We are fond of saying that Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but time can really be in short supply during the holidays. Families are faced with all sorts of distractions and challenges at Christmas: Get-togethers, family obligations, shopping, and decorating are all good things that can eat away at the calendar. On top of that, some face even more stressful challenges. Those who work in retail often have increased hours at work. Blended families must juggle the schedules and sensitivities of all involved. So if the holiday season is looking more like a burden than a blessing, and you need a little Christmas right this very minute, try out these three simple planning remedies:

  • Only Say "Yes" if it Really Matters
    By making a list, and checking it twice, you'll be able to focus on the things that matter, and it will be a lot easier to say "no thanks" to things that don't fit on your priority list. List everything that you have planned during the Christmas season. Now, remove at least three things from your list! You will only be able to enjoy the special activities if you drop most of the non-essentials. There will be a multitude of good opportunities available to you this holiday season. Don't let good opportunities keep you from the best ones.

  • Plan for Quiet Moments
    There's no place like home for the holidays, but the Christmas rush often keeps us out and about for the entire month of December. There will always be things that need to be done, but special memories are usually made during the down times. Block off some time on your calendar just for quiet time at home, and guard it just as you would an important obligation. This gives you and your family time to be a family — watch old movies, read Christmas books, and talk about Christmases past. Silent nights are the most holy nights of all!

  • It sounds like a joyful Christmas is closer than you think!
  • Put Some Creativity into Christmas
    When you find yourself facing unavoidable obligations, sometimes you feel like throwing up your hands in defeat. With a little creativity, even the most time-challenged family can turn around that blue Christmas. If you absolutely can't be at home, you can still be with the ones you love. Can you bring the whole family along to the immovable conflicts you face? Perhaps family members can work alongside you in some of the obligations you have this Christmas. If one member of the family has to work and the others have vacation time, maybe the rest of the family can join him for lunch break!

Do you hear what I hear? It sounds like a joyful Christmas is closer than you think! With a little planning, effort and some creativity, kids from one to ninety-two can build Christmas memories that last a lifetime, and time management habits that last all year.