Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Making Time for the Holidays

Today in my email, I received a link to an article titled “Beating the Holiday Blues” by Kathy Gates that was published on which is a great website with practical information on organizing, de-cluttering and working as a professional organizer. The article is reproduced here in my blog with permission from the publisher.

Rushing around in a blizzard, buying gifts, putting up lights, planning dinners, attending parties, and preparing for Grandma all in the week before Christmas Day may be your idea of fun -- who am I to judge? But, I honestly never really believed people who claimed they waited to do those things intentionally in the Spirit of Christmas. It always seemed to come out more like the Spirit of CRANKINESS to me.

Holidays can bring out the best, or the worst, it seems: thoughts of what could or should have been; thoughts of money problems or relationship problems; or being lonely in very personal ways. But the season also brings with it the joy of giving, of helping, or reconnecting with others. This DICHOTOMY can create a sort of imbalance in our lives.

One thing for sure is that the holiday season takes up a lot of ROOM in our lives, physically, emotionally, spiritually. And that squeeze on your time, energy, space and money can bring on the Holiday Blues. But there are definitely ways to help keep the blues to a minimum. Try these ideas:


The holidays generally bring to mind EXTRA -- food, gifts, sales, drinks, parties, people. By making a conscious choice to clear up your schedule, clean up your space, and dust off some old attitudes and habits, you can easily make room for a happier holiday season. Physically box up and store (if you just can’t bear to toss it) anything that you don’t need access to for the next couple of months. Streamline your pantry and refrigerator. Check your schedule and put things on HOLD that aren’t vital right now. The idea here is not to shove things into a corner, but to feel the lightness that comes from actually removing things. Give the holidays the room it needs for a holiday spirit to enter your home, your mind, your heart, and the blues will be chased right out the door.


I know this is not popular, and who wants to count pennies in the Spirit of Giving. But if you didn’t start last year to put away money SPECIFICALLY for the Holidays, then you can bet from past experience that the holiday blues will catch up to you. The biggest culprit of holiday ANXIETY is overspending, and the root of overspending is not planning. To totally eliminate this problem next year, decide how much you need, divide that by 48 weeks (skipping December), and purposefully save that amount each week. I like the physicality of actually putting $20 in a little Santa jar in my closet; but a separate savings account at the bank will earn you a little interest too. Whatever works for you is what works. When Christmas rolls around next year, you’ll be set. But if you didn’t do that for this year, the easiest way to keep the anxiety and credit card consequences under control is to be honest about it. Make that list, just like Santa does -- this eliminates impulse spending, spending too much on one person, not enough on another. This way you won’t still feel SQUEEZED by the holidays when spring flowers are coming up.


Try giving charitable gifts of TIME instead of money. Offer to baby sit on a particular day, or run an errand for a busy working mother. A word of caution, however -- I had a friend who tried this and felt blindsided by the requests later. So I suggest that you put some parameters around it. Example -- “Lil: 5 hours of babysitting on Saturday night Feb 14 (Valentine’s) so you and John can have a romantic night out.” “Karla -- 3 pickups of kids from school plus 2 hours of after school care during your busy Tax Time in April.” “Bob -- 2 hours of yard work assistance when you plant your garden in March.” These all show your special knowledge of the person, and that’s the best gift there is. You could also choose a birthday or an anniversary. Be sure to put it in your own CALENDAR so you don’t get caught off-guard.


Holidays don’t have to bring the blues with them. Beat the Holiday Blues by making some DECISIONS early about your time, space, and attitude, and being creative in how you handle the special situations the Holidays bring.

Kathy Gates is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach in Scottsdale Arizona who specializes in finding happiness in daily life. She will coach you via email or telephone, your choice. Vist her website at

Content provided by -- offering "a world of organizing solutions!" Visit for organizing products, free tips, a speakers bureau, get a referral for a Professional Organizer near you, or get some help starting and running your own organizing business. Visit their website at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Have a comment? Share your ideas with the group.