice, but would complicate your life or stretch you too thin!

Step three: Now put your plan into action (and don’t forget to delegate)

Now you have a plan that feels comfortable and do-able, start with all the shopping you can get done now. Remember that everywhere is going to be busier than usual so give yourself extra time. I like to get to the shops as they open, and get it all done before the crowds descend. Remember too, to factor in some down time!

Have a large daily calendar in a central place with everything on it for the whole family to see. Ask older children to add their plans too!

Step four: YOUR Silly Season Sanity Mantra

Repeat after me:

  • I will share the load and not try to do it all myself (that means I will delegate!!)
  • I will try to avoid the 3 Ó’s: Over-spending, Over-catering and Over-indulging
  • I will keep things simple and pace myself
  • I will be strong enough to say NO when I have to
  • Finally, I will give myself the time to be in the right space to enjoy it all!

So, do you have any tips to stay stress-free this holiday season?

Published in News
Wednesday, 24 October 2018 05:45

60 DAYS TO CHRISTMAS!

Can you believe it?

Christmas is just 60 days away! Christmas jingles ring out in all the shopping malls. Baubles and tinsel and stars and trees adorn shop windows. Before you know it, the holidays will be here! Friends, family, festivities, outings and traditions; so much to look forward, but so much to plan and organise.

I love Christmas with old family traditions along with a whole lot of new ones created over the years while our girls were growing up. I love Christmas pudding, a Christmas tree and Christmas lights. I love family gatherings and get-togethers. I love Christmas day with our South African version of Christmas lunch – delicious cold salads, turkey on the weber, and a gammon waiting to be sliced followed by an ice cream bomb with Christmas spices, watermelon, Christmas pudding and custard! Light summer dresses and bathing suits, dips in the pool and a nap in the shade when it all gets too much! Most of all I love spending time with loved ones and friends.

I don’t like the chaos, the queues, the frenetic to-do list, the stress over menus and venues. I don’t like the stress, the panic that sets in when it’s not going according to plan. And so, I take time to prepare and organise well ahead of time so that it is truly a relaxing and wonderful time of the year!

Here is my 15-step checklist I work off every year starting now, and thought you might find it good to use.

  1. START NOW!
  2. Make a To Do list to take you through to the end of the year
  3. Break it down into smaller lists - Food, gifts, cards, activities etc
  4. Delegate tasks, and cheat where possible - buy your Christmas pudding, don't make it!
  5. Set a budget. Know what you have to spend, allocate and stick to it.
  6. Do half as much as you want to do.
  7. How much is enough? Keep it simple
  8. Spend twice the time and half the money
  9. Resist the pressure of too many invitations, too many expectations
  10. Schedule appointments and dates further apart to allow for holiday traffic
  11. Set boundaries and say no sometimes
  12. Think ahead
  13. Take shortcuts, don't do too much
  14. Remember one stunning dessert is better than a few average ones!
  15. Take some ME time - small breaks just for you

I would love to hear about your tips for a more relaxed festive season…

Published in News
Thursday, 04 January 2018 06:25

Packing up the Christmas Decorations

In our childhood home it was traditional to take down the Christmas decorations 12 days after Christmas, and so I continued that with my own family! This year, however, they are already down and packed away! I start work tomorrow (which is early for me) and yesterday was spent getting my home in order, ready for another year.

I thought I would share some of my personal tips. Here goes:

Packing up the decorations

• Take down all ornaments
• Remove any you won’t want to use next year
• Group ornaments and pack in tissue
• I use fruit packing sheets for baubles, and egg boxes for smaller items

Taking down the lights

• Start where you finish and wind up backwards
• Wind each strand round an empty toilet roll or paper towel roll
• Ensure you remove all batteries, and pack all adaptors

Take down the tree

• Pack away securely

Christmas décor and extras

• Pack items into boxes in categories and label clearly

o Tree decorations
o Lights
o Christmas cards and labels, wrapping, ribbon etc.
o Christmas crockery, candles and linen

Donate any unwanted decorations!

Do you have any tips for us?

Published in Organizing

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