Take Time To Evaluate

An important part of change is the process of evaluating experiences. So how was Christmas this year? What was good about the day, and the season of preparation? What didn’t go how you planned?

Take some time to think about all the aspects of your Christmas celebration–the preparation, the execution, and the aftermath. While it’s fresh in your mind, write down some of your thoughts. Make plans for next year and write them down. Then put them in a place where you will be sure to see them next year at the right time. Maybe store them with your Christmas decorations–or even with your fall decorations if that’s when Christmas starts trying to get your attention.

This year was a good Christmas for my family. It was probably the Christmas I’ve felt least stressed and pressed for time since before I was married. In evaluating the reasons for this, though, I need to be realistic about recreating this experience.

Part of the reason I felt less stressed was because I didn’t do as much. We cut back on the amount of gifts we bought (but not the amount we spent), so that meant less gifts to wrap. I had changed my diet in the months leading up to Christmas, so we baked much less. We didn’t plan any day trips in the days before Christmas like we had other years, either. These changes helped make the days leading up to Christmas calmer and less busy.

But there were other reasons why this year probably seemed so relaxed. First, the school where I teach part time decided to give an extra-long vacation this year, including 5 days off BEFORE Christmas. This is unusual and is unlikely to be repeated every year (probably depending on when Christmas falls in the week). Being finished with school so early gave me a lot of extra time to work on all those last minute details. The second reason why this year seemed so relaxed is that my husband took off the same days as I had off from school. As I have mentioned in other posts, he is extremely helpful, and he did everything from last-minute shopping to a whole day of baking cookies for the family.

I can’t count on these two reasons above to repeat themselves every year, but I certainly did enjoy it this year. When next year comes, I will reflect on the simplicity of this year and do what I can to recreate it. Other years, I have not had experiences as great as this one, and I have used this time to reflect on what I want to be different next year.

One thing that didn’t go as planned for me was the posting schedule for this blog. I had planned many more frequent posts to help navigate the season with joy and without stress, but other writing commitments and several (seasonal) family illnesses ate up a lot of my time and prevented me from keeping to my schedule.

I may post a few more times as we head into January, but I will not be keeping this blog going continuously until next year. To do so would defeat the purpose of this blog, which is to stop Christmas from taking over too much of our time and energy throughout the year. In October of next year, I will resume postings. Until then, my e-book, Taming the Christmas Monster, is available on Amazon if you would need to get a head start on the season.

Today is New Year’s Eve, and so I wish everyone a Happy New Year and every blessing for 2015!


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