All too often especially during the holidays, life can get really overwhelming. Sometimes a loved one has a medical condition that is worsening, sometimes your November and December schedule is so packed with parties and engagements you barely know if you are coming or going. Sometimes you have to triple and quadruple check to make sure you aren’t forgetting anyone on your Christmas list. For example, I thought I was completely done shopping when I remembered I forgot my son’s piano teacher. I definitely don’t think teachers should be forgotten, even piano teachers. These days the stresses of the holidays can be so bad, we forget to enjoy ourselves.
Even though this isn’t a new realization, last week I got concerned with my Christmas loving husband and how overboard he goes with Christmas and spending in general and I wanted to make a change. It might be too late for this year, but I’m hoping I can work some magic with my husband to make a change for next year. I want to simplify Christmas and make it less complicated and more enjoyable. It never fails when this time of year comes around, I feel way more stress than enjoyment….and that’s gotta change. Of course, other things that have made the holidays stressful is my husband’s worsening spinal condition and the surgery he’ll have next year, but that’s a blog post for another time.
What I wanted to share with you are three things you can do to make the holidays less stressful.
Shop Early and Set A Limit
A friend of mine once said she had all of her Christmas shopping done in July. I laughed thinking, well how could that possibly be? But if she indeed did have it all done then, how awesome for her! Now I’m not saying you need to do the same, but I do feel like once the shopping is wrapped up, “literally” you tend to enjoy the season more.
Decide on Easy Gifts
One year all my sister-in-law could afford was to give me a tray of enchiladas we could freeze and heat up later. I tell you, she’s made it a tradition since then, and I absolutely adore her enchiladas, nor would I care if that’s all I got from her. Whether your specialty is something cooked, something baked, or something handmade, make it easy. For example, use mason jars and portion out an awesome cookie recipe in each jar, decorate the jars and you have a really creative and cheap gift for co-workers, teachers, and neighbors and you’ve taken care of a lot of people at once!
We are early decorators around here. So when everyone is scrambling up ladders on icy rooftops putting lights up, we are nestled into our couch with our Christmas throw blankets sipping on hot chocolate watching Christmas movies. While you might not be “feeling” Christmas when you decorate early, you’ll soon get into the Christmas spirit when everything is put up.
This year I’ve been invited to five holiday parties, hosted one if you count Thanksgiving and will be hosting our annual family Christmas party as well. That’s a lot of engagements and it’s okay to skip a few. This time of year it also seems like there are a lot of kid birthday parties and to be honest I really can’t do them all. I know so many kids because of school, neighbors, and my mom’s group, that I often get invited to two on the same day! That’s a lot of kid birthday parties and to be honest, it’s not just at the holidays this happens, it’s all year-long! I suppose I know too many people…or maybe it’s that my kids know too many people. 😉 Now I’m not advocating skipping out on kids’ birthday parties as a rule of thumb, but if your child isn’t particularly close to a classmate, and you spent the weekend before and the weekend after at a birthday party, you can skip that one. I do make it a point to attend all the kids’ birthday parties that have attended my children’s birthday parties. I think that’s only fair, unless of course, they happen to be on the same day. For example, my son Braidy’s family party was on the same day as his pal Evan’s. It just wasn’t doable to do both. I know I’ve gone off on a tangent, but as you can see I can be really busy this time of year hosting Thanksgiving, my son’s birthday in between and then our yearly Christmas party along with all the other work and friend or neighborhood engagements. It adds up not only in the time you spend at these engagements, but also on your wallet.
So my advice is to do less, say no when necessary, set a spending budget and definitely don’t overthink Christmas gifts especially with those acquaintances.
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