The holiday season can be a stressful and chaotic time for any family. There are so many additional obligations and tasks to complete with no extra hours added to the day.
If we allow ourselves to be caught without a plan from October to January, we will face a new year deeper in debt, exhausted and wondering where the last quarter of the year went.
But, there is hope! Creating a plan for your family to navigate the holiday season will free you to enjoy the festivities and activities available this time of the year.
Here are a few tips to decrease holiday stress while helping your family be organized and prepared.
- Start early. This is so important! Do you ever see an item in March and think “oh, that would be a great gift for so and so”? That is when you should buy it! Set aside an area in your home (I use a shelf in my laundry room) to stash such gifts away until the holiday. This saves so much time and last minute impulse buying as the holidays approach! Also, you can take advantage of back to school and out of season sales to purchase gifts for people, thus stretching your budget further. Carry your Christmas list with you at all times from October 1st on. That way when you find items on sale while you are running errands, you can check your list to see if it would make a good gift for anyone left on your gift list.
- Make Holiday To-Do lists. These lists can include gift lists, holiday card lists, a budget, etc. Having all the information you need in one place is crucial to staying organized, especially during a hectic time. When you do go out shopping make a list of people you are buying for, their likes/dislikes, their sizes (if applicable) and even their favorite color. Anything that will keep you from getting stuck not having any idea what to buy for someone. Isn’t that how we all end up with slipper socks under the tree?
- Simplify. Wherever you can, choose the easy route! Wrap as you buy, ship as you buy. Shopping on the internet or via catalog can streamline the process by saving you time and energy that can be spent on other things. Resist the temptation to throw elaborate parties. Instead, host a cookie or ornament swap. Ask yourself: is this going to make my life easier or add another task/item to my list?
At the holidays there are too many things that will automatically get added to your list- parties, family gatherings and other events- you don’t want to add anything extra to your stress level on purpose.
The holidays should be a time of creating memories and enjoying family traditions. Focus on what is important- faith, family, friends and tradition by staying organized, having a plan and starting your shopping early!