Thursday, December 1, 2011

10 Steps To Homemade Joy

'Tis the season for running around like a crazy person, cramming too much into every day, and still not feeling the joy of the holidays.

Am I wrong?

No more. Time to stop and smell the Christmas tree. I'm not going to tell you how to streamline your day, I'm going to tell you how to get more joy out of it - with a simple system that puts the fun back into the holidays for your entire family.

And that system is..........An Advent chain.  


Doesn't matter if you're religious or not, doesn't matter what holiday you celebrate, doesn't even matter what you call it. It's simply a system to ensure that you do fun holiday type things strictly for the enjoyment of it. Remember that word? FUN?

Here's how it works.
  1. Pick a start date. We celebrate Christmas, so Dec 1 is our start date. 
  2. Cut strips out of construction paper, whatever colors are appropriate for the holiday. Our strips are 1 1/2" wide x 12" long, red & green.
  3. Divide the strips between family members
  4. Each person writes one enjoyable activity per strip. It can be anything as long as it's easily doable and not expensive. Keep them secret! For example, our strips might include - watch a favorite holiday show, go see a light display in our PJ's, give a group hug. (That was this mornings from one of my sons!). 
  5. If any chain entries need special equipment, like marshmallows for cocoa, start a list so you can get the supplies and have them ready. If you're afraid people might eat the supplies, put a sticky note on them, or keep them in a hidden spot.
  6. Mix up the strips of paper.
  7. Assemble them into a paper chain. Use tape or staples.
  8. Hang it over your breakfast table.
  9. Every morning take turns having a family member breaking the next link off the chain and reading it aloud. There's your fun activity for the day! We post the strips on the fridge so everyone knows whats coming, and if we can't get to it that day, we won't forget. Don't stress out over it - if you get too backlogged, forget about some of them The point here is to get some enjoyment into the holiday, not give you more to do.
  10. This is the perfect place to list all those holiday things you want to do but never seem to get to. And it makes a fun start to the morning.
We've been doing this for years - when we started, the kids were too young to do their own strips, so my husband & I did all of them Now, we all contribute, so it's a surprise for everyone.

I can't tell you how much joy this simple tradition brings to the holidays. And it removes the guilt of YOU having to be in charge of all the fun for the family. And, it removes all those activities from your head where they've been rolling around. Get them out of your brain, into a system that takes care of them, and on to the enjoyment instead!

One more way to remove all the "shoulds" from your brain - my friend Csilla   who ids a health coach just launched a free series of video tips on how to stay healthy and keep your eating in check over the holidays. One a day - short, easy to implement and free! Check them out here. 

 be organized.....evelyn

Want an unusual gift for the holidays for someone you know really well? How about my book - 30 Days To AN Organized Home - see the details here - http://www.organizingwithevelyn.com 

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