The holidays always seem to sneak up on us. I think I'm ahead of the game and then, before you know it, the week before Christmas is here and I still have a million things to do. That's why last year I started planning ahead of time and turned the holidays from a chaotic, stressful time to a more peaceful, relaxing visit with family.
Yes, it is possibly to actually enjoy the holidays and NOT stress out.
Here are my 10 Holiday Planning Tips to make the holidays less stressful and more enjoyable!
1. Shop Throughout the Year! Waiting until the last minute to purchase holiday gifts is never a good idea. You may think the sales are better, but 9 times out of 10 they really aren't. Many stores even increase prices during this time! If you see a good sale during the year, purchase and put away for a holiday present! Look at the end of the seasons for the biggest sales, especially end of summer sales!
2. Realize Your Limitations. I know you want to do so much during the holidays, but don't spread yourself thin. Only commit to a few things. This way you won't stress about everything and can enjoy the moment.
3. Make Your List, Check It Twice! I am a big list person. Never hesitate to make a list (shopping for holiday dinners, guest lists, who to sending festive Christmas cards to, etc.). It's a great way to keep up with all the things you need to do. Just check off as you go. This way someone doesn't get left out and no one gets offended/hurt, too.
4. You Can Say NO! Don't be afraid to say no. Like I said, I know you may want to host events, cook food, and help others during the holidays, but don't feel guilty if you can't do everything. It's okay and people will understand.
6. Plan Travel Ahead of Time. If traveling, make arrangements early instead of late. Prices go up for hotels and air travel, so early is better. Plus, you won't have the worry of spaces filling up.
4. Consider Having Your Get-Together At Restaurant! One part of my family always gets together one weekend before Christmas to see each other, eat and exchange gifts. We've always had get-togethers at each other's homes, but decided to go to a restaurant last year 2 weeks before Christmas. It ended up being great because there was no wait since we went around 4pm and we didn't have to worry about cleanup. They put us in a room by ourselves and we stayed for several hours! It wasn't something we had to rent either, just a regular restaurant. It was completely stress-free and we found a location that was central to all of us.
3. Have Events At Home? Host It Yourself! Many of you may be shaking your heads at me for suggesting this, but I think this is the way to go. Instead of traveling an hour or more (we travel 6 hours to visit my parents!!), it's much easier to just host at home. If you have children and/or a baby, you don't have to worry about packing up the entire house or having a crib. You don't have to stress out with the long drive, leave that to everyone else. Everyone will sleep much easier in their own beds, cribs and rooms.
2. Make it a Pot-Luck Dinner! Don't stress with all of the arrangements. It's only fair that the guests, especially family members, pitch in. You may make a few sides, a dessert and a turkey, but let the others bring the wine, drinks, other sides, etc.
1. Take Some Time For Yourself. Whenever you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, slow down and take some time for yourself. Go get a pedicure, read a book or simply take a nice hot bath. Enjoy some "ME" time and remember not to sweat the small stuff. It's easy to let things start stressing you out, so just remind yourself that everything is okay and, regardless of what happens, the holidays will soon be over!
What do you do to when planning for the holidays? I don't think we could get through the holidays without planning and forethought. With kids and travel, planning is completely necessary.When looking for your unique holiday cards to send out to friends and family, don't forget to go to Storkie! They have an amazing selection of cards that you'll absolutely love!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.