The holidays are a special time of year when we get to spend time with loved ones and share with those who are special to us. I know the idea of having a stress-free holiday this is year is a bit difficult to imagine. However, there are ways that we can reduce stress while getting things together for the holidays.
Funny enough, I have friends who live for Black Friday to start getting ready for Christmas and gift-giving. Something about this time of year seems to change and lift people’s spirits. There is a sense of compassion and excitement. It’s truly unique. One of my neighbors had their lights up on the Saturday after Thanksgiving…nothing like the holiday spirit.
Now, the other side of the holiday season is the stress of making sure everything is in order and perfect. I will be the first to admit that the holidays used to stress me out. The first problem was the fact that I’m a world-class procrastinator…Libra issues. Honestly, I think my procrastination (during the holidays only) was a result of feeling overwhelmed by all that comes with what has to be done to prepare, the cooking, the gifts for my daughters…you see where I’m headed here. I finally had to talk with myself and I want to share my five easy tips for a stress-free Christmas.
1. Plan Ahead – Figure out your theme for the year and determine what decorations, gifts, food, or whatever you need to make your Christmas successful. I’ve determined that making a list is a must. I have to write out my plans and from there I build my shopping list and separate them by store. I also think about what items I own that I can use for the season and the location.
For example, I started planning my Christmas tree preparation two weeks ago. I figured out what colors I wanted to use for this year and I noted where my decorations were in that particular color were located. I also noted that I needed to buy a new tree because my previous pre-lit tree developed a short in the lights. By the time I figured it all out, I created a shopping list and when I went to Walmart this weekend, I wasn’t running around the store trying to figure out what I needed. If you need to stop by the store, make a list of what you are missing.
2. Set The Mood – Light candles with holiday scents. Throw on your favorite pair of Christmas pajamas. Then turn on your favorite Christmas music. Now if the Christmas music doesn’t get you in the spirit, we just need to call you Scrooge. LOL! I’m just kidding.
I love to light candles all around my home. I have one burning right now. For my music, I love old-school Christmas tunes, a cross between Sinatra and Donnie Hathaway. I’ll explain that one later. We won’t even discuss my love of Ertha Kitt’s “Santa Baby”. I blame it on my mother and grandparents. I used to have a tape that I would listen to every year while decorating the tree. My daughters knew exactly what I was doing when that tape came on. LOL!
Don’t mind me…just doing a little dancing while decorating the tree. LOL!
When it comes to my Christmas music, I’m either on my phone listening or my tv. I have subscriptions to Pandora and Amazon music. Don’t judge me! Music is therapeutic for me.
3. Break up Task – A major part of why I used to wait until the last minute was feeling overwhelmed. I figured out that breaking up my to-do list over a series of days or weeks helped cure my feeling of being overwhelmed and kept my focus. Now, I break everything (including weight loss) up, so nothing ever feels like a never-ending task.
4. Enlist A Helper– If you are not a control freak (like me), ask your kids to help or make decorating a girl’s night. I know I can always bribe my friends with a few glasses of grapes. Granted, I normally end up redecorating the tree when they are done. My daughters gave up on decorating the tree years ago after catching me up in the middle of the night tinkering with the tree.
This leads me to number five…
5. Relax – It’s just a tree, a pie, a cake, or whatever. I’m not complaining about the tree I just bought resembling a Charlie Brown tree. I’m going to work on it and enjoy my holiday. LOL! Take time to remember the reason for the holidays and focus on spending time with friends and loved ones. I’m sure they are not counting how many candy canes you have on one side of the tree versus the other. Now if you can’t cook, the pie or cake might be a problem. You might want to buy a few from Walmart or somewhere.
The key is to know that being alive and making it through the years is a blessing, so prepping for the holidays should not be a source of stress.
How do you keep your holidays stress-free?