The holidays are upon us–let the anxiety begin! It doesn’t have to be that way though. I’ve loved the holidays since I was a kid. I worked in retail for several years during the holidays and it was easy for me to fall into the pattern of dreading the season because of it. I had to come up with a way to enjoy this amazing time of year and get back to the child-like wonder and enjoyment I felt for so long. So, here’s what’s worked for me for years, especially with having a family who is constantly going in a million directions. Hope you can de-stress your holiday season!
1. Shop Early
It seems early I know, but trust me, start your holiday shopping early. Make a list, come up with dollar amounts for each person (depending upon your budget), and start looking for the perfect gifts. As I order or shop, I keep a running list in my notes on my phone of who I’ve ordered for, what it is, and how much it was. I do almost all my shopping online, so when items come in, I delete them from the list. Before I delete, I try to box or wrap things as they come in. If I go shopping and don’t have time to wrap, I put items in a box and write the persons name on them with a sharpie. I’ll come back to them later. More on that later.
2. Set Some Boundaries
Realize you can’t do it all, no matter how much you want to. Give yourself some grace this season. Choose 3 activities, parties, or events you plan to attend for the season and stick to it. Don’t feel bad saying no. You need some time to enjoy the fun, not just run around from place to place like a crazy person. Get the events on the schedule as soon as possible so you can plan ahead and be prepared with your outfit, gifts, etc.
3. Planning to Send Holiday Cards?
I wrestle with this every year. I try to schedule family photos every year with dreams of sending the perfect Christmas cards. This year we just don’t have the time, so I’ll be using a photo we take at a family dinner or a montage of photos of the family that I like from this year. Nothing professional. Don’t overthink it. People just like to see your family, not some perfect cookie-cutter image. Once I choose a photo or photos I upload them to a site like Shutterfly (always great deals) and choose a pre-made card, pop our info in, and done! I even order matching return labels from them too. To make it even easier, I order stamps from stamps.com and make sure my addresses are updated while I wait for them to ship. If you have trouble finding addresses, find a free site to input and save. I use Postable. It’s amazing. They’re all there and any time I need to send anything, I can find people easily. I send a quick text to some who I think might have moved and update before cards come in. Simple! I order at the beginning of November so I have plenty of time.
4. Do You Love to Bake?
Choose 1 baking day–maybe a weekend when you can enjoy the process and not feel rushed. I like to make peppermint bark so before I make it, I go buy tins or containers I need from Hobby Lobby and baking supplies at the bake shop. It’s all there and ready for me when I want to make it. Lilly and I make it together. While it’s freezing, I stuff my Christmas cards and put the labels and stamps on them!
5. When to Decorate?
This one is tough. Who wants to get out all the boxes and stuff from storage? I often think it would be easier to just buy new every year haha! Don’t I wish! I like to put my holiday decorations up early because it’s a lot for me and I want to enjoy it for a while. I also find when I do it earlier, I don’t feel as rushed with all the other holiday stuff going on. I do it in steps. First Dave helps me get down all the containers and trees. I go through quickly to see what I’ll use for the year and we put others back. Over the next few days I put up a little at a time, starting with the trees. I put up a few 😉 As I finish each box I put it back in the garage out of the way. If you don’t want to do it a little at a time, choose a day and get it done! Less is more. I love to see decor everywhere but try not to be cluttered or I get overwhelmed. Think ahead to make sure you have rubbermaids or whatever you’ll need to pack up easily at the end of the season. One thing that I finally ordered last year that has made packing up so much easier is Ornament Organizers. Remember, enjoy the process! Turn on the holiday music and make yourself a cup of cocoa!
6. Don’t Wait to Wrap!
Every year without fail this is the one thing that causes me to be cranky and stressed if I wait too long. As you cross gifts off your list, try to wrap a few at a time. I go get all my wrapping paper at Hobby Lobby at the end of October so I have everything I need. If you don’t have a wrapping paper organizer, I highly suggest it. Here’s the one I have: Wrapping Paper Organizer. It makes my life so so so much easier! Anywhere you shop, ask if they do free gift wrap to check something else off your list! If you’re looking for a creative touch, add a little something to the top of the present to make it personal. If you really hate to wrap, bags and tissue are another great option.
7. Your Home is Your Sanctuary
Allow some time this season to just relax at home. Light a candle, have a fire in the fireplace, watch a family holiday movie together. You’d be surprised what this does for your enjoyment of the season. My favorite holiday candles are from Bath and Body Works. They’re already putting some of them out! Watch their app for sales. I just got a few with the buy 2, get 2 free!
8. Hosting this Season?
Don’t stress! I love to entertain but put a lot of pressure on myself to make everything perfect. There is no such thing. Once again, give yourself some grace. Your friends and family just want to get together and have some fun. Many won’t remember what you served but rather the experiences once they were there. Go potluck style to make it simple! Need door prizes, or party gifts? Shop small or custom–people love personalized gifts. Keep things simple. Offer 3 types of beverage. Do what you can in advance rather than wait until the day of the event.
9. Not Sure What to Get Your Family Members?
Do a gift card steal! Everyone purchases a gift card of whatever amount you decide upon. All gift cards get laid out on table. Draw numbers. Number 1 goes first and picks card. #2 can steal or get new card, etc. Each person can steal from anyone before them unless it’s stolen twice and it’s theirs! Fun and easy!
10. Take a Walk
You’d be surprised how much better you feel after stepping outside for a quick walk. Clear your head, enjoy the nature around you, and get some endorphins. Slow down and enjoy the day.
Hope you found my ideas helpful! I’d love some feedback if you think I need to add something else! Have a great stress-free holiday season!