Monday, December 19, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #10

Toy Soldier in Chicago
Tip #10 Have Fun

The holidays are now upon us. This is the time when we all have a choice. As a recovering perfectionist (see holiday tip #8) I have to remind myself that I can choose to stress over all the little things that might need to be done. Or I can make another choice and focus on having fun with my family these next two weeks.  

After a few bumps in the road, I have chosen to have fun. Only the really essential tasks will make it onto my to-do list and calendar, while the others can wait.

I have decided that what I have done thus far is enough. Those last few gifts that I did not purchase can go on  the list for birthdays. The stockings will be hung as a family activity, but the other decorations can stay in the box until next year (note to self, start earlier next year). What my family really needs is for me to be present and not stressed out. 

So, this holiday season, please remind yourself to be really present with your family. Most likely, it is the experiences, not the stuff, that will be remembered years from now. 

Happy Holidays!

Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will taking a break from blogging until the New Year. On Saturday, January 14, 2012 Carolyn will be presenting "Simply Organize the New Year:  5 Simple Strategies to Keep Your New Year's Resolution" at the Women's Health and Fitness Day, a free event. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #9

Tip #9: The Reason for the Season

As I near the end of my 10 Tips for Stress Free Holidays, it seems time for contemplation over why we do all that we do during the holiday season.
No matter what faith or what holiday you will celebrate this season, I hope that you will take time to remember why you celebrate. At the end of the day and the end of the holiday season, that is what matters most.
I know that finding time for yourself or any type of quiet contemplation can be difficult at this time of year. In my home there is still some decorating to be done (if I so choose), shopping, wrapping and finishing up that photo book for my mother that I started way too late.
However, I truly believe that if you take a few minutes out of each day to ground yourself during this busy season, you and your family will benefit tremendously. This can be done alone, with your family or with a group.
One of my clients makes a point to wake up early before her family for quiet time. Many of us choose to worship with others in a spiritual group. In my household, opening up an Advent calendar and eating the chocolates inside is an evening ritual that includes a chance to remember why we celebrate Christmas in our family.
Whatever holiday you are celebrating this season, be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzah, the New Year or something else, take a few moments out of each day to remember the reason for the season.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. Carolyn will be speaking on "The Secrets of a Simply Organized Life" this Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at the Dexter United Methodist Church monthly soup and salad dinner.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #8

Tip #8: Accept Imperfection

True confession time....My name is Carolyn and I am a recovering perfectionist.
Fortunately, I have a team at home reminding me daily that perfectionism is not the way to go. My husband is a get it done kind of guy. You know, done is the new perfect. My young children teach me that what doesn't matter, doesn't matter. And the big dog gives lots of love while making sure the house has that lived in, dog hair everywhere, feel.
The holiday season has a way of bringing forth the perfectionist in nearly everyone. Even my husband was intent on finding the perfect tree this past weekend at a local tree farm. We found and cut down a lovely imperfect fraser fir that now graces our home with mismatched ornaments (all the fragile ones at the top).
The thing about holiday induced perfectionism is that it causes more stress at an already stressful time. If we can accept that things will not be perfect at the holidays or any day, we can relax and enjoy the blessings that we do have.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Stress Free Holiday Tip #7

Tip #7: Clutter Free Gifts

As we get closer to the holidays it is natural to feel a little pressure to get that "perfect gift" for a family member or friend. Rather than rush out to the mall or the nearest big box store, consider gifts that are both useful and clutter free.

What is a clutter free gift?
I consider clutter free gifts to be anything that the person receiving has requested, can use or will not take up much space. This can include consumable items such as food, home spa items, bird seed, or basically anything that will be used up in the months ahead. Clutter free gifts can also include services such as organizing, oil changes, snow removal, spa treatments or any kind of service that offers gift certificates. Charitable donations were also mentioned in stress free holiday tip #6.

A clutter free gift does not have to cost anything but your time and can be homemade. A friend told me that she (along with her siblings) prepares and gives complete frozen meals to their elderly parents. What a wonderful way to share and care for someone you love!

A note about gift cards
Gift cards are great, but are not always clutter free and some do expire. When working with clients, I often stumble across unused gift cards. Please be sure that the gift card is for a store or restaurant that the person frequently visits and that using the gift card will not add more clutter to their space.

Being organized is not about being perfect. In my next post I will write about accepting imperfection during the holidays and every day.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life.