I was not too happy to see the first mention of a 100 days countdown until Christmas in an email this morning, so I thought I’d inflict it on you too! It is 100 days from today and no doubt the Christmas stock is arriving in the shops stockrooms, ready to put out over the next few weeks.
Whatever you think of Christmas, it is inevitable. You can either embrace it or ignore it, but both choices can be helped with some planning on your behalf.
Christmas is no different to any other project or goal. If you follow these basic steps you can be sure of achieving the Christmas you want.
Your Christmas Goals
First of all you need to define your Christmas goals.
- Where and with whom will you be celebrating?
- Do you need to discuss this with relatives or your partner?
- What is your budget for presents?
- Do you need to clear out rubbish before you shop?
- Do you need to make provision for family staying over?
Be clear and as always make them SMART. Think about what you have enjoyed in previous years and also what has gone wrong in the past. How can you make things better?
Perhaps you have decided that you wish to avoid Christmas. The above still applies except your thoughts should be around what will be your evasion strategy and what you will be doing instead, even if it is nothing!
Bear in mind that many people develop strong expectations of others over Christmas. This works both ways – consider what you expect from others and get there buy-in now.
Your Christmas Plan
Once you are clear about how your Christmas holiday is going to map out you need to put an action plan in place. Consider a list of specific areas such as presents, dinner, family visits, cards. Break things down into manageable tasks, work out the order they need to be done in and decide who needs to do them.
If the festivities are to be shared then try to engage others in some of the planning. Make it fun; don’t use threats, cajoling or emotional blackmail. If this is your Christmas dream and others are not that bothered, bear that in mind.
If you struggle to know what to do start with the final result and work backwards, preceding the outcome with ‘in order to…’,
e.g. “in order to give uncle Joe a present I need to have a wrapped present, in order to have a present in need to buy a present and wrapping paper, in order to buy a present I need to know what he would like.”
Completing Your Plan
To complete your countdown to Christmas plan make sure you keep it accessible and regularly work it. Print or write out a copy and pin into to a kitchen noticeboard, set alarmed dates in your phone or laptop calender or task manager.
Decide on a good time to check progress, possibly weekly or at specific points.
If you work through the above you should find that Christmas flows naturally without the last minute rushing, stress and minimal misunderstandings.
Time to start that countdown until Christmas, whether you like it or not!