Lessons Learned: Must Do, Want to Do, Optional

The holiday season brings on lots of events, stress, and limited time to relax. Every year I can’t believe how fast the dates come up. First it’s Thanksgiving and then within a blink of an eye it’s Christmas. In between there are a whole lot of events going on.

No one can slow down the time, but you can choose to plan out and balance the month of December so not to pull out hairs, become overextended, or get depressed. Instead, make a chart of events or write them down on a calendar for the month of December. Next, color code the events based on the following categories:

Must Do – Green
Events that you can’t avoid doing. You could be excited and want to go or absolutely dread going. You just know that you cannot miss it. Shopping for gifts could be one of them. Color these green. For me, I will celebrate Christmas with my mom and siblings on Christmas Eve night. We’ve celebrated on this night for many, many years. I mark it green because we siblings can plan events around that date in order for us to be together. If done every year, we know to keep the night open. Also, this year will be a tough one for my mom. This will be the first Christmas without my dad. Now isn’t the time to break tradition. The event is a Must Do and also one that I enjoy doing.

Want to Do – Yellow
Events that you really want to go to and have some fun. Color these yellow. We have a neighborhood Jingle Mingle progressive party. Three houses in the neighborhood open their houses at different times during the night, and we all go from one house to the next at a designated time. We bring appetizers to the first two houses and then dessert to the last house. I look forward to getting together with the neighbors and seeing what they’re up to. I don’t have to go to this event. It’s not a must but something I really enjoy doing.

Optional – Blue
Events that you’re not obligated to go to, but they could still be fun if you have the time. Highlight the events in blue. For example, you’ve been invited to join a cookie exchange. This means you’ll need a day to make the cookies and then attend the event. Or, a friend is having a cocktail party on a night that you already have something going on. Still put it on the calendar. If the other event is cancelled, you have a Plan B.

By having all the events laid out on a calendar or on a list, you’ll be able to see what you can manage. The colors will help give you a visual. All the greens will show events that you have to do. The yellows are those that you want to do. The blues are ones that are optional. If there’s too many colors for one weekend, you may need to consider crossing the blue ones off your list. Or, maybe you can arrange the event for another, less crowded, night. Remember to have a good balance. If your weekends are booked, you may need to consider bowing out of the greens and yellows as well. Keep yourself sane. Have a few nights to yourself and take time to enjoy the holidays.

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