November 30th, 2012
Today is the last day of November. We’ve survived Thanksgiving. And now we have the big holiday month: December. No matter what your beliefs, this is the month of party, party, party. So we put our heads together for our favorite tips to make December not only fun, but productive.
The age old wisdom is you never close sales in December. The mistake is not working on your business. You can still be prospecting, and setting up appointments for January. People are more inclined because it seems so far away, and then you start the new year fully booked instead of scrambling to get the interviews.
While cleaning the house, take five or ten minutes here and there to gather up all of your tax documents that you will need. Yes, you won’t be getting the W-2s until February, but think how much easier it will be if you have a file folder full of receipts, documentation, notes, and any forms that you have already received this year.
This works out even better if you have your own business or a side business so you aren’t scrambling in January. A little extra time now will ensure a calmer next few months.
Don’t be afraid to hire a housecleaner to come in for a few hours. You don’t have to commit to a long term service. The sooner you get someone to help with a deep clean, the easier it will be to keep it staying clean for the rest of the month.
Ask for help. Don’t try to do it all yourself.
Keep a few bottles of wine in pretty bags set aside for instant presents in case someone brings you something. If wine isn’t your thing, look into something fun like scarves, or pick up some simple tins full of peppermint bark.
Keep a close tab on what you’re spending for presents. One year, one of us bought presents for the kids throughout the year, and stashed them in four different places. When the time came to wrap, there was quite a bit of shock as to how many presents there were. She donated a few presents to Toys for Tots, so it went for a good cause.
Talk with family members about how to reduce or limit gift exchanges. Another one of us set up a rule with the family that only the kids would get one present under $20. Talk with your friends about if you’re exchanging gifts this year to avoid that awkward moment when one of you didn’t get the memo that you were exchanging.
Sometimes you feel like pulling everything out the day after Thanksgiving. Other times, you want to not do anything. And both are OK. If you have family living with you, and you’re not feeling the holiday cheer, let them do the decorations if it’s important.
‘Tis the season to overindulge. The best way to survive a buffet is to look at everything first and choose your top favorite items and then eat a little of each. The best way to survive a large sit-down meal is to fill your plate with vegetables first. Stick to one or two alcoholic drinks at most, and alternate with water.
If your relatives keep asking the questions that push your buttons, take a deep breath. Try to believe that they’re asking because they care and not because they’re purposely trying to annoy you. Smile and give them a pat answer that works for you. One of us would say “We’re delaying getting married one season every time someone asks when we’re getting married. So keep asking! It’ll give us more time to save up money.”
Schedule a massage. Carve out time for a walk. Fresh air can do amazing things for your head.
And do try to have fun. Don’t over-schedule yourself thinking you HAVE to fill in the time.
What’s your favorite tradition during the holidays?