I've always thought it is pretty handy that if there is a slower season in the real estate business, it is typically from a little bit before Thanksgiving until right after New Year's Day. Although I am certainly not wishing for TOO slow, it is kind of nice to be able to spend a little extra time with family and friends, enjoying the best things about the holiday season.
Some of my pre winter/holiday planning revolves around trying to get as much of the preparation work done well in advance so I can actually breathe and feel relaxed rather than frazzled. Although I remember one Christmas Eve when I did the mental check list - presents all wrapped - check; cards sent out - check; house decorated - check; baking done - check; holiday meal under control - check. I have to tell you that totally unnerved me because I was SURE it meant I must have forgotten something crucial!
I do the majority of my holiday gift shopping either at local holiday bazaars or in some of our locally owned stores or Farmer's Market - love supporting other local small businesses! So usually the only gifts left to purchase closer to the big day are for my grandaughter who is at that age where her "must have" wish list pretty much changes daily. But I do plan to have most all of the rest of my gift giving list handled by December 1st, so I can get things wrapped (thank goodness for the ease of using gift bags for many things!).
I do still send Christmas cards to family and friends who live out of the immediate area, so that is next priority - getting the necessary short notes (hmmmm, shall I do a generic holiday letter instead??) written and envelopes addressed, so I can get them in the mail sometime that first week of December.
Then we plan our annual family outing to one of the local Christmas tree farms, to select and cut our "perfect trees". That will likely be either the first or second weekend of December, whenever there is a dry enough day to make it fun, not torture. Decorating inside may start prior to the actual tree outing, but the outside lighting again is pretty weather dependent - first day after December 1st when we won't either freeze or get drenched while we put up the lights and other decorations.
Like the annual tree finding expediition, baking falls in the category of more entertainment than chore since it is one of my granddaughter's favorite activities to do with "Mema". (And of course, "Mema" absolutely loves it as well! The must have family cookie is my own grandmother's recipe that is the roll out, cut out shapes and then bake and frost to decorate variety. Normal is that the first batch all gets eaten before it ever gets frosted and decorated - so then we do round two!
Tradition also includes making time to drive around oohing and aahing at the very best local lighting displays (our local paper publishes a map and list of reader suggested favorites). Add in the downtown Olympia tree lighting and singing Christmas tree event, the tree lighting in Lacey - and maybe, just maybe a trip to see the Nutcracker Ballet with that little granddaughter.
Ahhhhhhh, yes, I am looking forward to planning my way through all the essential steps for the holiday, but mostly concentrating on sharing the joy of the season with people I love!