Stressed out during the holidays? I hear you loud and clear. Running around trying to get everything just right can take the magic out of the whole holiday vibe. Here are 9 things I do to get my groove back during the holidays when the stress seems overwhelming.
Create New Holiday Traditions
During the past recession, holiday budgets were tight to say the least. That year we decided to only exchange gifts with our immediate family to alleviate some of the burden. We weren’t sure how it would go over when we first introduced the concept. Much to our surprise, everyone seemed pretty relieved by the new decision. It took a lot of pressure off financially as well as emotionally. In fact, even though the economy has made a comeback, we still give gifts only to a select number of family members each year.
Skip Buying Gifts For Friends & Co-Workers
Even though it can be fun, buying gifts for friends and co-workers just adds to the long holiday to-do list. You might want to consider forgoing these extra gifts. For my immediate friends, I always suggest going for coffee or dessert and then maybe shopping together for our kids holiday gifts. Experiences always make the best gifts anyway, and incorporating them into the “to do” list means you kill two birds with one stone.
Create A Budget
Create a budget for holiday expenditures ahead of time. Create a shopping list and make sure to stay on top of expenses. If you make a list and track the receipts, you’ll be more likely to stay within your budget and be able to make adjustments when necessary.
Minimize Holiday Décor
Holiday decorations are precious to many of us, but they also take up precious room in the garage, not to mention, precious time spent organizing them. I, myself, have recently switched gears and made the decision to scale down the decorations in my home. I call it minimalist holiday decor. I have a new hard and fast rule ….only enough decorations to fill two boxes. If two is not your number, adjust accordingly. Go through any leftover decorations and donate those that don’t get used.
Skip The Holiday Parties This Year
What??? Holiday parties can be fun but they can also fill up your calendar quickly and can be quite costly. A new dress, gifts for the host, transportation arrangements, cost of a babysitter; it can all add up, am I right? Don’t feel bad about saying no. If the person who invited you is in your close circle, maybe suggest that the you go out for a bite to eat after the holidays. It will be cozier and a more memorable moment in your friendship.
Hire A Helper
During the holidays, hire a house cleaner and while you’re at it, someone to hang the outside Christmas lights. Chalk it up as a present to yourself.
Prep Ahead Of Time
Figure out anything that can be made a day or two before your holiday meal, like the potatoes or the dip, and make it. It will free up your time for sitting around the dining table as opposed to standing around the stove on party night.
Hire A Caterer
If they don’t ask, why tell? When your guests comment on how delicious the food is, just say “thank you” and don’t forget to hide the containers deep in your garbage. Having main dishes catered, like turkey or ham, can save you a lot of time and hassle. Buy homemade rolls and desserts from your local bakery. Store in the freezer and take out the day of to prevent staleness.
Set The Dinner Table In Advance
Plates, utensils, drinking glasses, napkins, dinner table name tags, centerpieces etc. can be put on the table well before your holiday meal. Be sure to have matches handy so you can light the candles right before your guests walk in to create atmosphere.