Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Putting Things in Order Before the Holidays

By Glynnis Whitwer

Organizing experts say five minutes of planning can save 30 minutes of doing. I think that’s a pretty good trade off. Unfortunately, I tend to forget that truth and plow ahead with the doing. Inevitably, I end up duplicating efforts, retracing my steps and coming home from the store with nothing for dinner. Yet as we approach the end-of-the-year holidays, I don’t have time for being unorganized.

I want this time of the year to be special for my family and friends. I want to celebrate the birth of Christ in a variety of ways. I want to create margin in my schedule to allow for the unexpected opportunities. I don’t want the demands of everyday to overshadow the call of the divine.

For me, the only way for those goals to be achieved is for me to plan. Planning helps me take care of the extra requirements of the season, so I look upon them with joy instead of resentment.

The best place for me to start is with my home. If I can get my house in order, my time and energy can be freed up to focus on God’s best. I want to focus on things that bring joy, awe, inspiration, fellowship, and blessings to those I love … and myself.

To get organized, I identify my priorities, then plan to address those. Here are some areas of my “home” I’m working on.

· Clear the refrigerator, freezer and cupboards. I like to finish off any leftovers, food items that have been frozen for awhile, and partially full containers, to make room for all the holiday specialties. That means I’ll be intentional in my menu planning.
· Steam clean carpets.
· Washing windows.
· Touch up the front entrance. This will include painting the dinged spots, replacing flowering pots, hanging a new flag, and putting up a holiday wreath.

· Schedule a day to decorate the house and the tree with the family. Make it a party with hors d’oeuvres and music!

· Plan menus now for special meals.
· Then, watch for sales, using coupons to save money.
· Bake some items and freeze (breads, soups, casseroles)

· Review winter clothing supplies. Check and make sure everyone has a winter jackets, gloves, etc. I also check to make sure my children have the required outfits for school band and choir performances. Funny how they outgrow black shoes each year.

Spiritual Needs
· Purchase Advent calendar.
· Purchase or borrow a Christmas devotional to read with family.

Hospitality Needs
· Plan homemade gifts for neighbors/teachers/friends.
· Schedule two or three nights to invite friends over who don’t have family in town.
· Plan a cookie exchange party with girlfriends.
· Schedule a Progressive Dinner with small group.
· Plan a cookie decorating party for children in family and neighborhood. Share the Christmas story through cookies.

I think that’s a good start. But I’ll probably add to that list. Too often I regret what I forget. Hopefully, with some planning, I’ll create more opportunities to experience the presence of Jesus during His birthday season.

Glynnis Whitwer is on staff with Proverbs 31 Ministries, and the editor of the P31 Woman Magazine. She’s also the author of two books, and co-author of four Bible studies. You can review Glynnis’ books here. Glynnis and her husband Tod run two businesses from home, and are the proud parents of five children. To read more about Glynnis, visit her blog at www.GlynnisWhitwer.com.