Christmas is the time of year when attention temporarily turns away from politics and the national economy – a good thing. Time and energy gets funneled instead into the hectic, stressful holiday season – not quite good. Even when you think you’ve planned early, Christmas seems to somehow arrive sooner than you expect. If your company’s fiscal year matches the calendar year, your days quickly turn from hectic to toxic as you grapple with realigning next year’s budget, tweaking your marketing plan, and simultaneously finalizing the year-end company dinner for top producing accounts.
Meanwhile, there are Christmas trimmings to be put up, gift lists to be drawn, decisions to be made over which social/family invitations to accept, and logistics of hosting gatherings at home. Christmas is an exhausting season!
BE Systematic and Guileless with Gift-Giving
Let’s see how we can simplify your gift giving decisions. Corporate gift giving is made easy by pre-set categories based on how much each client/company contributed to your revenue figures. A well-presented Christmas basket of good wine and deli items with variable combinations is a good option.
Your personal gift-giving process is trickier but manageable. A list of names with a gift idea next to each name really does help.
If you are able to add a gift idea next to each name on the list, then you know those persons well enough. If you can’t, maybe you do not know them well enough for them to even be on your list.
Another parallel list of the gift items you purchase helps even more and eliminates over buying. If you’ve experienced cleaning up your cupboard in March and discovering a shopping bag of nice yuletide gift items, then you know you’ve spent unnecessarily on Christmas presents that you did not need!
General Gift ideas:
- Young children: Safe toys they can put together, art-and-craft material, board games, and don’t forget books.
- Women: Bags, accessories, toiletries, and books.
- Men: Presents related to their specific sport, hobby, or collection, and books.
- Teenagers: T-shirts with icons and quotes from the currently popular book trilogy/movie franchise; gifts to encourage interest in art, music, or sports.
- Special gift for the voiceless and homeless.
A gift certificate to a popular store or book shop is a fail-safe present for anyone.
DO Trimmed-Down Time Tracking
The invitations you receive and the gatherings you host are equally challenging. Some large company gatherings do not require your presence; at the very least, your absence will not be conspicuous. Some small business dinners actually need to be organized by you—coordinating the invitations, the program, and the corporate giveaways. Your gym pals are planning a get-together which you can just barely squeeze in between the Saturday afternoon shopping and the after-dinner drinks at the hotel with friends visiting from overseas. Early the following morning is family day at your child’s school. The season’s social activities are adding to your stress!
What can Mr. or Ms. Congeniality do? Realistically look over your calendar, accept that your time is limited, and then start eliminating.
- Family takes precedence.
- Company events, especially when you work in sales, marketing, or communications, are part of your obligatory “work duty,” but you can arrange with colleagues to take turns with “duty assignments.”
- Church, spiritual, and advocacy activities are important.
- Friends present a genuine treat of a good time with fun, meaningful connections which you totally deserve.
- Add quiet time alone.
- Everything else is optional.
HAVE Logistics Support
It’s no wonder that when Christmas Day comes, everyone is too exhausted or grumpy.
Now is not the time to be a solo superhero. Seek out community-based, micro businesses to handle the logistics of large Christmas family gatherings.
- Neighborhood Restaurants with pleasant casual interiors, semi private family rooms, and special Christmas menus promise stress-free meals.
- Catering services include total set-up, buffet menu, service, and clear-up. Host provides the beverage and access to kitchen, dining/living room, and garden or pool side.
- Bulk Take away orders of especially prepared Christmas menus are pre-ordered, prepaid, and picked up by the host or delivered at an additional fee.
- Home-made individual takeaways of traditional Christmas dishes are prepared by skilled culinary school students from their home kitchens. Host orders one or two dishes and may pay upon pick up.
- Menu planning/preparation: Host hires a chef to plan and prepare the menu/meal. Chef may bring additional equipment and an assistant(s). Host approves menu and pays for services and for all the ingredients.
- Service and equipment package: Tables, linen, chinaware, silverware, service, and clear-up is provided. Host takes care of food and beverage.
Exhaustion over the Christmas season does not have to happen. We can choose to tone down preparations (without sacrificing the fun) and donate part of the amount to charity. We can decide to lower consumerism and highlight the spirit of sharing. From a season of exhaustion, we can make it a season of inclusion.