The holiday period is filled with fun, family…and lots of stress.
While everyone else is posting pictures on social media of their family sipping hot chocolate by the fire dressed in their Christmas pajamas, busy families that have spent all year running from soccer game to band concert to board meeting end the year in a frantic search for the perfect presents. Who has time for yuletide joy when you’re too busy fighting for a parking spot at the local strip mall?
Never fear, we’ve got some tips that will help you not only survive the holidays but soar through them with flying colors.
1. Write Your Cards in Advance
One of the hidden stressors of the holiday season is trying to get your holiday card in the mail in the week following Thanksgiving: too early, and people will think it’s a Halloween card; too late, and people will open them just in time to file them away for next year.
Instead of waiting till the end of the year to get your cards ready, prepare ahead of time by making your recipient list and choosing your picture around mid-October. Take advantage of your local printer’s deals by getting your orders in early – which will save you a lot of money. That way, when the prints arrive, all you have to do is stuff the envelopes and put them in the mail.
2. Prepare Your Budget
The average American spends nearly $1000 on Christmas gifts every year; since the average family also can’t afford a $500 emergency, that’s a lot of money that is most likely going on credit cards. And the only thing that will make a stressful buying season even more stressful is when those credit card statements begin to come in.
Instead of ringing in the new year by reeling from sticker shock, set a realistic budget for your friends and loved ones and do your best to stick to it: clip coupons, buy in bulk to save on shipping, shop out of season – whatever it takes to come in under budget. Your wallet – and your stress levels – will thank you for it.
3. Clean a Little at a Time
With the rush of the holiday season, one thing that’s bound to get swept under the rug (pun intended) is the regular cleaning cycle. With so many activities and end-of-the-year holiday parties (both for parents and kids), that mess that looks so tiny today will most likely be a monster tomorrow.
Make it a habit to spend 15-30 minutes every day by cleaning up the house so that nothing gets too overwhelming. Make a chore chart for the entire family and stick to it. While that’s a good practice to get in year-round, here’s a pro tip especially for the Christmas season: a regular Christmas tree will shed needles like a wet dog, but pre lit Christmas trees should keep your floor nice and tidy.
4. Make Wrapping an Event
Wrapping presents for everyone on your list can be time-consuming and back-breaking work, especially if you try to do it all yourself. Instead of spending all day hunched over in front of a table, set a date on the calendar to bring the whole family in to participate. Throw on some Christmas music, pour some eggnog, and have everyone pitch in to get it done quicker. You can even have a contest to see who can get their presents done the fastest? In case you want the upper hand, here’s a guide on how to wrap a present in under two minutes.
5. Maintain Your Priorities
Whatever you do, do not forget to take care of yourself this holiday season. It can be easy to be so caught up in everyone else’s life that you forget to work out, eat right, or take part in your daily meditation or prayer routine. While that may work for the short run, it’s a recipe for a vicious burnout that will end up costing you in the long run. Use some health shortcuts, like a quick YouTube workout at home when you can’t get to the gym, or a green superfood powder smoothie to balance out the holiday treats. Prioritizing your own health and sanity will make a world of difference in your enjoyment of the holiday season.