If you are hosting the family Christmas gathering, you may be feeling overwhelmed with all there is to do. You may need some family help with Christmas preparations this year. A chore jar or mug may be what you need to get the family to help out. Here's how to do it…
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Make a List
Sit down and make a list of everything that needs to be done. If you have small children, make a column called “BIG” and a column called “LIL” and write tasks that only your little people can do under the “LIL” column. Some tasks you might write are:
- make a grocery list
- go grocery shopping
- make a gift shopping list
- go gift shopping
- wrap gifts
- slice (type of) food
- cook (type of) food
- set out (type of) food
- other food related chores
- put out paper-ware or plates, utensils, etc.
- cleaning each room
- wash counters
- sweep and mop
- fold and put away laundry
- other cleaning chores
- pet chores (feeding, walking, pet waste, etc.)
- beverages in coolers or make beverages
- light a candle, turn on the diffuser or melt some wax in your warmer, etc.
- entertain littles or hold the baby while mom does…
Narrow It Down
Do you really need to organize your closet today? Are you sure you have time to sweep the garage when the guests will not even go in there? Let's not put those tasks in the jar, but instead keep them on a list in case you have time. But if you do have time, you may want to consider some “you time” for a shower or makeup instead!
Think about how many capable people you have that can help including yourself and how many chores you have. Try to keep the tasks for each person under five (so you don't overwhelm THEM too!), if possible. So if you only have one other person that can help you, narrow it down to ten that go in the jar.
The Chore Jar or Mug
On each piece of paper, if you have a LIL category, one side of your paper will have a BIG chore and the other side of the paper will have a LIL chore. So no matter who chooses it, something will get done. I put these in a coffee mug because I like to have a handle to hold it with. I still call it “the chore jar” though! Which makes my kids laugh!
On a paper that has a chore on each side, when the chore on one side is done, cross it out and put it back in the mug/jar so the other side can get done.
Lower Your Expectations
Here's the thing, you may not get ANY help. You may get more help than you expected. That is what I want for you. But in order for you to get more help than you expected, you need to lower your expectations, I mean REALLY LOW! It would be best to not expect anything. Just pretend like you will have to do it all and that you are at peace about it and not bitter! When I expect anything and it doesn't get done, I get grouchy. Lower your expectations with yourself too! Even if it doesn't get done, Christmas will still happen and your cheerful and loving presence is more important than all the things! We all need to remember that Christmas is about the greatest gift, Jesus!
Ask For Help
Before you ask for help, think about how you will say it. You don't want it to sound like hard work. You need help and are asking for it. Maybe say something like, “I am feeling overwhelmed with the 20 tasks that still need to be done before Grandma gets here at 4:00 p.m. There are 5 of us that could work as a team, if we all help, we would each only need to do 4 each. Can you each help me with 4 of these today?” (Keep in mind, you are not expecting ANYTHING. You will not nag or remind, anything that gets done is a gift! Be cheerful!)
Also consider who you will ask. Maybe two people in the home are working and won't have time. Perhaps a few people can do two tasks each when they are home from work or before they go to work. Another example: you know your daughter is packing for a missions trip and she is leaving for after the Christmas Party, so you don't ask her. You don't ask the baby or the 3 year old, etc.
Play Some Lively Music
Take turns selecting the music, but be sure it has a lively beat to keep everyone moving, no Silent Night at this time! More like Rocking Around The Christmas Tree! Our music comes from the living room, so at my house, whoever is working in there gets to choose!
Divide and Conquer
You can decide if you want the youngest to draw first or whatever. Write their name or initial on the chore they drew and set it next to the jar/mug on the table. When the chore is done, cross it out and remember to put it back in the jar if it has a back side. If it is all done, throw that one away!
Remember to be very thankful verbally as they are working and when they are done.
Was this helpful or is it not good for your family? It is only helpful for our family when I lower my expectations and am cheerful and thankful.
If you need more of a deep cleaning, try our Basic Home Cleaning and Decluttering Action Plan.
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