Every year before the holidays, the season begins to feel more frantic than it does festive. Commercials bring back all the shopping that needs to be finished, and virtually every meal time reminds me of all the cooking that needs to be done before the big day – both goodies and for Christmas dinner. Hopefully, most of you aren’t as crazy as I am when it comes to getting things under control. But, no matter your level of holiday-planning stress, I have a few tips to help make life easier.
Lists, lists, and more lists
When it comes to shopping, cooking, traveling, or anything else holiday-themed, write it down. Whether you’re a spreadsheet maker or prefer hand-written notes, this will help you ensure everything has been accounted for, purchased, and packed.
December Isn’t the End
Having trouble scheduling all your events before the end of the month? Who says everything has to be planned before December 31st? Plan parties or get-togethers for mid-January, once the holiday hype has calmed down. This is also a good tip for holiday activities, as ice skating rinks are often less crowded, and seasonal shows drop their ticket prices.
Driving to and from a shopping center, waiting in line, dealing with traffic, etc. – these are all things that can be avoided by shopping online. However, for those items that are in-store only, be sure to call ahead or reserve first. Many websites even offer web-only discounts or free shipping. Plus you can check off another item from your list without even changing out of your Pjs!
Don’t Over-do it
It’s OK to say no! Your neighbors will surely understand if you can’t make it to their annual party (yes, even if your car is still in the driveway). Not every gift exchange has to be personalized, and grocery store cookies can be just as good as those that are homemade. The holidays simply aren’t worth it when it becomes too stressful to enjoy. People understand how busy this time of year can be; just stay honest. A simple “I have too much to do” is all it takes.
Make the Season Enjoyable
Take a few hours to appreciate everything you have accomplished. Whether that’s with a massage, a bottle of wine, or buying your own holiday present, make the work worthwhile. And another aspect to consider is your health. Little can be accomplished if you’re under the weather. December is also notorious for unhealthy snacks and beverages, while fine in moderation, the cheese balls and eggnog can easily be overkill – read here to find out more about staying healthy through the holidays.
Above all, the holiday season should be one that is full of joy and celebration, not stress. And to avoid hectic holiday planning in the future, remember next year to start early!
Have more holiday tips? Let us know.