Do Christmas your way


At this busy time of year, prioritising your time is crucial. A big part of effective time management is saying yes to what’s important to you and no to what’s not.

Happy people know how to do this, because they know who they are and what they value.  They make their own rules and don’t compromise their truth to fit in or please others.

This is a useful attitude to take into the pre-Christmas season. I suggest you actively choose how you want to prioritise your time, rather than let Christmas just happen to you.

Say yes to what’s important to you by…

1) Scheduling your priorities first
Think about what you most want to do and put in your calendar first. This way even if you aren’t able to do everything you will still feel satisfied, because you did what was most meaningful and memorable for you. Are there certain friends or family members you really want to see? Is there a special place or event you would like to go to?

2) Focusing on what your family values
Ask everyone in your family what are the three most important things that would really make the holiday special. Then focus on those. You don’t have to blindly follow everyone else and try to do it all, just concentrate on doing what is meaningful and memorable for your family.

3) Making time for what gives you joy
I actually love decorating my house, but am often guilty of cramming it in as a chore on my Christmas to do list. This year I’m giving myself a full day to enjoy this ritual while singing along to corny Christmas music. Whatever you love about preparing for Christmas, schedule yourself a generous amount of time, and keep it sacred by turning the phone and computer off and give yourself the space of uninterrupted fun.

Say no to what’s not important to you by…

1) Turning down invitations
If someone invites you to something ask yourself: Will this bring pleasure or stress to my life? Have the courage to politely decline gatherings that leave you empty inside, or add stress to your busy schedule. Remember, saying no to others is saying yes to you.

 2) Running things through your joy filter
Rather than go into automatic pilot and do traditional Christmas chores because you should or it is expected, pause and ask yourself: Will this add joy to my life? Do I really want to do this, or do I just think I should?

When I did this, I decided that rather than churn out an impersonal family newsletter to everyone this year, I am going to enjoy ringing a few special people and have a meaningful catch-up.

The strategies for having a happy Christmas are similar to having a happy life. Rather than playing along doing what you “should” do, have the courage to look deeply within yourself to discover the values and activities that make you uniquely happy.

If you would like support in knowing and prioritising your values, then contact me for an appointment, or ask for my free exercise “Six easy steps to prioritising my values”.

Annemarie Coulson is a Hamilton-based life coach. She specialises in supporting struggling, sad or stressed clients to make choices and changes that lead to greater happiness and life balance.  For more information visit or phone 021 076 5450.

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