Tag Archives: Christmas cards

3 Tips Reduce Christmas Holiday Overwhelm

Let’s face it. Adding holiday tasks to your overly full schedule creates521629_519879618030834_1602480263_n pressure, stress and often overwhelm. It’s enough to shut you down and cause you to avoid doing anything.

Over the years as I too have struggled to get everything done I’ve unconsciously developed some strategies to manage my seasonal overwhelm. Following are three that work very well for me.

Combine holiday tasks with regular daily tasks.

      • You need to get groceries. Why not buy the ingredients for your baking and holiday meals while doing your regular grocery shopping? Or, you could buy edible Christmas gifts or gift cards. 
      • TV helps you unwind after a busy day. You can address, stamp and perhaps even write Christmas cards while enjoying your favorite shows. Or, you could wrap a few packages each night to avoid having to wrap them all at once.

Break big tasks down to bite size pieces.

      • Looking at the task of writing Christmas cards can be daunting because there are so many boring steps. That task can be broken down into the following steps: get your address list together, address cards, stamp cards, write cards, mail cards. Make one step your goal instead of the whole task and you are more likely to do something rather than avoid the task altogether.
      • Rather than tackle your whole gift list at once, plan to buy one gift per day (online or in stores) as you move through your regular daily activities rather than feeling you must devote large blocks of time to shopping.

Give the same type of gift to many people on your list.

      • This year I have made small, economical photo books for almost all of my family members.
      • Every year I give Cracker Candy to family and friends. It’s the only thing I bake and is loved by everyone.
      • Gift cards to restaurants and stores that family and friends frequent allow them to have experiences and purchases things that matter to them.

Melding holiday chores into your daily life, doing a little at a time rather than thinking you should eat the whole elephant at once, and simplifying what you do will make it possible for you to get holiday preparations done with less stress and more pleasure.

Get Your Christmas Cards Done & Have Fun!

Christmas theme for design. holiday greetingsDo you still send Christmas cards? Many people have stopped doing it for a variety of reasons: postage has gotten so expensive; not enough time; too boring a task; too complicated a task to bring to completion. 

I have found stacks of partially addressed Christmas cards in many clients’ homes. On one occasional I found unfinished cards in  July and I inquired about the possibility of pitching them. After all, it seemed too late to send them for the previous year. When it became apparent that my client really wanted to complete them, but just couldn’t seem to get the task done, I offered to help her do it. Because working together was so successful and sending cards was something my client wanted to keep doing, I also suggested that we schedule a couple of sessions that fall to make sure she got her cards out before Christmas that year.

I’d been doing my own cards for decades, but it wasn’t until I did it with my client that became very clear that part of the problem with card completion is that it’s a task with many steps, many of which are boring, and it’s easy to get stuck on any one of them. To get the task done, we divided up the parts of the process between the two of us. She did the tasks that could only be done by her. I did all the other tasks.

The steps she had did were: get a good photo of her children, order reprints of the photo, write her Christmas letter, copy the letter, print the address labels, buy stamps and sign all the cards. I picked up all the other tasks that anyone could do, like folding the Christmas letter, stamping the envelopes, attaching address labels and return address labels, and putting one Christmas letter in each Christmas card so all my client had to do was add a short note and sign each card.

I enjoy sipping tea and listening to Christmas music while I work, and my client appreciates having a deadline for getting her letter done and copied, her labels done, her photo done and copied, her cards purchased, and making sure she has sufficient stamps and return address labels. Setting an appointment with me gives her the incentive to start working on her cards. It’s more difficult to procrastinate doing her cards when she knows I’m coming over to work with her, and she’s paying for my help.

Because our division of labor worked so well the first time, that client regularly schedules time with me every year. She now routinely gets her cards out before Christmas. Because sending cards to family and friends is really important to her, getting them done early in the holiday season is a real weight off her shoulders.

If sending and receiving holiday greetings is important to you, identify someone who would be willing to help you complete that multi-step process. Make doing your cards a social event that is part of your holiday traditions instead of a dreaded chore. It’s a great investment in maintaining important relationships!

Making Christmas Card Completion a Shared Event

Christmas CardsDo you still send Christmas cards? Many people have stopped doing it for a variety of reasons: postage has gotten so expensive; not enough time; too boring a task; too complicated a task to bring to completion.

I have found stacks of partially addressed Christmas cards in many clients’ homes. On one occasion it was July when I found cards from the previous year, and I inquired about the possibility of pitching the cards–since it seemed too late to send them. When it became apparent that my client really wanted to complete them, but just couldn’t seem to get the task done, I offered to help her do it. We did just that! When we finished I suggested that we schedule a couple of sessions that coming fall to make sure she got her cards out before Christmas that year. 

I’d been doing my own cards for decades, but it wasn’t until I did it with my client that became very clear that part of the problem with Christmas card completion is that it’s a task with many steps, and it’s easy to get stuck on any one of them. To get the task done, we divided up the parts of the process between the two of us. She did the tasks that could only be done by her. I did all the other tasks, particularly those that were more boring and repetitious.

The steps she had to take were: get a good photo of her children, order reprints of the photo, write her Christmas letter, copy the letter, print the labels and sign all the cards. I picked up all the other tasks that my client didn’t have to do, like folding the Christmas letter, stamping the envelopes, attaching address labels and return address labels, and putting one Christmas letter in each Christmas card so all my client had to do was add a short note and sign each card.

Because our division of labor worked so well the first time, that client regularly schedules time with me to do her cards every year. I enjoy listening to Christmas music while I work, and my client appreciates having a deadline for getting her letter done and copied, her labels done, her photo done and copied, her cards purchased and for making sure she has sufficient stamps and return address labels. It’s more difficult to procrastinate doing her cards when she knows I’m coming over to help her get them done and she’s paying for my help.

Every year since we first started doing her cards together she’s gotten her cards out before Christmas. And, because sending cards to family and friends is really important to her, getting them out of the way early in the holiday season is a real weight off her shoulders. Once they are done she is able to move on to other tasks and more fully enjoy the holiday season without the weight of incomplete Christmas cards looming over her. 

If sending and receiving holiday greetings is important to you, identify someone who would be willing to help you complete that multi-step process. Make doing your cards a social event that is part of your holiday traditions instead of a dreaded chore. It’s a great investment in maintaining important relationships!

Christmas Cards: The Magic of Setting a Deadline

When I arrived at my client’s house and asked if we were going to do Christmas cards she said, “Yes! As of 5 p.m. yesterday I had nothing ready to do cards, and amazingly I’m now ready!” This is a client who has a history of having great difficulty getting her cards done by Christmas. One July several years earlier we came across her Christmas cards that she had never finished from the Christmas before. When I asked her if we could pitch them, she said, “No, I still want to send them.” So, together we finished them. And, ever since she has scheduled one or two sessions prior to Christmas to have me help her get them done. Our current session was the second attempt this year to get the cards done.

My client knew that if she didn’t pull together the stamps and return address labels, print her labels, and get her photo card printed, she was at risk of not getting her cards done this year. She was blocked because she didn’t have a good photo of her children. She could have chosen to cancel our appointment or use our time together for another project. But, she decided to use the pressure of the deadline of our appointment to motivate her to seek help from an employee to create the photo card. Once that block was removed, she was able to move forward.

While I put the stamps, address labels, and return address labels on the envelopes and stuffed the photo cards in them, my client wrote her annual Christmas letter. By the time we ended our session, the letter was written, printed and folded to go in the cards. All that was left to do was sign the cards and add some personal notes!

What was most remarkable about this whole experience was the change in my client’s energy when it became clear that we were going to get the cards to a point where she could easily finish them on her own. This client is a fairly reserved person, not prone to outward expressions of excitement, but that night she was absolutely glowing and thrilled with what she had been able to pull off in such a short period of time. It seemed like a miracle to her.

Would she have been at the same point if she had not set a deadline by hiring me to help her? No way! Deadlines can be really powerful motivators if you honor them!

Transform Christmas Clutter Clearing Into Community Service

In response to my recent post about Christmas clutter clearing, one reader shared two great ideas for clutter clearing that can help nursing home residents have a happier holiday. She gave me permission to share her ideas with you.

  1. Instead of recycling or tossing extra unused Christmas cards, offer them to the residents of a local nursing home to save them the expense and the hassle of buying cards. You might even consider including stamps with the cards to make it easy to write a note and mail the card. Nursing home residents have limited space, so saving unused cards from year to year is probably not possible. They are likely to welcome your offering of cards.
  2. If you decide to discard ornaments because you no longer use them, purchase a Rosemary Tree or Norfolk Island Pine, often available at your grocery store during the holiday season, to decorate with those ornaments and ribbon remnants. Then, offer the tree to a nursing facility. Those live trees and your ornaments can then bring smiles to the faces of the residents.

What wonderful ideas for transforming clutter clearing into meaningful community service! Clutter clearing doesn’t have to be an onerous task if it results in helping you reduce stress and in lifting the spirits of some often forgotten members of your community.

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner, Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in life. If you’re ready to clear clutter and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at http://www.clutterclearingcommunity.com.

Recycling Christmas Cards

Recycling Greeting Cards

I get such great ideas from people who hear me speak or read my news tips and blog! Terry Jones shared her method of recycling greeting cards with me. She gave me permission to pass it on to you.

“What I do now to recycle my greeting cards is save all of this year’s cards together and pull them out when writing next year’s Christmas cards to make sure I do not forget to touch base with someone who is probably going to send me a card again next year. After I have sent out this year’s cards, I take the old ones I received last year, cut off the fronts and use them as gift tags for my wrapped presents. It gets the paper clutter out of the house and allows me to enjoy several minutes of reflection, enjoying last year’s cards and the handwritten notes included in them.”

Terry D. Jones

© 2012 Clutter Clearing Community | Debbie Bowie

“Author, Organizing Expert and Feng Shui Practitioner, Debbie Bowie, is a leading authority on clutter clearing to attract more of what you want in life. If you’re ready to clear clutter and move your life forward, get your FREE TIP SHEET, “Feng Shui Tips for Instant Success” at http://www.clutterclearingcommunity.com.