Today's blog post is a fun friend-to-friend chat about Christmas, and I am certainly bringing Christmas ENERGY in this blog. I'm a "Christmas person," and I typically start getting excited about Christmas in July (not kidding). But let's talk about the elephant in the room: Rest as business owners for Christmas can be challenging. There's often a lot to do to "close out the year." At the same time, you're ready to dream about the next year in your business, PLUS you have everyday to-do's of life to keep up with.
That's what we're talking about today. I'm sharing with you the following:
- My time-off and rest strategy for Christmas that I do every year, and how you can do this yourself too! (We're talking practical planning here!)
- Holiday bucket list ideas for you to do to strengthen your faith and enjoy the month of December, even in its chaos.
- Tradition ideas – I'm a NEW mom, and I don't have many family traditions to share yet. But, I am sharing some traditions you could try with your spouse that we do and some family tradition ideas I love!
- I'm sharing Advent resources, books, other podcast episodes, and things that will help you out as you plan your holiday season.
So, that is our agenda. If you often tell me that you wish I did more personal content – this is it. I'm excited to chat. So, get a peppermint mocha, a sugar cookie latte, or some wine, and let's dive into it!
LISTEN TO THIS EPISODE NOW:
Rest as business owners for Christmas
Right now, I want to talk about taking 2-3 weeks off at a time of year when most other businesses are also winding down. If your business is B2B, you'll feel it slowing down. However, if it's B2C, it may be different for you. Nonetheless, people expect time off around Christmas and understand that you will be away from work.
Most business owners don't get the rest they crave for Thanksgiving because of Black Friday, so you likely NEED this year-end wind-down.
I unplug from most business activities for three weeks around Christmas. A couple of examples of this include:
- Not checking my inbox or responding to things other people need from me
- Not starting on any new projects, running sales/promotions, client work
- Slowing down content creation (like for this podcast or even social media content)
Essentially, I stop all front-facing business activity. This allows me to take time off AND focus on big-picture thinking that may not feel possible when I'm engaging in the entire workload of my business. There are a few practical ways I make this happen during the holidays.
If you want thoughts on taking BIG time off from your business, check out Episode 139: What I Did To Prepare For A 2 ½ Month Maternity Leave As An Online Business Owner (+ My Top Tips For Planning ANY Time Away From Your Business)
PRACTICAL WAY #1: Add your out-of-office dates to your email signature leading up to time off.
Leading up to the holidays, add your upcoming out-of-office dates to your email signature. Then, when you're emailing a potential or current client, they can see that it is coming. My teams' email signatures always say: "Our email office hours are 8 am to 3 pm CST on Monday - Friday. We do not reply to emails over the weekend or holidays." So we're constantly communicating that you won't hear from us on weekends or holidays. But, around Christmas, we’ll add an extra note about those specific out of office dates.
PRACTICAL WAY #2: Put up an inbox autoresponder with your out-of-office info.
When you're taking time off, put up an autoresponder. This will help you have peace of mind if you get an important message while away. This lets the person emailing you know that your response will be delayed.
PRACTICAL WAY #3: Work ahead some.
You'll want to get things that relate to the three categories you're shutting down done before your time off. This might mean getting ahead on your podcast, youtube channel, or blog. You could plan for your social media content, ensure you get things to your team ahead, or clear out your inbox a week before you leave the office. You can write social media content for any Facebook groups you manage and get it scheduled out in advance. Do the work though to get ahead so you can actually rest! Make a list of the things that will need to happen in your business while you’re away and do them now.
PRACTICAL WAY #4: Put it on your calendar. Communicate it with your clients and/or team. Make it a real thing.
This is a MUST for me. I put my out-of-office time for Christmas on my calendar Last Christmas. I have also communicated with my team about when I'll be gone AND what they are responsible for doing during this time.
What to do with your time off — IN YOUR BUSINESS?
During these 3 weeks away, I typically do SOME work on my business, just not the daily grind kind of work. How do you decide what to work on though? Ask yourself, "What is something I need to think about or work on in my business BUT never have time for?" This does not mean responding to emails, writing more blog posts, or doing other random tasks. This is the big picture "where am I going?" stuff. Some of my agenda items include: Planning a loose launch calendar for 2023. This includes planning time off so I can plan launches accurately. I am also updating SOPs and the admin side of my business. This is more mundane work, but it is important, and you may feel like you never have time to do it because you are always #busy.
What this will look like:
- I am going through ClickUp and deleting recurring tasks we're not using, editing things to be more efficient, and creating new items for 2023.
- I am going through canned emails I use and updating ones that feel outdated.
- Clearing up my Google Drive.
- I am evaluating my Profit and Loss from this year and trying to forecast for the following year by looking at my Profit Sheet.
- I am setting goals – both personally and for my business for the new year.
- I look at team stuff in my business, plan for new hires, and think about new product ideas.
HOLIDAY BUCKET LIST IDEAS FOR YOU:
Now, what do you do during this time off that’s for YOU? Not for your kids. Not for your business. Just things for you.
Here are some ideas: You could do an advent devotional. Advent is a time in the Christian faith to prepare your heart for Christmas in the four weeks prior to Christmas. Every year I do an Advent devotional and acknowledge the Advent season in a variety of ways. I love it and the rest that turning to God and looking at the beautiful Gospel story gives me at this time of year.
Another idea outside of Advent Studies: You could read the Christmas story repeatedly in the days leading up to Christmas. My husband, Adam, did this with friends this year leading up to Easter. They read the crucifixion story in each Gospel account week by week. Then they would talk about it over breakfast on Friday. I'm personally planning to read the Christmas story in different Bible translations leading up to Christmas.
Wondering where to start with Advent Studies? Here are some Advent Devotionals To Check Out :
- The Dawning of Indestructible Joy by John Piper
- Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu
- Come, Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp
- Emmanuel: An Invitation to Prepare Him Room at Christmas and Always by Ruth Chou Simons
I'm a big reader, and during these weeks, I'll have a few good books I'm working through. I especially love doing seasonally relevant books, like mysteries set in the snow. The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley is a GREAT read this time of year if you like mysteries. Another fun thing, I will watch daytime TV and stick to a workout plan going into the new year.
Family Tradition Ideas:
I have a 15-month-old, so we don't have family traditions yet. However, here are some ideas I've seen and personally love.
- Cookie advent calendar: I got this idea from my Mother-in-law. When Adam and his brother were kids, they would decorate cookies as a family and add them to a bag to enjoy each day leading up to Christmas. The bags were on a handmade Advent calendar in the kitchen! So fun.
- Advent devotionals for the whole family daily: There are plenty of Advent devotionals that can include your kiddos. Try picking one that can involve the whole family.
- Wrapping up Christmas books and letting your kids open up one per day leading up to Christmas: Nancy Ray shared this idea on episode 90 of The Work and Play Podcast. (Colin is OBSESSED with books, so he will love this one.) Basically, you’d wrap up all the Christmas books you have from The Grinch to Polar Express, and every day the kids get a new book to read! These would be the same books year over year, but they feel like new gifts each Christmas since they haven’t seen them since last year.
Our past and current Christmas traditions:
- Adam and I make a date out of putting our tree up. After setting it up, we have Christmas cocktails by the fire.So cozy and fun!
- For our entire relationship, Adam and I have done a yearly Christmas date. Not on Christmas, but sometime in the month of December. We start by making Christmas candy (Adam’s childhood recipe!) and getting hot chocolate at a coffee shop; then, we drive around and look at Christmas lights. After that, we have fancy dinner reservations before looking at even more Christmas lights. When we get home, we watch Christmas-themed episodes from shows like The Office.
- We take Colin to look at Christmas light shows, which he loves! He even loved it as a 4 month old last Christmas, so now at 15 months I’m sure he’ll have a blast!
- We have a Christmas party with friends. Last year I did dirty Santa with some mom friends. This year, we are throwing a Christmas party at our house and inviting many friends.
I hope you have a beautiful Christmas and that this inspires you to take some much needed time off as a business owner.
This Episode is brought to you by Haute Stock!
Thanks to our podcast sponsor, Haute Stock! Haute Stock is my favorite stock photo company, and I use their images ALL over my business. I even used them in promoting this specific podcast episode. You can get 15% off your subscription with the referral code: ELIZABETH at checkout or by visiting this link: https://elizabethmccravy.com/hautestock.
Advent/Christmas Podcast Resources:
Risen Motherhood Episode #81 Celebrating Advent with Little Ones
Risen Motherhood Episode #42 Making Christmas Traditions Matter
Risen Motherhood Episode #146 Finding Rest in Advent
Risen Motherhood Episode #177 The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Work and Play Episode #90 Our Favorite Christmas Traditions
Work and Play Episode #172 My Christmas Game Plan
Behind the Bliss Episode #208 An Invitation to Prepare Him Room at Christmas and Always with Ruth Chou Simons
Random Links I Mentioned in the Podcast Episode:
November 29, 2022