Now that the holidays are behind us we can take a breath. Today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite tools to wrap up the holiday season. One of the things I do every year is to wait a week or so to settle back into our everyday routine than to reflect on the holidays. What did I love about them, what didn’t I like so much?

The goal is to really pinpoint the things we love and do more of them and let the things we don’t fall by the wayside. I set aside a half hour or so, sit down with a notebook and a cup of coffee (I would prefer a glass of wine but I follow the dry January tradition but that’s another story) in a comfortable spot and reflect. It’s a different version of the Christmas list. Once I do this I file it away either in my computer or pack it away in the Christmas boxes (or both) and pull it out before the holiday season hits next year.

I know this is a tough one, January is a time we look forward to the New Year with resolutions and we tend to sweep the holidays out with the New Year. It’s so important to capture this now. Time has a way of easing our memories. Pulling this out at the beginning of November as I plan for the holiday season is so helpful in lessening the stress levels (the holidays hold such stress for most of us) and allowing us to plan more of the things we enjoy. Organization is not very glamorous but I find it’s the key to happiness in the busy holiday season. Organizing our thoughts now is so helpful to get a jumpstart on next season.

If you need some help getting started I’ll share an abbreviated version of my list with you.

This year was a different holiday for us.  What I loved:

  • For the first time, we were not hosting Thanksgiving, we traveled to visit family and that was really nice.
  • Dad turned eighty in December and my brothers, SIL’s nieces and nephews gathered together for the first time in years to be with him on the big day and to celebrate an early Christmas. I’m so grateful for the time with family, we’re scattered all over the country and it was a gift to gather together. We must plan more of that in the future.
  • Instead of hosting Christmas dinner we went to watch the Grandchildren open gifts to share their excitement on Christmas morning. It was such fun to see them tear into gifts. We enjoyed brunch with the family, visited my SIL then had dinner just the two of us. The girls excitement is so contagious and this is what Christmas is all about.

Each event was so special but it a break from tradition. Steve enjoys hosting and is having a hard time passing the torch, I’m excited to begin new traditions.

There are the things I missed.

  • We didn’t host our annual cocktail party and that was a shame.
  • There are still presents to deliver and that’s a sign we didn’t get to see all of the loved ones we wanted to celebrate with – some of this is the result of not having a party some is poor planning
  • I had a major break in tradition by not giving personalized ornaments to the children this year. I don’t know if they missed it but I did.

So what’s on your list? Mine is pretty simplistic not – I’ve been at this for a long time. In years past my list has shown the family drama, unmet expectations, the stress of taking on too much, etc. It’s still there but I handle it differently thanks to this exercise. I’ve learned what traditions work for us and what doesn’t. This allows us to enjoy the season so much more.

I would love to hear yours. Please visit the comment section below and tell me your favorite things about your holiday and what you would like to change.

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