Holiday schedule organization in as little as 15 minutes keeps a busy home from turning into chaos. You can use a simple wall calendar and 15 minutes at a family dinner to create a plan for attending holiday parties and performances. (This post does contain affiliate links to help you find items and support the blog.)
I remember wondering how are we were going to do all this the first year both our children had holiday parties and performances. We tried and failed miserably to be everywhere with everyone. In fact, shortly after this year we created our annual Christmas Quiet Day. Read more about our obligation free Christmas day in How We Saved Our Family Christmas.
Create a Visual Holiday Schedule in a Central Location
Planning needs to start early both in years and days. The events for my then preschool sons included holiday parties and performances starting the week after Thanksgiving. My husband and I both had work parties and friend events to attend. Plus, the annual church potluck, which is the day we normally cut and trim our Christmas tree.
On average, families of 4, attend 8-12 extra functions during the holiday season.
That is nearly half a month’s worth of extra evenings and afternoon parties crammed into a space of about 6 weeks. This can be overwhelming.
Growing up, my ever organized mom, would put a calendar on the fridge as a visual reminder of all the activities going on in the house. If you do not already do this, December is a great time to start.
If there are non-readers in the house, use pictures to denote activities. My youngest son, at age nine, is now the calendar keeper. He updates the calendar and marks down the days.
For little ones, an advent calendar counting down the days is also a great addition.
Plan Your Holiday Schedule In 15 Minutes As a Family
Shorty after Thanksgiving, I ask all my fellows to let me know the date of events and parties they would like to attend. Just like budgeting your money for gifts, time and energy over the holidays needs to be budgeted to avoid grumpiness. Set a timer and get it on the calendar as quickly as possible.#1 At dinner decide, as a family, what you would like to attend and what you are kind of “ho-hum” about. Not all family members want to attend all the functions. Decide what is important to attend as a family, then look at the individual schedules.
#2 Write down everything you even think is happening including cookie swaps and shopping. Do you have traditions you always do– sledding on Christmas day, a movie after Thanksgiving Day, dinner at a favorite restaurant on New Years? Be sure to write it all down and don’t assume everyone remembers what the traditions are you started last year.
#3 Make special note of school performances, deciding whether one or both parents can attend. Dividing up is something that helps with time constraints over the holidays. If grandparents are available to enjoy the holiday pageants, your children are doubly blessed.
#4 Place everything on a wall calendar. Remember to write down on the calendar, if you are expected to bring a gift or food.
#5 Learn you limits and say no thank you. As a family, we decided it is too much to be gone every night of the week. We set a limit of 2 extra holiday events a week at most. What are your family limits? This is where you eliminate items from the calendar.
Evaluate Your Holiday Schedule Weekly
Have a 5 minute update on the schedule for the week at dinner. Check in with the other family members energy and desire to attend that weeks events. Most events this time of year do not require an RSVP, but if they do think carefully about you holiday energy budget before you say yes.
Create space for quiet. Making dinner time a quiet at home space helps balance the busyness of the holiday season. Putting off dinner invitations from friends until January helps keep a reserve of energy for the most “must do” engagements.
Discuss in advance how late you will stay at an event. This may mean taking two cars and/or hiring babysitters, if the event is going to run late.
Keep the Christmas chaos under control with the simple tool for more peace and joy in the holiday.
Other holiday tips;