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Sunday, November 3, 2013

5 Things You Might Want to Start Doing Now Before the Holidays

Far too many people wait until the last minute to do things.  Don't be one of the excuse-makers telling relatives, friends and strangers, "Why I had no time to..." during the holiday season.

Most often people do have time to do things, they just don't prepare and rather procrastinate by doing things like: watching TV, talking on the phone, going out with friends, etc. when they were really supposed to be handling their holiday "To Do" or "To Don't" lists.  Depending on your relationship with others will determine whether you will be using either list this year.  A "To Don't" list is simply what you won't be doing/putting up with this year.  So what do you have yet to do?

1.  Share your holiday plans with your partner and children, then talk with relatives and friends.

Some people will make Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's plans with everyone else while forgetting about a partner and children.  If you want to cause upheaval in your house, start planning to do all sorts of things without consulting with those you live with first.  Have various ideas in mind and be willing to compromise when you share them with others.

2.  Save money and make necessary arrangements for things like: travel, shopping, gift buying, home decorating, and cooking.

If you hope to spend money on other events, rather than save for the holiday related tasks that will cost the most, you just might be that one saying, "I'm sorry, this is all I could do" as the holidays near.  Plan a little better--you still have time.  Stop spending money on things you really don't need and put the money away for now.  Chances are something is going to come up that you will say to yourself, "I'm sure glad I didn't spend all my money on XYZ."  Shop for bargains and use coupons both on and offline whenever possible.

3.  Avoid making promises you can't keep, so say, "No," instead of maybe.

The excitement of getting together with family and friends can make the mouth move faster than the feet.  Before you commit to doing anything else for anyone else, practice saying, "No."  Otherwise, you will find yourself resenting the holidays instead of appreciating good times with loved ones.

4.  Donate or sell unwanted items, then clean/organize and make room for guests if you plan on entertaining.

One of those annoying issues that tend to come up around the holidays is unclean, disorganized homes, and irritable hosts.  If everything is handled in advance, the host and visitors just might have a great time.  Be sure everyone knows and understands that certain things have to be done when entertaining and visiting.  Unwilling parties shouldn't be forced to welcome others into their home especially people they don't like or get along with or go traveling when the timing just isn't right.  Save your family some drama, if everyone isn't on board, consider staying home or rearranging plans.  Don't miss out on opportunities to bless someone else, make some money for your pocket and space in your household.  You will be eliminating some future stress for all.

5.  Put in for personal and vacation days if you haven't already.

Don't disappoint relatives and friends with, "I got to work that day..."  Take the day off or make plans to leave work early. 

Make good use of your free time, consider your loved ones' needs, and don't sleep on potential headaches prevent them, do what you can to ensure that the holidays come and go in peace!

Nicholl McGuire author of When Mothers Cry, visit her blog here.

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