Everyone knows that the holidays can be a bit stressful. Between all the shopping, baking and parties, it can leave you overwhelmed and worn out. To many of us, the holidays and stress are synonymous. But let me let you in on a little secret – the holidays don’t always have to be so stressful. With a bit of planning and creativity, you can make this holiday one of the most relaxing and memorable yet!
The following are some great tips on how to make this holiday stress free.
- Plan a budget. The earlier in the year you can figure out your budget for the holidays the better. Many start putting away money right after the holidays are done for next year. A great way to do this is by committing to put away a little something away every week. Some have a small amount taken automatically out of their paycheck. Make a list of what you are going to spend on each person and stick to it! Many things go on clearance or on sale throughout the year so sometimes buying in advance helps you out tremendously in the long run. You will feel awesome when all your Christmas shopping is done way before the holidays even get here.
- Get the whole family involved. Don’t try and be super mom or super dad. Getting your children involved and helping out is a great way to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Delegate tasks such as who gets to wrap presents, which person helps decorate the cookies or everyone pitches in to decorate the house. Put the holiday music on, set out some hot cocoa and not only will you be check off many items on your task list, you will be having fun spending time with your family too.
- Make a holiday planner. Do you really want to get a head start on your holiday planning and have everything so well organized that even Martha Stewart would be impressed? Making a holiday planner is a great tool to make and use. It will be your holiday bible for the season. You can put all the information that you could ever need or want in your holiday planner book. All you need is a binder and some divider pages. Some of the categories that you can include are recipes, list of Christmas gifts, budget, and party planning ideas such as a list of holiday dinners or delicious treats you are bringing to all the holiday party’s you are planning on attending. You can also include your holiday traveling plans. Putting it all in one spot will make not only make information easy to find but will help organize everything that you need to complete and keep track of your progress.
- Remember to take time for yourself. Throughout all the running around and planning it is important to make sure that you are taking time for yourself. Enjoy a day pampering yourself – you deserve it! Schedule a day close to the holidays where you can commit to doing nothing holiday related – giving yourself a much needed break. Have someone watch the kids, go to a movie and a nice dinner with your significant other and do all the things you love. Don’t think about all the tasks you need to accomplish on your Christmas to do list.
- Don’t over book your family. There are sure to be many holiday parties this season and it would be nice to try to make it to all of them but it is okay to say no. Going to five houses in one night for Christmas is crazy and no one gets to enjoy the day when it seems they have spent most of the day in a car. Choose which parties are most important to you and only attend those parties. By picking the holiday activities that your whole family really enjoys, you can really enjoy the season without all of the complaining.
- Brainstorm gifts for the kids and limit the long list. Following the rule of getting them something they want, something they need, something to read and something to do is a great way to not over buy Christmas presents. This helps keep yourself within your Christmas budget and helps eliminate all that clutter of toys in your home at the end of the holidays. Although we want to get everything on our children’s wish list it’s good to remember that most often they tire out of their toys pretty fast. Is it really worth it?
- Have a dry run with baking holiday cookies. If you are trying out a new cookie or dessert recipe, don’t wait to the last minute to bake it. It is always a good idea to do a dry run first to make sure that they turn out okay. This way if they don’t work out you weren’t counting on having them right away and you can try again. If they turn out perfect you can bring them to church, work or having your family enjoy a delicious treat. Stick to only a couple of different recipes so that you are not overwhelmed with all the different ingredients you have to buy and different cookies you have to accomplish baking.
- Holiday cards. Make sure you keep an updated address list throughout the year so that you are not scrambling trying to find everyone’s current address. Keep notes about new babies that are born that year and their children’s name. Once you have a good list completed, you can count how many holiday cards you need to order and how many stamps you are going to need. It is also a nice touch to include a family newsletter rather than having to write a personal note on every card. Having a family holiday newsletter is a nice way to catch everyone up on some fun events that happened in your family’s life that year. It is also a nice keepsake for you to keep over the years as a reminder of all the special things that happened that year.