I LOVE the Christmas holiday season. Absolutely love it. I love driving around looking at Christmas lights, I love Starbucks eggnog chai (even though it sadly disagrees with me!), I love chocolate no-bake cookies and sitting by the Christmas tree at night. I love the stories, the songs, and the anticipation of it all. But the stress? I could do without that.
Like it or not, the holidays do come with some stress and the struggle is rising above it and enjoying the simple moments without losing perspective. Along came Marcia, author of Simplify Your Life, with a new holiday organizer entitled Simplify Your Holidays/a>. This, my friends, is an amazing three ring binder note book filled with ideas of how to keep things orderly. She gives calendars to help you keep track of what needs to be done and when. She helps you focus on what is most important and helps you to make sure you schedule those things in – whether it be coffee with a friend, a particular party you really want to attend, to your favorite Christmas cookie! (Don’t want to forget about making your favorite holiday cookie now, do you?)
I’m a planner, but not as much as Marcia Ramsland is. She’s the uber planner. A professional planner. She makes list and I tend to forget about them. But I have to say that this book is so cool and is so extremely easy to use that I’m going to follow her advice this Christmas season. Now, my husband and I are a relatively new family, having only been married for three years. We’re still wading through two sets of family traditions and trying to make decisions about what is right for us. Throw a two year old in the mix that grandparents want to visit with and, well, it’s good to stay organized. The thing I like about this planner, in particular, is that she helps you lay out a plan that is right for you. She offers ideas for a 2 week plan, a 4 week plan and an 8 week plan to help you stay on track with buying gifts, mailing them out in time, taking the family Christmas photo and on and on and on. She addresses all of those things that “must” be done. But the best thing is, she encourages you to be YOU in the midst of it all.
The question you might be asking is this – is it too early to be thinking about Christmas? I mean, we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving yet. Ramsland makes a good argument that the reason Christmas is so commercialized is precisely because people try to shove all their plans and buying and festivities into the month of December. It’s ultra hyped at that point. She argues that if you sit down and plan things out to keep you organized and busy beginning in November, you’ll have time to relax in December and just enjoy those moments that you anticipate living so much.
What about you? Do you have a need to simplify your holiday and slow things down a bit this year? Do you need help figuring out how to relax and enjoy this season instead of bustling through it? Thomas Nelson publishers have generously offered to help five of our readers figure this out. Leave a comment before November 12 in order to win a copy of Simplify Your Holidays/a>. Five winners will randomly be selected to win and will be mailed a copy in time to use this notebook throughout the 2008 holiday season. (Contest open to U.S. residents only.)
I, for one, intend to revel in this holiday season with a little help from my friend Marcia. I hope you do also!
Carrie comes by her book obsession honestly, having descended from a long line of bibliophiles. She blogs about books regularly at Reading to Know.