How to Stress Less this Holiday Season

It’s been awhile. Sometimes things happen in life that require you to take a step back and/or focus on other things for a little while. Recharge. Reevaluate. Prepare for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season!
Christmas is just around the corner, as you know I’m sure. It’s that time of year where we are planning family gatherings, attending work holiday parties, buying gifts, giving gifts, making new family traditions and doing old ones. I’ll be the first to admit, it all stresses me out! Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my family and being all nostalgic carrying out our family traditions. But trying to find that “perfect” gift for someone, looking at our calendar in November and seeing that December is already filled up with parties and programs can send me into a panic! I’ve found that planning ahead can help lessen the stress. I thought I’d share a few helpful tips for how to make your holidays a little less stressful with some preplanning.If you have kids under the age of 15, I’m sure you have a visitor that comes around Christmas time and stays awhile. Or you’ve at least heard of the guy or girl….Elf on the Shelf anyone? Our little elf usually hangs around for the month of December. I like to preplan my activities for him ahead of time that way I’m not trying to come up with some exciting new thing for him at 10:00pm….or wake up with the “elf sweats” as I like to call them at 2:00am.  Print off a December calendar (I usually find a free printable from Pinterest!) and fill it in with activities you would like for your elf to being doing each day. If you want to take it a step further, take into account your work schedule and other things you have planned that month. Our elf will do something that is easier to put together on days I work late or we have big plans.  Then he will do the more involved ones (ex: making little elf cookies for the next morning) on the weekends when I have more prep time. It’s also helpful to make a list of anything that you need to fulfill these plans ahead of time like making a batman cape and mask or buying candy canes. That way everything is on hand ahead of time! 

Lists, lists, and more lists….List of who to buy for, ideas for gifts, etc. I have Post-it notes everywhere! If you are more organized than I am, keep a binder or a spreadsheet of who you’re buying for, ideas for them, and check their name off with satisfaction when you have their gift bought! 

Start listening and writing down ideas of gifts in January for next Xmas! (aka: start thinking early that way you’re not stressed out on what to get for them when Christmas speeds around to us again)Schedule dates for special traditions before December that way you make time for the traditions/activities that are most important to you and your family (cookie exchange party, going to see Santa, watching xmas movies all day in pajamas, decorating the xmas tree, making annual xmas ornament, etc.) Sit down with your family and make a Holiday Bucket List if you don’t already have one. Then actually put the most important ones on the calendar! Any others can just be the icing on the sugar cookie! You can download this free Holiday Bucket List Printable here.

Wrap presents as soon as they are purchased. This is something I don’t do currently, but have heard it is helpful. So I may give it a go this year. Better make a list of what they are and who they are for…you know, just in case that stress attacks our short term memory!

Buy Christmas Eve service outfits/family photo outfits in October/early November when all fall clothing is out. Don’t wait until December when the mall is elbow to elbow crazy busy with people shopping for Christmas gifts. 

Sending out holiday cards with a family photo? Take family photos in the summer/early fall, order, and address. Just mark it on the calendar when they need to be sent out. Done and done! Keep some spares in case you forget some people or want to add anyone to the Christmas card list. And help yourself out for next year by making note of who you sent them to and who sends you cards this year for Christmas. If you’re giving a plate of cookies/candies to your friends or daycare, handout early in December before everyone is sick full of sweets! Or try mini loaves of bread or cookie dough to freeze. Another idea, try non-food items such as hand soap, cute notepads, ornaments, holiday paper plates/napkins/cups, and fresh evergreen wreaths! Download a free printable tag like these I found at The Little Umbrella, personalized and cute!