The Holidays Are Upon Us – Do You Do Too Much At This Time Of Year?


I love the holidays.

It is undoubtedly my favorite time of year.

I love the Fall, the anticipation, the planning, the buying, the special events, the sharing, the rituals, the memories. I love it all.

But there is too much to do.

Over the next two weeks, my son is in his first community play, I’m organizing the school book fair, there’s Thanksgiving, the week of which the kids have off school. I must start planning Christmas and finish a library book that is so overdue, I should have bought my own copy. It would have been cheaper.

A year ago, I was in a job I hated. And one day, I quit. Just like that.

The tipping point was the holidays. I couldn’t enjoy them because I was doing a job I loathed.

What I was getting in return, did not justify the investment I was making.

I had been trying to solve a problem – getting some career fulfillment and earning an income  – in a way that didn’t sustain me.

And I learned that earning a bit of money wasn’t nearly as important as spending time enjoying my family while they were still young.

I can earn money later.

In the course, Question the Rules, they talk about moving your goals closer to you. Rather than the other way around.

Most people have a goal, like move to Hawaii, then they work for forty years to earn enough to be able to do that. The QTR approach is to question whether it’s possible to get the island life. Right now. With some re-prioritization.

I read a blog called Ohana Momma. She and her husband did just that. They reorganized and moved themselves and their two children to Hawaii. They telecommute and visit their families regularly, rejigging it all to making it work for them.

If you can’t get the actual, can you get the essence?

One of my goals is to spend three months of the year in England and while I can’t do all of that right now, I move towards it by getting more ‘English’ in my life. I connect with my English friends via Facebook, I read English books, eat English food and, most importantly, visit regularly for short periods of time.

I’m a huge believer in priorities and focusing on the things that mean the most to me as a way to be fulfilled.

Our choices determine the quality of our lives.

When I wrote about how your top three movies can make you rich and happy, it was about identifying common themes that make up your values. Your priorities.

Mine were comedy, drama, challenge, growth, human connection.

All of which I get from writing this blog.

But I get them from the holidays too.

And I can’t do it all.

Not without going crazy. And then I don’t enjoy myself. So what is the point? Really.

So I’m going to take the blog down a notch.

Actually about four notches and move to a once a week posting schedule.

And, doggone it, I’m going to finish that darn library book.

What do you want to do this holiday season? Are you on track to get it? Or do you need to reorganize?

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna November 12, 2010 at 8:38 am

Yes, I do WAY too much at the holidays. I really like this post, it gives me something to think about. We have dreams and goals and are trying to put the pieces together to make them come true. Some days it feels too daunting to shoulder. Good advice like this, though, and it seems doable.

We reorganized our holidays this year – we are only going to ONE side of the family per day. No rushing in between parties or houses. And if someone has a problem with that, we just won’t see them at all for the holiday. And not feel guilty about it.

I’m excited!
Joanna recently posted..How Many Tears Are In a GallonMy Profile


Alison Golden November 12, 2010 at 9:37 am

I’m so glad it was thought-provoking, Joanna. The holidays are far less stressful for me than a lot of people because my cooking skills are such that I refuse to inflict them on anyone. And we are lucky enough to get invited. or we’ll go to a restaurant. But it still seems overwhelming. And those people who decorate their houses inside and out? How do they do that?


Mary E. Ulrich
November 13, 2010 at 4:06 am

Alison, I’m proud of you. You know what you want, set your priorities and make them happen.

It’s clear from your volunteer work at your children’s school, your work in the community–your commitment to learning new things that you are reaching you goals of “comedy, drama, challenge, growth, human connection.”

Enjoy your holidays but keep notes because I want to know all about them. And I want a picture of Oliver in his soldier costume.
Mary E. Ulrich recently posted..Dream Plan for Aaron- 2010 Part 4My Profile


Alison Golden November 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Hi Mary!

Oliver’s first night was last night and I certainly got my shots of comedy and drama. It was pretty funny. 🙂


Rose November 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Alison, as a new reader I must say you have your priorities set. Good for you. Part of reaching your goals is knowing what you want.
Rose recently posted..How to Make Snowman SoupMy Profile


Alison Golden November 14, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Hi Rose:
Yes, I’m big on priorities, although it is hard sometimes. Life is simpler sometimes when there is a crisis because the priorities come into plain view. The rest of the time we have to work it out for ourselves or juggle so much that eventually the crisis occurs anyway.

I want to make that soup 😉


Victoria Tomkinson November 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Are you still allowed to call yourself English if you say “doggone it”? 🙂


Alison Golden November 15, 2010 at 6:55 pm

LOL! I think passing my citizenship exam entitles me to use such delicious words as ‘doggone.’ It was perfect. 🙂


arina nikitina November 17, 2010 at 5:12 am

Hey Alison! Really cool post. I’ve already read their comments and I speak the same thoughts as well.

For me, there’s no sense jamming up the holidays with what we have to do for others. I find it amusing that a lot of people think their holidays aren’t complete with the traditions and routines that are actually just stressing them out. I’ve lived the past years making plans ahead, setting my priorities straight and then ended up with a healthy schedule for the holidays. It gave me that great sense of wholeness to truly experience Christmas and New Year in ways that make me happy. It may not please all the townsfolk in our hometown, or I’d likely miss parties with friends this year. But I wouldn’t be eaten with guilt about it.

Why? Because I focus more on the essence of the holidays, instead of how much I spent or on how many parties I’m going to attend. It’s all about my priorities, not pleasing the whole world. So then my life ain’t in shambles and I get to enjoy the season, the company of people who mean most to me and even find time to actually listen to choirs!

All in all, you’ve nailed it Alison! It’s a good reminder, not just a post, to all of the people getting really anxious about the holidays. It’s holidays, people! Not holy-crap-days! Enjoy it!

arina nikitina recently posted..Who Makes You LaughMy Profile


Alison Golden November 17, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Hey, thanks Arina! Sound like you have it pretty sorted out. Isn’t it lovely when you get to listen to choirs?

I know once I stayed up until 1am wrapping presents the night before, then when I got woken up a few hours later I was so exhausted I couldn’t enjoy watching my kids open their gifts. That was a good reminder for me.

Thanks for stopping by!


Glynis Jolly November 17, 2010 at 11:19 am

It’s ironic that I’d read your post on holidays, jobs and money today. I just did a post about jobs and money on my blog. Great minds think alike? I can learn about the finer points of blogging from you. You’ll be seeing me here again.
Glynis Jolly recently posted..The Forever Job QuestMy Profile


Alison Golden November 17, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Hi Glynis!

I’m glad you enjoyed it. I learned last holiday season when I was working full-time that I’d trade an *awful* lot of money for the chance to stay home and enjoy the holidays. An awful lot.

Hope to see you again, soon. 🙂


November 30, 2010 at 11:22 am

I just hopped over to your blog from blogfrog and will now be signing up for email updates. I already like what you have to say. I don’t do too much over the holidays. I really don’t. I enjoy certain aspects of it, but the parts I don’t (like baking), I don’t bother with. The more, more, more mentality is overdone. And people wonder why they’re all stressed and tired? I look forward to reading more.
Beth recently posted..Do You Need to Buy Teacher Gifts this ChristmasMy Profile


Alison Golden November 30, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Hi Beth:

Thanks for stopping by and your kind words. Last year I stopped making mince pies (an English holiday food) and bought them instead. I had one mouthful and wondered why I had been slaving away for so many years. Yes, baking has it’s place and I love to bake but I thought the store bought ones tasted much nicer.


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