Ways to Plan for Stress Free Holidays
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Terri Wallace
With the holidays lurking just around the corner, now is the time to make plans to ensure a stress free holiday season.
Don’t wait until your Uncle Bernie tries to guilt you into another Egg Nog Drinking Competition, or you mother attempts to coerce you into a 2 a.m. shopping marathon on Black Friday; get a jump on the holidays…before they jump all over you.
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10. Make a List
Now is the time to make you gift giving list, consider your skills, and determine which recipients will benefit from your hobbies and talents and receive a homemade gifts. Not only will the process of engaging in a hobby you love help to soothe rattled nerves, but you can enjoy the prospect of having saved money by crafting unique gifts at home without the need to fight traffic and crowded shopping centers.
9. Internet and Catalog Shopping
If your talents do not translate well into holiday gifts, consider using the internet or catalogs to help with your holiday shopping. Not only can you avoid crowds and traffic, but you can get some amazing deals; often, free shipping offers are also available, so your holiday bucks go further.
8. Reconsider Sleeping Over
When visiting family, consider booking a hotel room rather than bunking at Great-Aunt Myrtle’s house. Whatever cash you may save is not worth the hassle of sharing a bathroom with eleven other mooching relatives … or sleeping on the floor next to your beloved Great-Grandpa Herman who thinks deodorant is for sissies.
7. Book Early
If you have holiday travel plans, you should consider booking reservations early to ensure availability. Hotels and airline tickets often get snatched up in advance. While there are advocates who suggest waiting a bit later in the hopes of getting a better deal, any financial benefit is likely off-set by stress caused by uncertain travel plans. By booking early, you have one less thing to worry about.
6. Keep Your Routine
It is important to maintain some semblance of routine, even with the holiday hustle and bustle. Don’t get distracted by the twinkling lights and festive foods and let your good habits slip by the wayside. By maintaining a similar eating pattern (with just a few splurges) and keeping your regular workout days, come January, you might actually still fit into your jeans while all your friends have broken out their “fat pants.”
5. Keep it Low Key
Instead of the formal sit-down affair that you have hosted for nine years running, consider a potluck meal or a recipe exchange. Instead of coordinating a neighborhood caroling extravaganza complete with mulled cider and matching hand-knit mittens, perhaps you should scale down and invite a few close friends over, light a few candles, and sing carols karaoke-style while drinking hot cider (sans mittens). You can still get the feeling of the season without the unnecessary stress.
4. Limit the Number of Invitations You Accept
You cannot be all things to all people; you shouldn’t even try. So, instead of accepting every invitation you receive, plan on picking just a few each month and politely declining the others. If you have something planned nearly every night of the holiday season, you are inviting holiday burn-out. As with all things this holiday season: everything in moderation.
3. Spend Time with Your “Chosen” Family
We are all born into a family … and then there is the family we choose: the friends, co-workers, and confidants that hear all of the skeletons in our family closet and still hang around. Don’t neglect your chosen family over the holiday season; they are the ones that will help keep you sane when your sister starts reminding you how much better her husband, kids, house, and car are than yours.
2. Plan for Some Down-Time
Book a massage now…or a yoga class, meditation retreat, or even just put in for an extra vacation day or two near the holidays to help give you time to relax. Do not, however, under any circumstances, book that day with errands or cleaning duties. No. That day is for you. Consider it a mental health day. While it may seem extravagant to use a day for no specific purpose, it is still cheaper than psychiatric help in the event your family finally drives you to a mental break.
1. Remember the Reason for the Holidays
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When you start to feel overwhelmed, try to remember what makes the holidays special for you. It isn’t (or at least is shouldn’t be) about seeing who has the biggest pile of gifts to give, or who got up earliest to knock down fellow shoppers at the Black Friday sales. Instead, keep your friends and family close, do the things you enjoy, and try to hunker down until next year.
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