How To Prep for Christmas (and still have time to read)

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‘Tis the season! You know what I’m talking about right? The lights, the misletoe, the chaos, the stress, the cooking, the cleaning…and the list goes on…

How are we supposed to find ANY time to read? Today I want to give you a few tips that help me get through this crazy busy season while still satisfying the Book Nerd in me.

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1.Cook Christmas Dinner Ahead of Time
Now, I know every family has different traditions when it comes to Christmas dinner. A few years ago we started hosting Christmas at our home. As the only family with small children, we made the executive decision that the rest of the family can come to us from now on! Haha! Also, we LOVE hosting parties! In our family, Cornish Pasties have a special place in family gatherings. For this reason, I decided to start a new tradition of making pasties for our Christmas dinner. The best part about this? I make them a couple weeks ahead of time and freeze them. That way, all we have to do is pull them out Christmas Eve and warm them up on Christmas. This has saved us SO.MUCH.chaos and stress. (Here is a recipe for Cornish Pasties)

Reading Tip: Fewer dishes ON Christmas means more time reading all those new books that Santa brought you hehe!

2. Shop Online
It’s no secret that I am not a fan of crowds. I avoid them at all cost! And unless you are super prepared for Christmas presents, going to ANY store in December will be a mad house. I have found that shopping online tends to cost me less money as well. Not only can you find super awesome deals almost everywhere online (and free shipping codes) I am more likely to stick to my list because I’m not distracted by all the lovely displays and stocking stuffers in store.

Reading Tip: All the time you would have spent dealing with driving, crowds, etc. you can now spend curled up with your favorite book.

3. Long Car Rides
Sometimes driving around in December is unavoidable. Whether it’s because you enjoy shopping at brick and mortar stores or you travel to see family for the holidays. Or like our family, Santa pictures at the downtown mall is a yearly requirement. The perfect solution? Audiobooks. You can bet later today, I’ll be happily seated in the passenger seat with my earbuds in for the hour treck downtown. Audiobooks are great if you are the driver too. I can’t read in the car at.all. So audiobooks are perfect. If you haven’t checked out SCRIBD yet…DO IT! They are amazing! Best price out there for UNLIMITED ebooks and audiobooks!

Reading Tip: If you are the driver, and you have kiddos, I give them headphones and their kindles #noshame. Mama needs peace and quiet while driving, whether I am listening to an audiobook or not.

4. Make a Cleaning Schedule
The dreaded word…CLEANING….Probably my least favorite part of hosting Christmas. I have found that if I stick to a cleaning schedule of 1 (or 2) rooms a day. The cleaning isn’t as overwhelming on you know, Christmas Eve. Especially if you start a couple weeks ahead of time. This year my kids are finally old enough to help out with the household chores, even if I need to go back through and do a little touch up cleaning lol! Also, having Norwex for my cleaning supplies makes life so much easier. No nasty chemical headache after cleaning the bathroom. (Here is a sample of a cleaning schedule.)

Reading Tip: I think you know where I am going with this…Audiobooks…Yup…So handy to accomplish some reading while cleaning.

5. Do Not Overcommit
I know. I know. This can be so hard! It is tempting to want to go to every Ugly Christmas Sweater Party, cookie exchange, recital, and party. But remember, it’s OK to say, “No.” Remember to make time for your family (and I’m talking you and your kids) to make special memories. We went to the new Grinch movie last week. We were the ONLY ones in the theatre and it was so precious to make such memories with the kiddos.

Reading Tip: Spending time at home is OK. Besides, you can squeeze in some more reading time.

6. Take Time for Yourself
This is my most important tip! There is no shame in taking a little break. Take a soothing bubble bath, go get a mani/pedi, go out for coffee with your BFF, or simply curl up with a book.

Reading Tip: Take a book with you wherever you go. A few minutes here and there can add up to a whole lot of reading before you know it. Reading at my son’s karate lessons is one of my favorites.

The bottom line to making it through the holidays with at least a smidgen of sanity left over is priorities. This year, I am intentionally focusing on reading some books for myself and making memories with my family. Having 2 young boys, Christmas is such a magical time of year, especially seeing it all through their eyes. And if that means passing up on certain things the marketing agencies deem “I can’t live without thie Christmas” then so be it. Because I know what is important to me and that’s all that matters.


Rachel enjoys reading, reviewing books, and sharing her passion for literature at www.bookwormmama.org. She's a virtual assistant and shares the small-town life with her husband and children.