Christmas holidays are really just around the corner, even though the calendar reads “October”! And unless you’re a bit unique, I’ll bet that you remember the chaos that characterized last year, and the promises you made to yourself that it would never happen again!
So even though most of the year has rolled around and you still haven’t started getting ready for Christmas, don’t despair! There are still some activities you can do NOW to help reduce the stress later this season… I’ve pulled some easy-peasy steps to get you started from my e-book: Holiday Planning Guide for the Planning Challenged. You and your family might even have some fun in the process!
1. Sit down with everybody and seriously discuss everyone’s Christmas expectations. Instead of exchanging gifts, consider a family trip together. Or, if you have a large family, consider drawing names. At whose home will you celebrate it, and when? What about married children and their families? Because it’s so hard to get our own growing family together in a planning convo, I started a thread with everyone’s email and we’re continuing the conversation that way.
2. Folks at work, neighbors, Sunday School and classroom teachers, coaches, Scout leaders, Youth leaders – to whom do you want to show appreciation this year? Sit down with a paper and pen and write down everybody’s names, THIS WEEK! From this list, decide what kind of gifts will be both special and within your budget! If it gets too large, consider homemade cards or gifts; my “go-to” treat is a batch of Sugared Peanuts in a mason jar with a pretty fabric lid… This tip alone will go far in helping you curb your holiday spending!
3. Set great family photos aside all year long. Pull some from you summer family vacation from Facebook, or come up with a reason to bring all the family together pronto! This will give you options for a terrific family Christmas card, or at least an updated family photo (and, in a nice frame, this alone would make a great present for the grandparents!). Once you take and/or choose them, consider ordering your family photo Christmas cards…THIS month! (Current usually has some great deals this time of year!)
4. Pull together your Thanksgiving and Christmas menus, and consider including meal plans for dates when you know you’ll have family and/or visitors. Then start shopping for staples over the next few weeks. And stash the items under the bed or in a rarely-used closet so they don’t “accidentally” get used up in the meantime…
5. Make double of the meals you’ll be fixing over the next few weeks, and freeze the duplicate. If you do this at least three times a week, you’ll have 12 frozen meals by Thanksgiving: think what a treat that will be during those crazy countdown days in December!
These steps alone are enough to take the edge off your Christmas stress, since, after all, added stress is surely NOT conducive to any celebration, right? So get started TODAY! Close the computer, pour yourself another glass of water (and drink it!), get ready to start some new habits and enjoy the best Christmas ever!
For more ideas on how to have a stress-free (or at least less stressful!) holiday, enjoy our own e-book, “Holiday Planning Guide for The Planning Challenged,” or Kimberlee Stokes’ (aka The Peaceful Mom) book “Stress-Free Holidays”; click here to view more details. Or you can read our review of her book here.