The holidays can be stressful, but there are things that you can do to cut down on the stress and make the holidays more enjoyable.

  1. Shop early. There’s no reason for you to be out the week before Christmas trying to get your shopping done or stressing about whether things will get delivered on time. As ideas for your friends and family pop into your head throughout the year, write them down. Then as Thanksgiving approaches go online and quickly order what you want.  Ordering early will make your life so much easier, as will shopping online. Then all you have to do is go out and get the local items you want or the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals that you’ve had your eye on.

  1. Stick with your budget.  Many people overspend when shopping and this adds to their debt. Make a budget and stick with it. 

  1. Wrap in sections. Rather than wait until you have 100 boxes to wrap, wrap as it’s delivered. Every few days as things arrive, spend a few minutes wrapping. For the gifts going under the tree, it’s also nice to have those items wrapped and under there in advance. It also reduces the success rate of snoopers! 

  1. Get your decorations up early. You know that person who every year is complaining, “I still don’t have my tree up!”  Whether you do a lot of decorations or a minuscule amount, don’t wait until the week before Christmas. Then it feels like you are doing all this work just to take it down again the next week. Make a plan for a day you are going to do it and get it done. 

  1. Plan out your food and don’t be afraid to cheat a little. Let’s be honest there is nothing wrong with a frozen pie or gravy from a jar. We like home cooking as much as anyone, but sometimes you just need a little help from Marie Callender. It is also a good idea to have some items around in case of an unannounced company. Some crackers and a block of good cheese will never go to waste! Buy your groceries the week before Christmas or you will find yourself in a crowded grocery store upset when your main ingredient is sold out!

  1. Know when to say no….and yes. Remember the holidays are supposed to be fun for everyone, not just the kids. If your girlfriends invite you out for drinks, just go rather than using the age-old excuse, “I can’t, I have too much to do!” The same goes for knowing when to not go. You don’t have to go to every get-together. It’s ok to say, “Thank you for the invitation, but we already have plans.” Running from gathering to gathering can be very stressful. Do what’s best for you and your family, you can’t always make everyone happy.

  1. Plan some downtime. You deserve an evening or two relaxing by the fire with a glass of wine. Sit down and when the kids ask you to take them somewhere try, “No” or ‘Go ask your Dad.”

  1. Clean out the Christmas décor as you put it up. We all have that box of ornaments that we never put on the tree anymore. Yet every year there they are. Throw away or donate stuff you no longer use away.

  1. Send your Christmas cards early. We’ve all gotten that Christmas card a few days after Christmas, right after you throw the cards away. What a waste! If you are going to send Christmas cards get them in the mail shortly after Thanksgiving. If sending Christmas cards stresses you out or you feel you don’t have time for them, then just don’t do them. It’s ok! In the case of Christmas the old saying “Better late than never” doesn’t really apply.

  2. Delegate. Delegate. Delegate. Sometimes it’s just easier to do it yourself, but for everything else make the rest of the family help. If you need help, get it from them or from a professional.  Many bakeries and groceries offer delivery or at least curbside pick-up. Need help with wrapping? Hire a college student to come give you a hand.  House is a mess and you’re hosting Christmas? Call Premiere Cleaning!

Photo by Nicole Michalou from Pexels