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Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK IN YOUR PACK Dealing with holiday stress: • • •

Introspection Plan Simplify

PLUS FREE Budget template Gift Tags

Introduction Congratulations! You are on your way to becoming a neat freak during the manic festive season. Most of you have already ‘met’ me via copious amounts of mailings and tips and I hope these have helped. This free pack is an add-on to the free packs you have received for the home, parenting, office and relationships, and reiterates the Neat Freak Formula of Neat + Systems = more living and loving time. Basically, I want this survival pack to act as reminder of the true meaning of the festive season – which is to have fun and to be kind to one another. SO here goes… deck the halls with whatever your heart desires AND REMEMBER YOUR INNER-CHILD. P.S. Neat Freak also has information packs for the home, office, parenting and relationships so if this is the first one you’re receiving, be sure to let me know which ones you still need. Enjoy!

© Neat Freak 2010

Neat Freak – Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK

Introduction to dealing with holiday stress...

2010 and with all the emotions involved, it is little wonder that so many people get stressed. But you need to go back to

Every year, the holiday buzz begins a

basics at this time, so grab a paper and

little earlier – have you noticed that?

pen and consider the following:

Shops start hanging their Christmas decorations as early as October resulting in panic because there is so much to do and so little time. Adding to the sense of panic, as the ddate of 25th December approaches, are the emotions that many people feel at this time of year. Perhaps you are newly divorced or you’ve lost a loved one or you just do not get on with your family and dread being with them. Whatever it may be, by the time Christmas gets here, we’re all washed out and want to hog the champagne to numb the mania. But it doesn’t have to be this way if you do a little introspection, plan ahead as much as possible, and simplify. Try to remember what you liked about

o What exactly are you celebrating and what do you attach value to during the festive season?

o Are there rituals and traditions your family practices and do these add value to your time together or detract from it?

o How do you normally spend

Christmas versus how you want to spend Christmas?

o Do you go on holiday and if so, what about those holidays do you enjoy and what don’t you enjoy?

o When family gets together during

Christmas, they either have lots of fun or land up wanting to harm one another! How flexible are you during this time? Can you let go of how things “should be” because you expect them to be this way?

Christmas when you were a child, it is meant to be fun!

Introspection I am all for a little introspection because I think people generally underestimate the WHY behind most of their dilemmas and just focus on what they can see. The festive season brings with it a lot of expectations © Neat Freak 2010


Neat Freak – Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK

o How can you share responsibilities between family members and friends to that all the pressure doesn’t land up on one person?

o Do you cram too much into your

time and go to every function when you would far rather stay home?

o Do you plan enough time to relax and rest (very important for children)?

Planning ahead There is no getting away from it, we all have so much to do, from shopping for gifts, to ensuring that the food we prepare is up to scratch. Planning ahead will relieve so much stress so it is worth all the effort! First things first – MAKE A LIST of all the people you need to buy presents for, all the food you need to prepare,

2010 dive right in to getting things ticked off the list. When you start buying gifts, don’t think that the more you pay for a gift, the more you love a person. To help you stay within your budget, use any creativity you have to make homemade presents, such as:

o biscuits/fudge/chocolates in a

tin with a gorgeous ribbon and handmade card;

o your prize-winning jam in a

glass jar that you paint a design onto;

o a bag/outfit that you sew; or o a birdhouse or house-plant pot that you make from leftover wood in your garage.

But if you don’t have a creative bone in your body, all is not lost, you could always give a person your ‘time’ in the form of babysitting services for a

and what you will be making or

weekend, or a voucher for services you offer.

buying. Once this is down on paper, you will know how to move forward.

For those gifts that you do have to buy,

We always tend to spend more than we should during the festive season and almost always, regret it afterwards, so SET A HOLIDAY BUDGET. When doing this, be as realistic as possible.

Gifts & Wrapping Once the initial planning has been done, you have to © Neat Freak 2010

don’t leave these until the day before Christmas when there is nothing left in the shop and everyone else is there jostling for the teller’s attention. Rather start now so you can really relax before Christmas Day. However, if you really do not have time to get to the shops, there are


Neat Freak – Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK


many online stores that you could visit. Online shopping has become very safe and is a great way to get things done without physically having to go out, saving you time and money on buying unnecessary things! Many online shops even offer giftwrapping.

Entertaining & Food I am not a natural cook, in fact, truth be told, I don’t really enjoy it so I look for easy ways to entertain. I also would far rather spend time on the décor and ensuring my guests feel at home. Either way, I have to plan ahead so again, get the paper and pen handy and ask yourself the following:

Make sure you have all the wrapping paper you need as well as sticky tape and gift tags. Even this doesn’t have to cost a lot if you use plain brown packaging paper or brown paper

o Are we going fancy or casual this

bags, ‘fancy-it-up’ with a large

festive season? Braai or gourmet?

colourful ribbon and voila,

o Can I buy already prepared foods

you’re sorted.

or do I need to consult the recipe book?

o Can I delegate and maybe ask

(Save even more by using the gift tag template in this pack.)

others to bring something to add to the feast?

o What ingredients do I need? o Can I cook anything ahead of time and freeze it?

o Do I have enough dishes/plates/ cutlery/glasses for everyone and if not, who can bring some for me?

© Neat Freak 2010


Neat Freak – Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK

Links to online Christmas recipes: www.bhg.com/holidays/christmas/ recipes/ www.christmas-celebrations.com/ www.partyz.co.za


if they are delicate, use bubble wrap to prevent them from cracking. Store the harder ornaments on the bottom of the box, with the more delicate on the top layer. Storing Christmas lights is a headache


but using a reel (meant for an


extension cord) might be the answer – if it can keep a long cord in order, it

Once you have decided what you’re eating, you will have an idea of how

should be able to do the same for the lights!

to decorate your space. First, get the

I also recently read this tip for

Christmas tree and decorations down

Christmas light storage, which may be useful for you:

and dusted and put these up. I find that when I have put my tree up, I automatically feel more festive. Get the kids to help and try not to control their tree décor – remember to relax and think like a kid! If you have a large collection of decorations and many of them are broken or seriously out-dated, use

o Cut a slit on either end of an

empty wrapping paper tube.

o Thread the end of the string of lights through one slit.

o Wind the string of lights around the tube and finally thread the plug in the other end and tuck into the tube.

the opportunity to toss what you don’t

Once the tree is up, you can get

need. Then make sure that you have a

pedantic about the table setting,

suitable container available to store

which can be classy or fun. Here are

your decorations once you have

some links to sites with lots of ideas:

finished with them. If possible, use a large clear plastic container that will fit into any top cupboard and be easily identifiable for the years to

www.amazing-christmas-ideas.com www.worldofchristmas.net



When storing your decorations, try to


keep them as secure as possible and

© Neat Freak 2010


Neat Freak – Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK


Travel & Holidays My guess is, if you are going on holiday, it’s to relax and re-charge, right? But if you aren’t well organized, this will be harder to achieve. With that in mind, here are a few travel tips to ensure you keep your sense of humour…

o Try to plan your activities before you get there, making a schedule of what you want to do and when, otherwise you waste precious holiday time planning.

o Call ahead to clarify what the hotel does/does not have. Do you need your hairdryer and do they have laundry facilities, for example?

o Compile a packing list of what you need to take with you, especially if you’re packing for Christmas with family and you have to take presents and food. It wouldn’t be such a merry Christmas if Santa forgot ! the things at home.

o That being said, try to obey the 50% rule when packing your clothes whatever you have taken out of your cupboard to pack, divide it in half and only pack the half. We always pack too much.

o If you can, take an extra suitcase or a large canvas bag that folds up easily. This will be useful should you buy more than you anticipated, but if not, use it for dirty clothes or simply fold it and pack it in your suitcase. (You should also take a few empty plastic bags if you need to store dirty clothes.)

o If you are flying overseas and need to take medication with you, make sure you take a letter from your doctor explaining this medicine. The last thing you need is to be stopped and accused of trafficking meds.

o If you have kids and will spending time in a plane or the car to get to your destination, pack games and try to get involved in the activities, otherwise I guarantee you, all you will hear is “Are we there yet!”

o LASTLY, don’t forget the sun-block, obligatory trashy/suspense novel and that sense of humour!

© Neat Freak 2010


Neat Freak – Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK



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Simplify We have so much to do every day, so why do we extend this insanity to the festive season, which is meant to be a time of love and friendship? In short, I don’t know and I am no better at simplifying than anyone else. But I can tell you this, we have to start learning to SIMPLIFY before our lives become all about ‘things’ and appointments and not about who we are and how we live. SO, in keeping with this heading – SIMPLY SIMPLIFY – and really think about what matters and celebrate that this festive season.

© Neat Freak 2010


Neat Freak – Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK

© Neat Freak 2010



Neat Freak – Festive Season SURVIVAL PACK


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© Neat Freak 2010


Profile for Deborah Andrews

Neat Freak Festive Season Survival Pack  

Surviving the silly season with Neat Freak and MomsMatter

Neat Freak Festive Season Survival Pack  

Surviving the silly season with Neat Freak and MomsMatter


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