Savor sips of aromatic pumpkin lattes, light the freshly cut fire wood, and get cozy in a snuggly sweater, because the crisp fall air is here! Enjoying this peaceful seasonal shift is easy, until you see stores glittering with those familiar colors. All of a sudden a sense of doom overcomes you, something more terrifying than your Halloween costume. Christmas is only a measly two months away! Yes this time of year can be overwhelming because of holiday parties, home decorating, gift buying, and traveling, but here are a few tips to make it stress-free, and (gasp!) joyful!
5 Ways to Stay Stress-Free During the Holidays
1. Who’s been naughty or nice? Compile a list of everyone you need to purchase a gift for. Think this over carefully, and remember to add commonly forgotten people like co-workers, domestic staff, employers, and neighbors. Once you have the list, jot down gift ideas next to their names so that shopping trips can be effective and time efficient. Don’t underestimate the beauty of giving a gift card! Kids and people you don’t know as well will appreciate your kindness, so don’t feel like you’re being impersonal. It’s also important to set a budget, and even though this seems difficult, stick with it so that in January you won’t have a credit card bill you can’t afford. Keep this list with you on your phone or in your wallet so that when you start shopping (Hint: It’s time to start!), or when you happen to be in a store on a different errand, you’ll already have ideas for each person and be ready to buy.
2. Deck the halls! Things might be in a tangle, or items may have been misplaced over the last 10 months, so sort out what you have. Once everything is laid out for decorating, involve your kids, family, or friends in the process. Turn on Christmas music, heat the cocoa, and you’ve just turned one of your chores into a fun holiday tradition that helps your sanity. You might even be inspired to get creative, and use your decorations differently than you have in the past.
3. Here come the guests. Everyone has decided to celebrate at your house this year, which means your home will soon be buzzing like a hotel. If you have a guest room, then you’re already half done, but make sure everything is in place. Set aside fresh clean bedding, a supply of fluffy towels, and if you want to go the extra mile, provide a robe and a selection of books from your collection to lay out on the nightstand. If you don’t have a guest room then you have a little more to prepare, but now is the time to find the air mattress and create a plan to convert one of your rooms into a pleasant temporary home for your guests.
4. I have nothing to wear! This may seem like a minor issue, but most people have several work and/or family related parties to attend during the holidays, and scrambling at the last minute to find something suitable for the occasion isn’t the way to go. You might already have several options in your wardrobe, but if not, set aside some time to buy a few items that will serve you well, and keep you out of stores the week before Christmas. (Don’t forget to make a haircut appointment now! Salons book up quickly from November-December, so make sure you schedule a quick trim while you can.)
5. Sugar cookies or pecan pie? Look through your recipes and select a variety of options. To be doubly sure you choose the right ones, start introducing some of the dishes into your nightly/weekly family dinners. These trials will show you how much work and time will be involved in making each recipe. An added bonus is that your meals leading up to the Christmas will be laced with seasonal treats, and the critics at your dining table will help you determine which ones are good enough for the big day.
Use these 5 tips so that this year is all about celebration, family, and food!