Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

December Planning


Much as I like to subscribe to a spontaneous, seat-of-the-pants style of operating that would allow me to take up an invitation to go trekking in Patagonia with five hours’ notice, I actually have to be fairly organised. I’m divided. The real me is a dreamy, peripatetic traveller armed with a notebook and some chocolate, but the current me is a busy mother of three, with a job, lots of friends, a husband who would occasionally like my attention and three lunches to pack. Reality is that I vacillate between the two poles, being either relatively organised or utterly forgetful.

I have friends who are really organised, who get their tax returns back in January, who have colour-coded wardrobes, and who have a place for everything in their homes. I admire them, but try not to compare myself. Some of those friends don’t have children (which opens up many gazillions of free hours), others have live-in help (ditto) and others don’t work. When I’m beating myself up for not being perfectly organised, I have to remind myself that everyone’s situation is unique. My strategy is always people over things, so my children get more attention than the kitchen cupboards, my friends get more attention than the laundry and my husband, when he’s here, gets more attention than, say, the mop.

So, bearing in mind that people come first, and that Christmas is no fun when Mummy’s running around in increasingly small circles emitting a high-pitched shrieking noise, here is my answer to BlogLily’s request to share my planning for December:

1. To hand in my last two pieces of freelance work on 14 December, and to not work again until after New Year.

2. To use some of those free hours to work on my new collection of short stories (one in the writing, another six in the planning).

3. To enjoy and relish the week of 17 to 21 December, during which time I must bake and prepare for Daisy’s home birthday, Daisy’s kindergarten birthday and a joint birthday party I am hosting for myself and two friends (potential guest list 50-100?).

4. To have enough, but not too much food, in the house for the week of 22 to 28 December. We won’t starve, even if we don’t have immediate access to stem ginger, mince pies and rum-dipped dates.

5. To relax and enjoy the company of my darling family, especially that of my lovely brother who is making his first-ever journey to Europe to Christmas with us.

6. To buy less stuff.

It’s all about the fun, the love, about some – but not too much – gorgeous food and, if possible, much less stuff.

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

10 thoughts on “December Planning

  1. That sounds like a lovely plan. I like your “people come first” philosophy. I feel that way too but sometimes get sidetracked by the trivial stuff.

  2. Oh this is a lovely sounding month you’ve got ahead of you. And thank you for that link to the “less stuff” people. I think about this a lot, and it is good to know others do too.

  3. The “stuff”, will I ever be rid of the “Stuff”. I make monthly trips to drop “stuff” off at the goodwill. It’s incredible how it acumulates. This year I’ve been making a real effort to downsize.

  4. This sounds wonderful, Charlotte, and very like you – people-centric, fun and pragmatic. Good luck with the writing projects in all of that!

  5. Hahaha – you sound like me! My mantra these days is “less stuff”, alternating with “buying it will not make you happier!” I don’t know what it is about England, but it makes me want to consume and have less. Maybe it’s the small living space or the lack of a cleaner. Or maybe it’s the sight of the world’s most ungodly collection of cr@p on the shelves from mid-November onwards, clearly pandering to those desperate to but last-minute gifst for everyone they ever met. It just makes me feel faintly queasy… and I LOVE shopping!!

    I’m also with you on the vacillation between organised and disorganised – I can be such a control freak and then I can be so laissez faire… And my mop gets less attention than pretty much every other object in London!

  6. People come first, people come first, people come first. My mantra, stolen from you. Not that I didn’t think it before, but I’ve never been very good about putting it into practice in December. this year it will be different!

  7. Ha, Charlotte, you are SO ahead of me! I still have to put up the Christmas decorations. Not a hint of a plan anywhere in sight here.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. I love how balanced and sane your plan is, Charlotte. And I especially love that you’ve declared Dec. 14 to Jan. 1 a no-work zone. Bravo!

  9. The ‘less stuff’ link is fabulous. Food for thought before christmas.

  10. Pingback: mandarine » Blog Archive » Less stuff

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