1. Lists, lists, lists
There are never too many lists unless, of course, you forget where you put them. Keep them in one place, and refer to them often. A list for all the gifts you want to buy or make, complete with columns for recipient's name, materials purchased or item ordered, completed or bought, wrapped, and then mailed or delivered. (Sometimes we get everything done except for making sure it gets to that person!) Lists for special meals or gifts items. Lists for ingredients to make those foods. Lists of what you want to take to each family gathering. Lists of last minute items, shopping, coupons. Mark things on your calendar....the one that you'll actually see and carry with you.
2. Start early
It's already well into December, but never too late to tackle your lists. NOTHING feels as good as having things all ready and you can sit and relax. Using your tools in #1 (lists), work on what you can, every day.
3. Enjoy each moment
The whole point of our holiday celebrations is to enjoy them. But if we're constantly worrying about the next event, or something we forgot, or trying to think of what to give as a gift, we are not available and present to enjoy what we're doing in the moment. If you are buying a Christmas tree, really BE there, smell the fir, smile at your family, embrace the moment. Take time for a cup of cocoa by the fire, look at the Christmas lights. If you are shopping, enjoy the festive atmosphere.
4. Don't be afraid to say "no"
Every party sounds wonderful, all the food looks enticing, each event will be fun. But you simply do not have to do everything. Don't guilt yourself into accepting every invitation. It's okay to say "no" and to have breathing space in your schedule.
5. Perfection is not in the word Christmas
There is no such thing as a perfect Christmas. So give yourself a break and relax. You do not have to be perfect. Maybe even repeat that to yourself every day. Once you can finally embrace this concept, your holiday preparations will be so much more emjoyable.
And that's it - not too long of a list, I realize. But it's how I stay sane. Well, as sane as possible for me, anyway!