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For many of us, this week signals the true start of the holiday season, where we move from planning to doing. As you enter the season, we want to share some simple ideas to help you simplify the hectic parts of the holidays, so you can truly enjoy the most meaningful aspects of the season.
SIMPLIFY the Holidays:

S ~ is for START with the end in mind. The holidays are loaded with not only a mile-long to-do list, but also with lots of emotions and expectations. Decide now how you'd like the holidays to be for you. How do you want to feel? What would make this year's holiday season the best ever? Ask your family to share their thoughts, too. Their answers may surprise you.

I ~ is for INSPIRATION STATEMENT Distill your ideas about what you want for the season into a single INSPIRATION STATEMENT or word. Then put your statement someplace where you will see it often throughout the season. Perhaps 'the Joy is in the Journey' may be appropriate; it will remind you not to get bogged down in unimportant details that stress you out or steal your joy. It may also remind you to enjoy the entire season, instead of waiting to have fun until Christmas morning, when your to-do list is completely checked off.

M ~ is for MINIMIZE & MAXIMIZE MINIMIZE the aspects of the holidays that stress you out or don't really add to the overall reason for the season for you and your family members. This will create more space to MAXIMIZE, or do more of, those things that really fill your heart with joy.

P ~ is for PLAN. And...

L ~ is for LIST. Write down your holiday to-do LIST in the trusty notebook that is always at your side, or capture it electronically. Then, pull out your calendar and create a simple PLAN by assigning your tasks to specific days throughout the holiday season. For example, decide what day you are going to decorate your tree, shop and wrap gifts, bake, etc. Doing this will give you tremendous relief and make your holidays much happier.

I ~ is for IMPLEMENT. IMPLEMENT your plan, focusing on one task at a time.

F ~ is for FLEXIBLE. As you carry out your plan and do the tasks on your to-do list, remain FLEXIBLE. Give yourself permission to move tasks around if necessary and even to delete something that seemed fun while you were planning, but doesn't sound fun when it comes time to do it.

Y ~ is for YOU. Most of all, remember to take good care of YOUrself throughout the season. Recharge your batteries by doing things that energize and restore you. Remember, the best gift you can give your loved ones this time of year is your own joy and happiness. So prioritize YOU for the happiest season for everyone you love.

The beginning of the holiday season is upon us! While the season between Halloween and New Years is busy for everyone, it goes without saying that for maximum enjoyment during this time of year, being organized is a must! They say that stress is proportional to the difference between our expectations and reality. This helps to explain why the holiday season can be so stressful. If there's one time of year that's loaded with expectations, it's the holidays. Get started early, say goodbye to stress and enjoy the holidays!

Kim & Sandra

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