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What can you do now that you’re an adult to enjoy your holidays? Remember when as children how we all looked forward to enjoying the upcoming holidays? First there was Halloween with all spooky decorations, planning what we wanted to dress up as, and the anticipation of oodles of candy made it a great October holiday.

Then came Thanksgiving. We looked forward to the wonderful Thanksgiving feast and the influx of family members. In my family there was an adult table and a children’s table. The older children looked forward to graduating to the adult table.

My family celebrated Christmas. It was the holiday we looked forward to enjoying as a family. There were always special activities to enjoy. Lights and decorations at home and around town. And then, of course, the anticipation of the gifts under the tree and in our stockings.

Plan to enjoy your holidays

Now we are adults. We realize that all that holiday enjoyment and magic takes some doing. It doesn’t happen by itself.

Now is the time to decide what we want to do to make our holiday season meaningful and enjoyable.

Decide which holidays you and your family want to celebrate. Have a family meeting and have each person share what is important to them for each holiday.

What is important to you and your family

Decorating, going to special events and special church activities, baking special foods, watching old favorite holiday shows, seeing family, and gift exchanges are all ways to enjoy the holidays. Any activity, event, or holiday that is important to you or another family needs to be discussed without judgement.

It can also be enlightening to talk about what each person does not want to do this holiday season.

Schedule in advance

Get out the calendar and begin scheduling way in advance the ideas that can be agreed on. If the calendar looks too full, discuss what items might be dropped this year. Stress the importance of having some down time to just enjoy your time at home.

Share responsibilities

Also discuss who is responsible for tasks that are required to make the events and activities happen. The idea is to enjoy each event and activity. When the responsibilities are shared, no one person becomes overwhelmed or has too much pressure.

Decorating and undecorating can be a family affair. Baking can involve more than one person. Going out to the Botanical Gardens or elsewhere to see a light display can be a family affair.

Use a family calendar

Post everything on the family calendar so there are no surprises. Everyone needs to know when they are expected to be available to participate in a task or an event. The older teens will know that at certain times they will not be able to hang out with their friends. Adults in the house will know that at certain times they will not be sitting in front of the TV.

If you are traveling during the holiday, plans need to be made way in advance. The sooner you make your plans the less expensive the tickets are, and the more choices and flexibility you have.  If extended family is planning to come and visit you, those dates need to be on your calendar so that you as the host family can plan meals and activities.

Holiday enjoyment for small families

If you are a family of one or two, decide what you want to do to enjoy your holiday for maximum pleasure and minimum stress. Do just as much decorating as you enjoy. Plan activities that fill you with joy. Things don’t have to be done the way they always were done before.


Now for Halloween I just put out a few decorations but on Trick-or-Treat evening, I have a fire in a portable fire pit, a table with candy laid out, and a couple of chairs for my husband and me. We enjoy seeing our neighborhood children and some accompanying adults in their costumes. It’s enjoyable to sit and chat with those that drop by. The next day all I have out is easy to put away.


This Thanksgiving I will host my husband’s family. Instead of a formal meal like I have done in the past, I will set out a buffet with some favorite Thanksgiving dishes and let people mingle and visit. This will give my husband and I as well as our guests enjoyment without stress.


Christmas will be very quiet and low key, but I will do a lot of decorating because seeing those decorations throughout December gives me joy. My son, who lives nearby, will help me with some of the decorating and the taking down of some of the decorations. During the holiday we will have some FaceTime with family members and hopefully we will be able to go to the church service in person instead of Zoom.

So, start now and plan what will give you and your family the most enjoyment during the holidays. Maybe you will start some new traditions.

If you want help or just some accountability in working  or developing an organizational plan or project,  join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space For You clutter support group.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.






  • Thank you for the reminder that we are at the beginning of the holiday season. Halloween is almost here, with Thanksgiving coming up soon. I love how you gently help us look at meaningful ways to celebrate. We might have childhood memories or a history of how things were done. But as each year passes, it makes sense to reevaluate to see if some tweaks are needed.

    We’re looking forward to hosting our family and friends for Thanksgiving. It’s typically a large gathering, and I expect it will be this year. My husband and I tag team who does what. We support one another, which makes a big difference. And our daughters are great, too, with helping. I couldn’t do it without them, and that’s important for me to remember.

  • Great tips! Navigating the holidays can be challenging, especially as children grow up and get married and have to find ways to spend quality time with family on both sides. That’s especially true when the parents have divorced and remarried and the couples have three or four sets of parents and not just one or two!

  • Julie+Bestry says:

    This is the time of year that I am awed on behalf of all of the people — generally women — who make the ongoing holiday season of 4th quarter magical for children and other adults. I see the voluminous labor of my clients and friends, and immediately want to take a nap. There are no trick-or-treaters where I live and I have no kids, I don’t observe Christmas, and Hanukkah almost never falls when I’m with my (tiny) family of origin, so Thanksgiving is where all my holiday affections lie. Even there, because we celebrate at my sister’s and because I’m a terrible cook, my responsibilities are usually limited to setting the table and lifting heavy things. Advice like yours is exactly what must be essential for anyone to survive to January 1st with sanity intact. Planning in advance, sharing information and responsibilities, and identifying what matters most to you and your loved ones — these all mean the difference between joy and resentment! Great advice!

  • Great list for the holiday season as we prepare for it. Thanks for all the ideas.

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