While Christmas is hailed as “the most wonderful time of the year,” for many it is also the most stressful time of the year. There are gifts to buy and wrap, parties to plan, homes and offices to decorate, lights to string, baking to finish and guests to prepare for. In short, there is a to-do list that Santa himself may want to ignore! Entertaining expert Jennifer Carver, from Spaceships and Laser Beams, is here to share four simple stress busting tips for celebrating this Christmas.
Tip #1: Have a plan. That may seem obvious, but many people wait to plug the most important things into their calendars and find themselves over-scheduled, overworked and with no time left to do the things they want to do. Before saying “yes” to others, say “yes” to yourself. Mark off days in December for things like: shopping, holiday decorating, baking, gift wrapping and delivering, prepping cards, visiting with friends, attending holiday parties and seeing the lights. You may want to build in a few “catch up” days as well. With these dates already spoken for, it not only guarantees you time for the things you want to do, but it makes saying “no” to less important things or distractions much easier.
Tip #2: Allow yourself some short cuts. Time is a grand commodity in December, and thinking of ways to stockpile your time will be worth their weight in gold. Download free printables online instead of going to the store to buy Christmas party decor. Buy a stack of paper plates and plastic cutlery that you can use when you need quick meal clean up. That 30 minutes you saved doing dishes may mean cuddle time on the couch with your children watching a Christmas classic. Plan a few easy prep meals with simple ingredients. Even schedule in a few take-out nights, so you can spend the extra minutes playing games or reading Christmas books. Consider hiring some household holiday help to do some of those “winterizing” jobs that need to be done to prepare your home for both the winter and the holidays, freeing you up to do other things on your list that only you can do.
Tip #3: Make a list and check it twice. Take a lesson from Santa, and make lists and check them twice before heading on errands and to the store. Keep coupons and receipts in a small accordion folder, making frugal shopping and easier returns possible. When you leave your home, have post office deliveries, bank drop-offs and store items to return all loaded, allowing you to be as efficient as possible. Keep lists for supplies and groceries needed so you can shop for non-perishables and entertaining supplies all at once.
Tip #4: Make time to exercise and relax. With late night hours spent in holiday prepping, extra snacking, and all of the hustle and bustle that the Christmas season brings, taking time for yourself makes sense. Exercising can help burn off unwanted calories, give a much needed energy boost, and help to curtail stress. Coupled with exercise, taking some time to put your feet up, taking a bubble bath or relaxing with your favorite book or magazine may just help ground you during this extraordinary season.
This year, enjoy celebrating Christmas by busting stress with these four simple tips. Christmas will seem all the merrier!