Thanksgiving came earlier this year, which means a longer holiday season. For many of us that is great, more time to plan! The downside to this is more time to stress, and hustle and bustle to get all our holiday tasks done. We came up with a few tips to help negotiate this “most wonderful time of the year” and make the holidays more enjoyable!
Start by simplifying things where you can. For example: organize a secret Santa with the adults in your family instead of buying of bunch of gifts that put you over budget. Or decide on a determined amount of money for each adult to donate to an agreed charity. You can also try going green with your gifts. Instead of a fancy dinner party have a brunch. Brunch can be easier, more affordable to prepare, and is a nice change from the sometimes stuffy holiday dinner. If dinner is a must, host a potluck to take the pressure off preparing the whole meal. For decorations use accents from your own yard, like pinecones or evergreen branches to make your home sparkle. These can be arranged naturally or you can paint and glitter them for extra pizzazz! Even look to your grocery store for inspiration like Clementine’s, apples, or cranberries.
Part of the reason holiday time can feel so stressful is because we are scrambling to get so much done at once. Between stringing up lights, finding the perfect gifts for friends, family, and kids, attending office parties, social parties, family gatherings, finding outfits for each function, decorating the house, hosting out-of-towners, cooking, and baking, we barely have enough of our holly-jolly left for the season. Planning ahead will help to ease the holiday stresses. Start the season off with a detailed list including gifts, food and, holiday tasks. Every time you are out shopping try to get a few items on the list such as wrapping paper or a poinsettia for as a hostess gift. Having a list will keep you on track, organized, and help to keep your budget down. Try to have all items on your list done three days before Christmas or your big event. This will give you a few days to get organized beforehand without running around tying up last minute loose ends.
Start Something New
Between the media, the mall, and our kid’s excitement, it is easy for us to get caught up in the holiday hoopla. Find new ways to get together with friends like hosting a cookie or recipe swap. Get the family involved in charity work for a day. Find a sledding hill and bring thermos of homemade hot chocolate or cider. Take a long walk to collect pinecones and branches to take home and paint or glitter… Most importantly, in order to really appreciate the holiday season, take moment to turn down the jingle bells and look at what the season means to you and your family. Remind yourself of this when you find things getting chaotic. Try to let go of expectations for how a dinner or event should go allow room for spontaneity, who knows? Maybe a new tradition will start!