How to Make It through the Holidays Stress-Free

As you know, we are entering the holiday season. I imagine things at your house are similar to mine during this time of year. Not only does the calendar get booked up with must-do festivities, but our time is cut even more short by all the additional holiday shopping, baking and other prep work that has to be done before the holiday actually arrives. Add all that to the additional financial strain the holidays put on us and it equals a lot of stress!

The stress that most adults deal with at the holidays is unreal, but the good news is that you have the power to make it through this time of year with little to no stress. All you need to do is follow the tips below.

1. Start Shopping Now.
Whether we are talking about shopping for holiday gifts, holiday cards, decorations for a holiday party you’re hosting or the groceries needed for a holiday dinner – you can get this shopping out of the way now (most of it anyways). Aside from the cold groceries needed for holiday meals, everything else can be purchased early. If you can start your shopping now, when the stores aren’t packed, then do it. Even if you have to do a little every pay check, that will help because by the time the holidays arrive the stores will be packed and if you only have a few items left on the list, then you won’t have to fight the crowds for long. Plus, once the shopping is done, that’s over half the stress surrounding the holidays…so get it out of the way!

2. Prioritize and Say “No.” This is probably the hardest thing for me to do. I hate to say “no” when I’m asked to help or attend an event that is special to someone I know. However, as the kids are getting older, I’ve found that I’m being pulled into so many different directions that it’s insane…and leaves me stressed out when I look at the calendar for the upcoming week and see every day filled. So, I have started to say “no” more and while I still hate it, it really has made my life less stressful. All you have to do is prioritize the events/activities/commitments in your life and the ones that aren’t required simply say “no” to. You will find yourself experiencing a less stressful holiday season if you do.

3. Bake Ahead. Finally, November and December are filled with holiday parties and generally, whether hosting the event or not, people are asked to bring something with them to contribute to the meal/dinner/snacks being served. Don’t wait until the last minute (day of) to start cooking! Do what you can a night or two beforehand that way you will be free most of the day on the day of the event. For example, pies and most desserts can usually always be baked early and still taste wonderful when served. This is also true for rolls and some side dishes.

Another thing you can do is set your table ahead of time if you’re expecting a large dinner party. My mother always set her table the night before the event so that on the day of she wasn’t worried about getting all the china and silverware out and could focus on other pressing matters. I always thought she was nuts for doing that, but now that I’ve begun to host some dinner parties of my own, I can see how beneficial it is to do!

While I love the holidays and all the excitement that they bring, I have found myself stressed out more than usual when they arrive. However, since I’ve begun to implement the tips above, I’ve noticed a huge reduction of stress and am able to enjoy the festivities more. Hopefully you will have the same results!

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