Christmas Cramming and Deadlines

Christmas Cramming and Deadlines

Dec 20, 2023

It’s five days before Christmas and here we are (that includes me), cramming once again for Christmas! We know Christmas happens every year, and we even remind ourselves as early as September, “Uy, ber na, malapit na ang Pasko!” (Hey, it’s the ber month, Christmas is just around the corner!) And yet, most of us find ourselves in this situation every year. Why?

It’s the big P: Procrastination. We postpone doing things for a number of reasons. Sometimes, having more options when we can do things make us take for granted the ticking of time and we end up postponing what we should have done a lot earlier. That’s our Emotional Emong lording over our Makatwirang Mak on time management.

The Christmas I was most prepared for was back in 1996. According to my OB Gyn, I was scheduled to deliver my third child on December 24. Not wanting to spend Christmas in the hospital, I convinced my body and baby to have the delivery sooner than that. I’m not kidding, I always talked to my baby in my womb, “Honey, come out on December 8. If you do, your birthday will always be a no-classes day because that’s the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.” Guess what? We did even better; our youngest son, Anton, was born on December 7, 1996!

On top of my “self and baby hypnosis,” I also prepared for Christmas way in advance. I knew I didn’t want to be stressed with Christmas cramming while heavy with a baby. That narrowed down my choices of shopping and other Christmas prep days, and it worked well for me. I was Christmas-ready as early as September that year!


The word deadline was introduced in the early 1860s with a rather deadly meaning. Some of the earliest mentions of deadline were in 1863 diaries of captive soldiers. There were actual lines drawn around a prison. If a prisoner goes beyond these lines, they were shot. Now that’s why it was called a deadline, you’re dead once you go beyond them!

These days, we use deadlines in a much lighter sense, sometimes too light for our own good. I’m not saying we should shoot the ones who go beyond the deadline, but we should refrain from using moving deadlines.

Deadlines are useful as they serve as our target dates. They limit our choices as to when we can do things. They are like trigger buttons to start doing something, almost like an alarm. We cannot ignore them; hence, we move.

On the matter of Christmas, December 25 (or 24 if your family celebrates on the eve) is the clear deadline. But there are other important matters in life where the deadlines are not so clear.

Consider saving and investing, eating healthy food, exercising, getting enough sleep hours, cultivating meaningful relationships, heeding our special calling in this world, and other important things that we should have started doing a long time ago to avoid cramming.

Unlike December 25, there are no specific and hard deadlines for these important life projects, and that’s where the problem lies. Because we are all hard-wired to succumb to our Emotional Emong and procrastinate, we can go on with our lives subconsciously waiting for the trigger button to buzz. Unfortunately, when we hear that buzz, we are most likely already in the danger zone (broke, sick, having major relationship problems, desperate in our job, etc.)

This season, after you’re done with your Christmas cramming, give yourself time to reflect on these important aspects of your life. Set clearer deadlines. (You may wish to check out our goal setting contents: Have you set your goals yet? (Steps in Setting Meaningful Goals), Our goal setting tradition featured in Family Rules Show) If you wish to have a copy of our Goal Setting Templates, just email with the subject Goal Setting Template).

The coming year is another chance for us to take control of our life, to avoid cramming, so that we are not left empty-handed, or worse, shot, when our deadline comes. Merry Christmas everyone. And may this year be a Happy Money Year for all of us!


1. Give yourself and your loved ones the gift of High FQ by ordering FQ Books! Click here.

2. End the year by knowing where you are in your FQ Journey, take the FQ Test. Click here.

This article is also published in