As the holidays approach, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Between meals and family and gifts and events, when New Year’s Eve rolls around you are more excited at the idea of going to bed early than ringing in the new year. Here are some tips to keep you sane and insure an enjoyable holiday season:
1. Shop Early and Shop Online - I am 110% a fan of supporting local artists, makers and businesses, but online shopping has been life changing for us these past few years. We live in a small town and have limited shopping options. If I want to shop somewhere with some variety, I have a minimum 30 minute drive. Shopping online (hello Amazon) and having things shipped directly to my door reduces my stress so much! I don't have to drive in holiday traffic, deal with Christmas crowds or hunt for hours and hours for that one perfect gift. I am able to avoid the visual clutter that a store or mall presents and ultimately make my shopping experience actually enjoyable. Plus you can still support small businesses and local makers via Etsy, or on their own websites if they have one.
I also love starting my shopping in November. There's nothing worse than the last minute gift buying panic. If you have a gift idea, keep an eye out on Black Friday for a deal and pick it up then to save a bit of money. It also gives you the opportunity to space out your spending instead of dropping hundreds in one weekend. Which brings me to the next tip.
2. Shop Intentionally - Make a list, and stick to it! Take the time to figure out a gift for everyone on your list before you do any shopping. When it comes time to actually buy those gifts you can essentially "shop like a man". You can get in and out quickly because you know exactly what you are there for! Without a list your shop will be full of stress and panic trying to find something while you're in the store. As mentioned earlier, you are also able to keep an eye out for deals and reduce the risk of overspending.
3. Set Reasonable Expectations - We've all seen the various holiday 'bucket lists' on Pinterest. 100 things to do on Christmas Break. Let's be real, ain't nobody got time for that. Schedules are so crazy and time comes at a premium. Set realistic expectations of what you can actually fit in your free time. Try and pick 5 things you really want to do, whether those be events or activities, and expect to only do 3 of them. This year I want to enjoy our Christmas Eve Box, Go To the Movies, See the Christmas Lights, Have our Harry Potter Marathon and Bake Christmas Treats. Anything above and beyond those things are a bonus! Know that you aren't going to be able to attend every party or do all the things and that is completely okay! The FOMO is not worth over scheduling and stressing yourself!
4. Plan you first - With the holidays also come parties and family dinners and concerts and markets but the most important plans are always your own. My husband and I live about an hour away from family, so we've decided Christmas morning is our time to spend together. That time is blocked off on the calendar and everyone else can schedule around that. Don't be afraid to be a little selfish with your time and your plans, otherwise people will schedule your time for you. Plan your own family first, and slot in everyone after that. There's nothing worse than realizing there is no time during the season to actually spend with your people, whether that be friends, family or even your cats.
5. Schedule Self Care - The holiday season is so stressful! The best way to combat stress is to plan ahead for some much needed self care. There are plenty of things that you can do - read a book, sit down with a hot cup of tea, take a nice long bubble bath, or even just relaxing with a glass of wine. Whatever helps you to rest and recharge. Don't feel pressured to be go go going all the time, take a few minutes during the week, or even daily, to do something just for you. Schedule in that time to rest and recharge if you have to. You can't pour from an empty cup, so in order to enjoy the season and serve others, we need to care for ourselves first.
6. Consciously Be Grateful - It's far too easy to get caught up in the consumerism of the holidays. People bragging on social media about all their adventures, extravagant gifts and fun. Regardless of your income, your plans, family situation or place in life, we can always be grateful for something. Personally, I am thankful for a warm home, a supportive husband and the saving grace of Jesus. Regardless of any gifts under the tree, big meals, or exciting Christmas adventures, it's important to stop and recognize the daily gifts we get to enjoy all year long. Maybe you are just grateful for a wagging tail or little purring body greeting you when you get home. There is always something.
7. Your Last Resort - Worst comes to worst, here’s a few great holiday cocktail recipes to get you through the crazy season. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
What are your go to holiday tips to keep the holidays stress free?