Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Our Guest writer, Cheryl Ford, comes from Eliminate Chaos© More time for life.

Just Say "NO"-Vember

"No" thank you, "no", maybe next time, "no" I really don't have time, "no" we have other plans, “no”, family comes first, “no” I don't need one. If you start practicing saying no in “no”-vember you will be well versed in it when December arrives and the holidays have jumped upon you. By the time that you have devoured your holiday bird and all of its leftovers you will be a pro at saying no.

I didn’t come up with this idea of “no” on my own. Shortly after Thanksgiving last year, my 26 year-old son sent an email to family members asking that they not give him any holiday gifts. He said “no” to wanting or needing anything and did not see the purpose of everyone buying “stuff” just for the sake of giving ”stuff”.  He told everyone that if they had a hard time not buying him something or not giving him money, that would they please donate to one of several charities that he felt strongly about, or spend extra time participating in a fun family activity together.

At first I was a bit upset at the idea of not getting to buy my son a gift or gifts just because he didn’t want anything! The more I thought about it, the more I warmed up to the idea. The more I discussed it with other members of the family, including my daughter who I had already mailed gifts to, the more everyone was on board with the idea.  Hmmm….what a concept? 

The result was amazing and so stress free, that it was hard to describe the feeling as November rolled into December and I started in with my holiday routine. Suddenly there was “ More Time for Life “ instead of the dreaded shopping list. When I was out in the mall, I had the greatest feeling from saying “no “ to shopping for gifts that I could thoroughly enjoy meeting my friends for a holiday lunch or dinner instead, not to mention the financial bonus. (In my head I was secretly bragging to myself  “I’m all done with my shopping because I never had to start!”) My aging parents were delighted with the idea and very proud of their grandson. They had been telling us for years that they too didn’t want or needed anything, but I guess we just didn’t want to listen to them as we spent hours of frustration each year trying to solve the “what can we get my parents” dilemma.

I unknowingly did give my parents their gift of choice last year….A holiday meal in my home where they got excited about using my great aunt’s silverware and admiring the extra tree in the family room decorated with antique ornaments, recently passed down to me, and not out of their boxes since I was a child. To top if off, my dad was delighted even more to share stories with our last minute brunch guests when he found out that they grew up in the same area of the Midwest as he did.

The point is that all of the good things of the holidays do not need to revolve around presents and holiday party obligations. If you say “no” to TV commercials for toys, moonlight sales at the mall, and people on your Christmas card list that you haven’t seen or talked to in 10 years, it will free up lots of time and money for you to enjoy the traditions that are your favorites. If there are traditions that stress you out, or make you crazy, then they are probably not worth doing just for tradition’s sake. Maybe it is time to delete a few, edit a few, and insert a new one here and there.


I recently asked my grown children what some of their best holiday memories were and I wassurprised, yet not surprised at their answers.  The tradition of making a gingerbread house topped the list (new pajamas came in second), and house decorating is still a tradition today, with the only difference being that they don’t eat as much candy in the process.  One year we tried a glass blowing workshop together and that topped the “best memories “ list for years! Other favorite and repeated holiday traditions in our house include playing board games, assembling a jigsaw puzzle, attending a museum exhibit, and discovering silly things in our Christmas stockings.  In other words, time together, which you can’t shop for at a department store.

So if you want to get a jump on your holiday plans, here is a list of “mind set reminders” to put at the top of all of your other lists.

1.  Start new simpler traditions and give up some of the old complicated ones.

2.  Spend time and money on those you love and care about, not on those you barely know or rarely see.

3.  It is okay to re-gift

4.  It’s about the spirit of the season, not the stuff

5. Don’t be afraid to “Just say No” to the “shoulds” of December. 

We offer you Chery's essay with her permission.
Further information may be found at

Laura Leist offers classes and suggestions for organization. I have used these books:

Eliminate Chaos-The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life.  Let organizing consultant Laura Leist’s  10-step process show you how to control household clutter in every room of your home.

Business Solutions Using Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Mgr. Ideas to solve every day business challenges.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012


November is NaNoWriMo and Adagio Lyrics will be on hiatus until December.
Thank you and come back in good health.