The holidays are a short but special time of year, when people come together to eat great food, exchange thoughtful gifts, and spend time with their loved ones.
For many adults, and more children than can be counted, Christmas is irreplaceable and the experience is absolutely priceless.
But despite all of the warmth and love, the holidays can cause a lot of stress, so it’s important to identify a few ways to decompress or avoid stress altogether to fully enjoy this time of year.
From setting aside downtime to only working on the tasks that truly matter—here’s a quick list of tips that will help you avoid stress and focus on the true meaning of the holiday season.
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Table of Contents
Start With a Plan
Take a few minutes to jot down a list of all of the chores that will need to be finished, which includes gift shopping, picking up groceries, or making arrangements to travel.
Thankfully, taking this step means you’ll be able to pick up everything ahead of time and avoid last-minute shopping sprees, late-night trips to the grocer, or hectic holiday weekend crowds.
And creating a short list will make it easier, if you expect to invite people into your home, because you’ll have a plan to make sure things stay calm, cool, and under control.
Make Time for Yourself
Whether you’re focusing on holiday shopping, meticulously preparing to host a busload of guests, or traveling across states—fight the urge to go full steam at every waking moment.
Instead, take a breather. Attend a yoga session, get a relaxing hot towel shave, book a session at a boutique nail salon, or schedule a holiday hair appointment. The possibilities are limitless!
But know that revitalizing is more important than most people think, so relax and recharge, even if your main motivation is to give yourself the bandwidth to help others enjoy the season.
Rushing doesn’t always help productivity. A lot of the time, it simply leads to headaches or nausea. And it’ll raise your stress levels, which will make people around you feel stressed out.
Alternatively, take your time, regardless of the task at hand. Remember to slow down, steer clear of multitasking, and prioritize all of your tasks.
It’s the holidays! And that means it’s okay to ask for help. Take a few moments to delegate some of the responsibilities and let your family bond in the experience of making Christmas a success.
Although it may sound like a surprise, most people would rather pitch-in, as opposed to watching a host scramble to get things ready or seeing a relative sweat beads while packing.
Simply assign a couple of small tasks, as opposed to silently encouraging loved ones to stand around, while you nervously bite into your Christmas nails or pull out strands of holiday hair.
Suggest a Potluck
Offer to share the work involved with preparing a holiday meal by hosting a pot-luck, which will give everyone involved the chance to eat extra side dishes and try a few new, tasty morsels.
Talking about food is also a great icebreaker for distant relatives, who only see each other every so often. And it does a great job of bringing new family members together.
Just plan to have your recipes ready, in case someone wants to share!
The holidays can and will be demanding, which makes it a bad time of year to overspend. Instead, draft a concise budget, then stick to it, or try to stay below that number.
By reducing expenses and minimizing costs, you’ll get a gift that keeps on giving this holiday season and well into next year.
Paying for everything in cash may help you monitor your spending. Whether it’s in the grocery store or a busy shopping center, keep better track of your funds with cold, hard cash.
Create Closet Space
If the party’s at your house, know that guests will bring presents, coats, clothing, wine bottles, wheelchairs, walkers, baby strollers, and diapers—just to name a few common, bulky items.
It’s not a bad idea to make some closet space. And while you’re at it, clear out a shelf in the refrigerator for food and beverages that are best served cold.
Be ready to sacrifice some oven or stovetop space too, especially if some of your guests plan to bring dishes, sides, sauces, or gravy that will need to be cooked or reheated.
Give Personalized Gifts
To help save a little bit of time and money, try giving gifts that will inspire an emotional connection, as opposed to gifting a bunch of items that can be bought at any major mall.
Holiday cookies are a great idea, because they can be a warm, sweet treat. And old family photos, which can be framed and gift wrapped, will also make for a great gift.
This’ll help reduce the amount of time you’ll spend throwing elbows, drowning in a sea of shoppers, or waiting in ridiculously long lines.
Care for Pets
Allergic reactions to dogs or cats are quite common. And even the mildest reaction can take away from the holiday spirit. This year, give pets some space by placing them in an extra room.
And before you let your pet sprawl out on a bed or couch for hours this holiday, make him or her earn it. Give them a workout with a quick trip to the park or let them run outside for a bit.
A tired dog or cat will be a little more likely to enjoy some time alone. If that doesn’t work, plan to have some extra treats on hand to keep pets calm, while they’re away from the festivities.
Enjoy the Holiday
Although it may seem obvious, this special time of year should be about spending quality time with important people and sharing unforgettable moments, so enjoy it!
And if anything gets in the way of that enjoyment—feel free to cut it out. Take the time to soak in every precious minute, because this season only comes around once a year.