A plan is the best way to have fun -- say the nerds of the world.  I'm firmly in that camp so I have a plan this season to make the most of the holidays, eliminate the stress and manage the budget.  Thankfully, there are lots of ways to do that in Southwest Oklahoma.  So, here's my holiday bucket list.  Feel free to use it -- and put it to work to manage your stress and maximize your fun this holiday season:

  1. All gifts for the primary members of the family purchased by Saturday after Thanksgiving.  (I admit I start around July to manage my budget better).  That way, it's only fun and small shopping till the big day.
  2. Visit these awesome attractions once this season (while maybe doing some holiday shopping):
    1. Festival of Light – Chickasha

    2. Crystal Christmas – Woodward

    3. Downtown In December -- Oklahoma City
    4. Festival of Lights -- Elmer Thomas Park (right here!)
  3. Pick a Sunday afternoon to paint homemade ornaments with the family (tradition for my tree)
  4. Christmas parade:  at least two are mandatory:
    1. Altus' Christmas parade is Saturday, December 13, at 6:30 p.m.
    2. Cache's Christmas parade is Saturday, December 13, at 5:30 p.m.
    3. Duncan's Christmas parade is Saturday, December 13, at 3:00 p.m.
    4. Medicine Park's Christmas parade is Saturday, December 20, at 2:00 p.m.
  5. Baking day is also mandatory.  Schedule it early so you don't feel pressured.  Baking our favorite treats (then delivering them to friends and family so I don't eat them all) is a favorite holiday tradition of mine.
  6. Make room for sitting in a room with a fire and just enjoying the quiet and the blessings.
  7. Family Fun Christmas Outing -- with no pressure for shopping and finding that perfect whatever.  Just go and do and have some fun!
  8. Make some Situ bread.  I'm 1/2 Lebanese and my Situ (grandmother) made the most amazing flat bread (think pita -- but better and um, the most delicious thing in the universe).  It takes a full day and some hot ovens but it's my favorite thing to have for Christmas morning while we are ripping into the loot.
  9. Get in a little romance.  No one looks bad in the twinkle of Christmas tree lights.
  10. Clean something every day so you don't have to do it all in ONE day and waste a great holiday adventure because you have to scrub the toilets.  grrrrr.

My list isn't really that nerdy and formal.  Some of it is just a reminder to enjoy the season and to give it meaning for my family -- and setting aside time to reflect on it's real meaning.

Here's to a NO STRESS holiday season.  They don't need another useless gift.  They need YOU a lot more.