It’s true this is the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also one of the most stressful! With presents, shopping, cooking, relatives, and parties the holiday season can feel more like work than vacation. Here are 25 tips on how to have a stress-free holiday season.
25 Tips on How to Have a Stress-Free Holiday
1. Fresh Perspective
We all have that one task that drives you crazy during the holidays. This year make a change and delegate that pesky task. For example: If you dread having to string the lights on the tree, enlist your significant other or friends to help.
2. Be Satisfied
During the holiday season, almost all everyone gets trapped in a “bigger is better” mentality. Decrease your stress and anxiety by practicing being content with what you have.
3. Toss The Shopping List
Opt out of stressful shopping trips instead opting for a family vacation. While shopping for gifts can be fun, often it causes us to focus on gift giving instead of spending quality time together. Instead of exchanging gifts, opt to spend the day together making special memories!
4. Forgo High-Stress Rituals
Families thrive on traditions but remember it is more about the time spent together than the event. If you family whines and complaints about the event try something simple instead.
5. Focus on What is Important
With a constant barrage of events during the holiday season, it is easy to get away from the true meaning of the season. What does this holiday season mean to you? Focus on what matters to you.
6. Strategic Gift Wrapping
Start shopping early for any gifts you plan to purchase and wrap ASAP. Last minute Christmas Eve wrapping can add unnecessary stress to your holiday.
7. Update Your Address Book
While sending out this year’s batch of Christmas cards retire your old address book. Go through and update any changes in address or phone numbers.
8. Universal Gifts
This is a trick I picked up from my mother that has saved me time and again. At the beginning of the holiday season, my Mom would stock up on a few holiday packages that never go out of style. Consider soaps, bottles of wine, or locally made preserves. This is perfect for last-minute gifts for unannounced guest or unanticipated gifts.
9. Make Space Well in Advance
Before your holiday gathering and party relocate coats and any items in your front closet, so guests have a place for their coats and belongings. Also, clear out space in your refrigerator for any dishes or drinks your guests bring.
10. Traveling With Gifts
If you are traveling this holiday season lighten your load by purchasing gift cards rather than bulky gifts.
11. Stock Up on Baking Staples
Now is the perfect time to stock up on year-round baking ingredients. You local grocery store will have holiday specials that you can take advantage of. In addition to avoiding a last-minute grocery trip, you can save back additional items for later.
12. Practice Self-Care
In the midst of all the merrymaking, it is important to enjoy some much-needed peace and quiet. Practicing self-care is especially important during the holiday season to look and feel your best. Slow down the hustle and bustle by caring for your mental and physical state.
13. Self Imposed Budget
Before you start your holiday shopping and activities, it is important to create a budget for yourself and your family. Encourage your friends and family to set up a wish list on their favorite online retailer.
14. Holiday Entertaining Checklist
Trying to get everything done at the last minute causes unnecessary stress before your holiday party. Instead, pace yourself this holiday season. Make a list well in advance and avoid the evening and weekend crowds.
15. Schedule Breaks
Bundle up with your significant other and walk to the mailbox to drop off Christmas cards, or take the family on a twilight car ride through your neighborhood to view the holiday lights.
16. 30-Minute Rule
Sure you want your home to look great for guests but don’t fall for holiday house fever. This is when you are trying to do too much in too little time. Cross anything off your checklist that will take more than 30-minutes. The goal is to straighten and brighten up your home, not turn it into an issue of Southern Living.
17. Take Care of Pets
Have your husband or kid take the family dog outside for some much-needed play time and bathroom break before your gathering or party. A tired puppy is far less likely to jump up and bark every time some is at the door. For extra insurance try giving your pooch a new holiday toy that dispenses treats.
18. Don’t Throw Health To the Wind
Small changes in your diet can help to reduce your overall sugar intake during the holiday season.
19. Meal Prep
Every time you make a meal for your family before Christmas double your recipe and freeze half. This helps cuts down on prep time for holiday meals especially when guests are visiting.
20. Know When to Say No
Don’t overwhelm yourself this holiday season. You do not have to do it all to have a fun or memorable season. Just focus on what brings happiness to you and your family. It is okay to say no and to slow down.
If you are wanting to simplify your holiday season this list is a great resource for getting started. Setting a realistic strategy early on in the season is key to reducing the holiday madness.