Can you believe it? The holidays are right around the corner. This means the hustle and bustle of getting everything done and all the presents bought so that you don’t experience after holiday delivery dates and you keep stress levels controlled. Holidays weren’t created to induce stress in our lives, but face it, that’s what happens year after year!
Can you feel a heightened stress level in your household over the holidays? This is how I have learned to reduce holiday induced stress for our family:
- Plan ahead, be on top of all family holiday plans, get togethers, gift exchanges and holiday parties.
- Make a list of all the people who you plan to buy gifts, that means everyone: your child’s teachers, coaches, friends, co-workers, etc.
- Start shopping sales early! I like to keep a low cost “gift arsenal” so that I always have a gift accessible when needed.
- My sons always ask what I’d like for Christmas. I love surprises but I have learned to just tell them exactly what I’d be happy to receive. It stresses them out to have to choose a gift for me, even if I give them a list, so for this year, I am choosing a quaint gold necklace and both boys will go together to purchase this gift for me. In the past I have tried giving them low-cost options such as potholders, kitchen hand towels and it really irritates them. Gift giving is important to them, so each year, they want to exactly know what I would like so they have time to find the perfect one at the best price.
- Keep a list as you purchase gifts so that you cover everyone without overspending. For example, I like to give equal valued gifts for my sons. When they were little, it was about keeping the present totals equal so one wasn’t still unwrapping while the other sat and watched. Now that they are older, I like to keep their total gifts around the same dollar amount. Instead of going for a train set or match box cars, now they both love items such a gold necklace, a gold bracelet, cologne, a phone case, air pods, etc.
- Do you have any yearly gifts that you give on an ongoing basis? For example, each year I buy my stepmother a Christmas wreath. I make sure to have it delivered around Thanksgiving so she can have lots of time to enjoy it. She’d forgive me if I forgot, but I know she looks forward to receiving a fresh wreath every November so I have to make sure that gets crossed off my list.
- Ask your family which holiday foods they would each like and get your grocery list ready. I like to get to the grocery before it becomes a mad-house for last minute grocery shoppers. My boys are picky, but they love holiday sweets. In order to not overfill the house with sweets, I like to spread them out throughout the month to make sure that everyone was able to enjoy their favorite holiday foods.
- Go through your holiday decorations before you start setting everything up. No one likes looking at a half-decorated Christmas tree while you wait for a time to get back to the store to pick up ornaments, garland, etc. Check your light strands, can they be fixed or is it time for a new set of lights?
- Start wrapping gifts early and be sure that you have enough tape, wrapping paper, gift giving boxes / bags and batteries on hand if needed.
- Take time to be prepared, it will definitely save you time in the end!
I have already bought a few small holiday gifts. What time of year do you start planning for the holidays? Do you find yourself wrapping gifts at the last minute? Do you normally find yourself fighting all the hustle and bustle of last minute shopping or are you stress free, knowing that everything has been bought and planned out in ample time?