Episode 069: This One Simple Thing Will De-stress Your Holidays
The holidays can often feel like a hassle instead of a celebration. Are you overwhelmed with all the holiday decorations, gifts, and traditions that no longer serve your family? I've been there! But I found a way to simplify and declutter my Christmas experience, and I'm here to share it with you!
If you'd like to see an example of Diana's holiday planner, check out this reel! How to Simplify the Holidays: Part 1
In this episode, Diana shares her go-to holiday planner, which saves time and simplifies the holiday season.
We’ll also discuss:
- Some business growing pains.
- The sections that are included in the holiday planner.
- How to create the planner so you have it for future years.
What can you expect from this podcast and future episodes?
- 15-20 minute episodes to help you tackle your to-do list
- How to declutter in an effective and efficient way
- Guest interviews
- Deep dives on specific topics
This transcript is auto-generated. Please excuse grammatical errors.
Diana Rene: 0:06
You're listening to the Decluttered Mom podcast, a podcast built specifically for busy moms by a busy mom. I'm your host, Diana Rene, and in 2017, I had my second daughter and it felt like I was literally drowning in my home Okay, not literally, but I felt like I couldn't breathe with all of the stuff surrounding me. Over the next 10 months, I got rid of approximately 70% of our household belongings and I have never looked back. I kind of feel like I hacked the mom system and I'm here to share all the tips, tricks and encouragement. Let's listen to today's show.
Before we begin today's episode, I want to make a clear, clear disclaimer that this episode is not for little ones ears. I know that many of you listen to this podcast while you're driving or while you're doing the dishes, or just when little ears are around, and this episode is not for them. You will see why later in the episode, but I'm giving you fair warning here, and not just little toddlers, I'm talking all kids up through high school, to be safe, should not be listening to this episode. So before we dig in, I want to make it clear again this is not for kids. Okay, so you might be like what is Diana going to talk about today, because this is not normal and it's just simply to protect their little hearts. If you do Santa in your home, we're going to get into a bunch of things that help me prepare for the holidays in this episode by using my holiday planner, which I'm going to explain in a minute. But, you guys, I have to share this with you. I have to share this. So, as the business has grown, as my Instagram account has grown, we've had growing pains and we've had new problems come up, but just as a result of having a larger platform and and just having more people interacting with me on the platform right, and so you probably, if you have interacted me with me on any of my reels or posts in the last I don't know, I want to say, since, like February or March of this year, is 2023, then you probably have seen that we've started to do some automation in my DMs, because that way, people's questions get answered easier. I don't miss so many DMs because, you guys, I is not unheard of for me and not rare to get hundreds of DMs in a day and I cannot keep up with that. It's not sustainable. But I want to make sure that I'm still serving you and I'm getting you the resources and the things that you need for all of the reasons that you are following me right.
And so we decided about a month ago to further implement even more automation inside the DMs. That is just a much more sophisticated level of what we were already doing and would serve you guys even better, because it's like much more intuitive and it can help walk you through various resources that you're looking for and it can just get you the resources quicker than any anyone on my team could right. So we have been my team and I have been working hard on this for the past few weeks. We actually purchased an online course so I buy courses all the time, you guys, for personal and for business and there's a course that we've been taking for the last few weeks and getting ready to kind of launch this new automation that we've been really working hard on behind the scenes to help you guys and you guys we did that this morning and we broke the internet. We broke Instagram because it like. I am now locked out of Instagram. I'm not able to like, I open it and it just freezes. So that's fun, but we do know that before before, I was unable to get into my DMs. We know that because so many people is trying to get our experience gift guide. At once. It, like the automation broke, it's not working, and people are trying to tell us that it's not working and we can't reply back to tell them. We know we're trying to work on it, it's just it's my.
One of my team members is like Diana, I think you just need to just go for a walk, like I think you're right. So this podcast is being recorded about three hours after I planned on it being recorded today because we've been just trying to figure this out and I just want to share that with you because I like being transparent with you and upfront about, kind of like, what's going on behind the scenes. And having a growing business is amazing and wonderful and and and it comes with its challenges that you don't know yet how to figure out. And that's how you learn right. You go through the frustrations and the struggles In order to learn how to deal with it the next time it happens, because I'm sure it will happen again, because technology, while wonderful, is also so frustrating at times. So I said to share that. But that also tells me that you guys really want More experience, gift ideas and just the process of how to introduce that to your kids, how to introduce that to family members who gift things to your kids, and so we already have an episode coming out soon.
We have, basically, from here until Christmas, we have mostly like holiday episodes, so not Christmas specific, but just how to simplify the holidays, how to make your life a little bit easier and a little bit less stressful as the operator of the holidays right, like nine times out of ten, it's mom who's taking on all the extra holiday stuff, and so I want to show you ways that you can take some of that off of your plate and also just streamline things and make it easier. So that goes right into what I want to talk about today, and that is the. I call it the Christmas prep planner, but you can call it whatever you want. You can call it holiday, you can call it whatever. It doesn't matter. That's just that's kind of what I call it.
This is something I started doing I don't know, I'm not sure when I started doing this, probably like five or six years ago and it was born out of necessity. It was born out of me being really frustrated with myself every year when I was like just forgetting things for Christmas and Like the reason I wanted this episode to come out now is because this will be helpful for you if you also Host Thanksgiving. We, we, we are not big Thanksgiving people and so we just we never hosted and I don't even like Thanksgiving food. I don't know is that blasphemy, but we just it's not a big deal in our House, so it's not on here, but this would absolutely be helpful for you For Thanksgiving, just as much for Christmas, if you are someone who is really into Thanksgiving or post. So this is just a Google Doc that lives on my computer. I also have a hard copy that lives inside a locked file cabinet so my kids cannot see it and it is essentially my guide to the holidays and it's all of the things that I want to make sure I remember. Or I found myself spending a lot of time every year wasting time trying to remember Everything, and so I'm going to go through each category on here. And just one more disclaimer no kids should be listening to this episode, okay.
So the first section I have is recipes. So this is all of the things that we make every single Christmas. These are a lot of these things are things that my mom made when I was little and I now I make, and then other things are things that my husband and I have kind of created as new traditions for our family when it comes to food. So I have on here I have Christmas Eve appetizers, and then I have them listed. Then I have Christmas Eve dinner I have that listed. I have Christmas morning I have that listed. I have Christmas day I have that listed.
And then day after Christmas we even have a tradition there my dad, when I was growing up, always made candied bacon and pancakes for our entire extended family. So my mom's entire side of the family, like all of her brothers and sisters and parents and all of their kids. They came to our house on Christmas day every year and then they spent the night on Christmas night and it was so much fun growing up that way, you know, with all your cousins, and it was something that we all look forward to every year. And then the morning after my dad made just tons and tons of pancakes and like just the smell of bacon brings me back to that. But he made this candied bacon. That's so good. It's so good, you guys, and he would feed everyone, and so that was a tradition. He passed away when I was 17 and so then my brother kind of took that on While we were still doing Christmas, you know, at my mom's house, before any of us were married or anything. We were all still in high school and college at the time when he did pass. And so he took on that tradition and now each of us four kids have incorporated it into some part of Christmas. Some of us still do it day after Christmas, some of us have moved it. So it's just kind of been fun to carry that tradition and like keep that part of my dad in our life and in my kids lives, and like they get to live through that tradition just like I did. And so that's just a fun side note story.
But I have all of the recipes in here, and so if it's something that I need to know how to make, the recipe is in there. The timeline so like it tells me like this is what we eat typically on Christmas Eve that doesn't mean that we can't eat anything else is just reminding me that this is typically what we do if we want to keep that tradition. And then I have a grocery list to so like everything that is for those recipes I have in a grocery list, so that way I can just take the list, put in a grocery order and I have all of the ingredients needed for all of these recipes. You guys, this part alone cuts down so much repetitive time every year that is spent looking for the recipes, trying to remember what you even cooked on Christmas Eve last year. And if you want to keep doing that and then you know remembering that, finding the recipe you can't find it, you have to call mom and get her to email you the recipe and then putting you know, writing all the ingredients out, getting the grocery list, going like it just every year. It's going to save you so much time from this one portion alone.
Okay, the next section is traditions. And so I don't know about you, but for me I don't know if this is an ADHD thing or not. So I'm very curious if you can let me know in DMs on Instagram at thedecluttermom. I would love to hear your thoughts if this is something that you struggled with also or if this is just me.
But as I started having my own family and like my kids were little and I was like trying to implement new traditions for our own family. I had. I was like forgetting each year what the new traditions that we were trying to implement were. And then I realized there was like one Christmas where my oldest was like, wait, why didn't we do that? I thought that was our tradition and I was like, oh shoot, yeah, it was. I forgot about it, because it's like when you're it's like new habits, right, when something just happens one time a year, it can be hard to remember, especially if you're like trying to do all these like fun things. And so for me, for example, I put one new ornament per child to open on Christmas Eve. Like that's an easy one for me to remember because that's something my mom did and my grandma did for us. Also, it's become tradition for us to go to zoo lights every year, and so I put that on here. I put Christmas sprinkle pancakes, drive around with a candy cane and Christmas lights make a funny gift for Uncle J and Uncle P. So these are things that we're like okay, we need to remember to do these because they are, they have become traditions for us and they have been really fun and we don't want to forget them, and so it's just a simple reminder of like, oh yeah, these are the things that we have been doing and if we want to continue these traditions, here is just a simple reminder. I also just have like dates in here. So it's like zoo lights, be sure to buy tickets as soon as on sale, typically the first week of November and so then I have that on here, but then I also just put a calendar reminder in my Google calendar that repeats every year. So then, like November 1st every year, I get this reminder in my Google calendar to order zoo lights tickets. So that, again, is something that may not save you a ton of time, but it will save you a lot of mental energy and also frustration if you are someone that does tend to forget things like that.
The next section is just where to find, and that is exactly what it sounds like. So, like, where is the Christmas decorations? Like, where are they? They are in the three red bins under the stairs in the basement. So now, like you know exactly where to go to find them. I also put in here like special props or things for tradition. So like, at our, at our new house, we do have a fireplace at our old house that we lived in for the last almost six years. We did not have a fireplace and so we did the tradition there's like a book with Santa's magic key, and so we would read that book every night and we would then put the key on the front door, be where the girls would before they went to bed on Christmas Eve to let Santa in at night. And now, even though we have the fireplace, we still do that. So it's kind of funny, the girls still want to do it. I was like, all right, let's do it. So that's like I need to know where that book and where that key is right, and so just things that you need to remember where they are, putting them on here and then, as a double measure, labeling them wherever they are. So if I say here decorations, christmas decorations, are in the three red bins under the stairs, I'm also going to keep those three red bins under the stairs together and I'm going to have a big label on them that says Christmas decorations. So now, it just makes it easier, it takes away the frustration and you know where everything is. Another thing is like if you have special cookware, if you have certain things like you only use like once a year at Christmas time, to make like a specific recipe, then that you don't need to know where those are. If you have like dinnerware, like plates and special silverware, anything like that, you just need to know where those are, and just having this list is just a good base to remember where everything is.
Another one is things to note, and so this is just like one off things that you really want to remember Again. No, kids should be listening to this podcast episode. Okay, I feel like I have sufficiently warned you at this point. So under this things to note, I have things like Santa wrapped, three presents each. You may understand why I want to remember that for the following year. And then also I have like specific things that were put into their stockings from Santa, and so I have an idea. So it's there's some uniformity over the years, right, and if they because kids freaking remember things and if they get like specific things in their stockings three years in a row and then the next year they don't, they're like what the heck? What happened? Like why didn't I get it? I wonder why? And it's like oh, yeah, I do. I wonder why too. And so all that to say round about way of telling you. Those are some of the things that I have in my things to note.
Also, if you have kids with food allergies, like we do, I'll put in here some specific things that were like safe for Whoever in your home has food allergies, right? So, like, just an example, here is I have Spangler brand candy canes were not safe, and so now every year I'm like, okay, I just when I order online groceries and I'm getting candy canes, I'll I'll just get the Spangler ones and I can know that they're not not safe. However, disclaimer, always check because, as you know, things constantly change. Companies are constantly changing the facilities they use, the lines, they use their warnings, and there have been many occasions where we've had a safe food for years and years and then one day we buy it and it suddenly has a Different label on it. It says something different that makes it not safe, and so that's always important to double check. But for the most part, it's just a. It's just something that's helpful to have in case you're looking for specific things that are only out at Christmas.
One more thing is that we have gift ideas, so throughout the year, as I think about gift ideas. I'll put them into this document. I also have a I can't say the name because then they will go off during this episode as I'm recording but the ALEXA I'll say you know, hey, can you please add the I don't know like dinosaur stuffy to miss six's Christmas list and we have the wish list on our I can't say ALEXA app and then it just added to that list and then when it comes around to Christmas I have like a list and they know they know this feature. So like if there's something they are really wanting, they will go to it and they will add it to the list also. So that's been a nice addition. That has happened since I first started this planning, this planner. I kind of rely on that more now versus this.
But if there's something Specific I don't want them to know that I put on here, because they'll sometimes be like, hey, play my wish list so they can listen to it and see if it has everything, then I'll put it into this planner. But for the most part now we use that home app, okay, and then the last thing is just timeline. So this is just things that you need to remember at specific times and this is kind of weaved throughout the planner, just like I was talking about the Santa key earlier. But this is just anything that I need to remember, needs to be done at by a specific time and so that way we can remember and we're not left scrambling after the fact. And so you guys, I have really hope this is helpful for you. This has been helpful, super helpful for me over the years. I know it has saved me so much Frustration, it saved me time, it saved me mental energy, it saved my mom from receiving a thousand text messages asking for you know different things and and it's just made the holiday season a little more manageable, a little less stressful, and I hope that this is something that can be helpful for you. I wanted you to have this, like I said, because just in case you need it for also for Thanksgiving, but the other reason I wanted you to have it now is because it's probably not gonna be the most helpful for you thing for you this year.
This year is going to be more of like the base. This is the year that you're going to create this planner, so, like, as you're going through the holiday season, you're you're writing all of these things down in a Google doc You're taking. You're, you're making sure everything is in there. You're everything as you're going throughout the holiday season and you're like, oh yeah, we have this specific hot chocolate that we need to get. I'm gonna put that in the planner and so you can sit down.
I do recommend that you sit down and you just kind of like Do a brain release and try to remember everything up front, but just remind yourself that it's not going to be like as helpful this year because you're this is the first time You're going through this season, looking at it through this planner lens. So just use this season as a way to document everything that you're doing. Document everything, and you don't have to just have these sections. You can have other sections also, but just document everything. And then that way, next year you are going to 2024. You is going to love 2023 for taking the, just making the effort. It's not gonna take you a lot of time, but just making the effort to document as you go, because it's going to make all of the holiday seasons moving forward so much simpler for you.
So I wanted to get this episode out a little bit earlier so that you had this top of mind as you're going into the holiday season and you're starting to do all of the planning and Figuring everything out. I hope this was helpful. Let me know on Instagram. I'd love to hear from you and, like I said before, we're gonna have a bunch of thing episodes over the next Several weeks that are just going to help you as we go through this season, so that it can be magical for us too, right, so can be magical for everyone and not just the stressful thing. Thanks for hanging out and listening to the decluttered mom podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, it would mean the world if you could write a review or share this episode with a friend or your Instagram stories. And if you're on Instagram, be sure to follow me at the decluttered mom and send me a DM to say hi. I'd love to hear what you thought about today's episode. I hope you'll come back next week and hang out with us again.