Aaaand, we’re off: The holiday season is on as we enter December!  



Granted, the official shopping countdown has been pushed to Thanksgiving Day, thanks to relentless merchants.  But the holiday flurry is now in full swing!  Baking, hosting, visiting, and traveling have now joined the party to vie for our time and attention.

Feeling stressed with the onslaught of activities?  Doesn’t matter whether you’re an extrovert or introvert, there’s a whole lot going on in this one month for everyone.

Today we’d like to suggest a few tactics to keep you centered during the chaos and to declutter a jam-packed end-of-the-year calendar.  Not only will you stay on course with what matters most to you; you’ll also be one step ahead of your New Year’s resolutions, whatever those may be (hint: identify them now before January 1st rolls around!).   

 1.  Carve Out “Me” Time



There’s a lot of wisdom in the airline instructions to put on your own air mask before helping others! 

In order to be fully available for our family and friends, it’s important that we pause and release any negative emotions circulating within.  Oftentimes, anxiety, stress or depression start to well up at this time of year.  Our emotions envelop us and before you know it, they pull the strings on how we react and interact with others.  Take time to declutter the origin of any negative feelings.

Is the anxiety or stress due to what needs to be done for the holidays?  Make a list of all your tasks and then prioritize them in the order they need to occur.  When you can see the steps in black and white, it generally provides a feeling of control.  You now have a roadmap of what needs to happen and when.

Are you feeling down or depressed about what you didn’t accomplish this year?  Feeling the passage of time with not as much to show for it?  Don’t beat yourself up! Instead, jot down what you started and then plan to finish it in the New Year.  Consider your 2018 intentions to be “stretch goals” which will extend into 2019.

There’s more on planning in tactic #4 below.  Also circle back to this post for tips on keeping your holidays peaceful:


Release any perfectionist expectations in order to revel in the holiday cheer with your loved ones!

2.  Pick and Choose Events Carefully



We are truly blessed when we have a plethora of holiday get togethers and party invitations extended to us!  

At the same time, it can feel quite hectic to prepare for and squeeze in every event.  Some call for gift exchanges, a potluck dish or special holiday attire.  Our calendar becomes crowded with fun…but does it start to feel more like work to keep up?  Is the “ho ho ho” feeing hollow?

Remember that you can be in charge of how you want to celebrate the holidays.  We all want to please the people in our lives.  But when it becomes too much, are we really doing anyone a favor to show up stressed?

Take five and declutter your calendar of events.  Pare down to those that feel manageable.  Send regrets to those that take away the space you crave for a simple night at home.


Choose the quiet movie night in flannel jammies if that’s what gives you pleasure!

3.  Pare down the Presents



Consider quality over quantity when it comes to holidays gifts.

Who we buy for and how much we spend is a very personal choice.  Yet if you find yourself stressed over the whole shopping process, it may be time to consider decluttering your list.

It’s one thing to shop for young children.  They’re fairly vocal about what interests them.  But adult children?  “Adult” is the key word here: they generally are on their own now.  They are able to support themselves as well as purchase what they like.

Why not scale back the presents to just a couple thoughtful items and add in a check if you feel so inclined?  They can pick out exactly what they want and it will be exactly what they had in mind….that’s the beauty of cash, haha!

Declutter your social circle gift list by landing on a specific item or two that can be “one-size-fits-all”.  Hostess gifts such as wine, fancy cookies (from the bakery, not your kitchen!), a blooming plant or floral arrangement are always timeless and relevant.  Their beauty or tastiness can be savored among friends.  They don’t add to additional clutter in the home either, which is a bonus!


When you struggle with what to get someone, perhaps your presence is the best gift (and chocolate)!


4.  Declutter Your January



What do you want to start doing in January?

Do you have some basic goals for 2019?  Don’t wait for the 1st to roll around to set your goals.  Identify a few specific actions you can take at the start of the year to get you on the path you want.  You can avoid feeling unprepared if you declutter your many resolutions now and zero in on your top priorities.

It can feel unsettling to wake up on January 1 and not have a plan.  Being ready to kick into the New Year with a roadmap is exciting and empowering.  It also can be reassuring to know that even if you’re not incorporating your new intentions into your December calendar, you know you have a specific agenda come January.  Then you can relax and enjoy the holidays guilt-free with a “final fling”.


Commit to core actions in January that will support your New Year’s goals. 


5.  Breathe and Be Present



Take five when stress steals center stage!

When things don’t go exactly as we planned, it’s easy to detour into discouragement.  And sometimes, we do need to forego some “me time” to honor a relationship.  I get that!  When this happens, go with the flow.  Release your disappointment, stress and anxiety.  Close your eyes and declutter your mind chatter.

You’ve decided the meet-up is important.  So proceed graciously and with a smile.  Above all, remind yourself that your personal needs can take a temporary back seat for now.


All relationships including that with ourselves requires give and take!

The Wrap

  • We have more control over how we proceed with the holidays than we may think.
  • Take time to plan your December priorities.
  • Get a head start on what you will do in January.
  • Declutter your mind of negative chatter!
  • Here’s a quick video about how gratitude can be a stress buster:



How do you keep the holidays merry and bright? 
Do you have some tips on how to keep your composure?  And preparing for the New year? 
Please share your thoughts below…and thanks for stopping by!