Is Stress-Free Holidays Possible?
Sometimes I think having stress-free holidays seems is an impossible dream. So many gifts, gatherings, families, meals and budgets that have to be planned for, it just seems like madness.
In the name of a stress-free holidays, my family did a loose no-spend December plan a few years ago. It started out that she wasn’t going to buy anything at all. She was going to have all her Christmas shopping done, all her food stocked, everything she needed to enjoy the holiday without being bogged down by commercialism. She wanted these holidays to be fun, not stressful. Sounds good, right? Then she realized stressing out about not being able to buy anything wasn’t fun, so she decided to buy from locally-owned stores or as locally as possible. This means supporting our local restaurants, local stores and artists.
It’s a pretty common practice for people to flow to the bigger city to do their holiday shopping. This can have a negative impact on the economy and also it’s just a waste of gas. Companies decide to locate in cities based on how companies like them are being supported in that particular city. If people always go to another city to buy stuff, then other companies aren’t likely to move there because its citizens aren’t supportive of the companies already there.
Getting everything arranged, bought and paid for can go along way in helping create stress-free holidays, but here are some additional tips that might be helpful.
Create A Timeline
Creating a timeline can be extremely helpful when you’re figuring out what you have to get done and when it needs to be done by. If you get down to the wire and start to get stress, enlist help and prioritize what absolutely has to get done and what be put off.
Change It Up
What’s the one thing that drives you the craziest? Buying gifts? Meal planning? Cleaning? Once you’ve narrowed it down to one or maybe even three things, find a new way to get it done. Enlist help, don’t do it or start earlier, just find a new way to do it that doesn’t make you crazy.
Stock Up on Supplies
Whether it’s wrapping or meal planning, sometimes it’s good to have extra. Nothing is more frustrating than getting half way through and realize you ran out of what you needed. Then you have to again make plans to get the job done. The leftovers can be saved for next year or if it’s food can easily be used after the holidays.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
I would say this can be the biggest thing for stress-free holidays. As a guest, it’s no fun to see your host/ess suffering and having to do everything themselves. As a host/ess, it’s no fun to miss out on the family activities and conversation because you’re busy cooking. Ask for help, ease the tension, and get the family involved so everyone can spend time together for the holidays. That’s what they’re about after all.
Don’t Try to Mix it Up
Holidays aren’t the time for experimentation. It takes time to figure out the new things and if they don’t work out, then you’re either stuck with it or have to find time to make a new one. Stick to what you know, the family favorites and use less-stressful times of the year for experimentation.
Break out the Christmas Music
Who doesn’t love Christmas music? It just gets you into the spirit of Christmas and that joy is good when working on things that overwhelm you. If you need to clean the house, start meal prepping or gift wrapping, just make yourself a play list to sing along to. The best part is once you do it, you can store it away to use year after year.
I know this can be hard when there is a million things to do, but if you do on one thing at a time, you can really really focus. Making your world-famous pecan pie? Enjoy the memories of your family eating it, enjoy the smell as it bakes and look forward to eating it. Don’t miss out on memories running from one task to the next.
Changing your perspective from what still have to do to all that you already have can bring relief instead of anxiety about the holidays. Thanksgiving should be celebrated all year round. Any time you feel overwhelmed or stressed, just stop, breath and think of three things you’re thankful for.
Involve the kids
The holidays are all about spending time with those you love. They can help decorate — everything from rooms to cookies. So even if they’re in the way, they’re helping you get the job done.
Pretty much everyone you know is prepping for the holidays. Team up with your bestie and double team and double the recipes. Make an assembly line and wrap gifts your gifts together. Help each other decorate your houses. Everything can be much less stressful, if you have a partner to help your conquer your projects.
These are my tips for a stress-free holidays. It’s all about looking at them a bit differently and finding a new way of doing things. Feel free to add your stress-free holiday tips in the comments below!
For more posts to get you in the Christmas spirit, check out these additional blog posts.