Keep the Stress of the Season at Bay
Even if you are a big fan of Christmas, it is very hard not to get stressed out at some point. Christmas often sneaks up on us, and it can start to feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to get everything on our holiday checklist done in time.
With so many things to balance, from figuring out what to buy for everyone on your list, to worrying about how to budget correctly, to planning for the perfect Christmas dinner (or at the very least, one that isn’t a disaster), you can quickly feel overwhelmed and worn out.
While we unfortunately don’t have a magical solution that will make all of those tasks disappear before your eyes and a tall glass of eggnog (with a little something extra in it) appear in your hand, we do have some tips for how to make for a less stressful holiday season.
With these tips in mind you’ll be able to plow through your checklist and even savor some of the joys of the season while you’re at it.
Manage Your Schedule
It always seems like everyone I know insists they see me in December. Deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I have to stop myself from accepting every invitation and instead remind them that I will still be around in January!
I still see very close friends and family in December, but I tell other close acquaintances that, as January can go very flat, it will actually be nicer to catch up with them then. This also helps beat the post-Christmas blues by giving us something to look forward to.
Once they get over the initial surprise they tend to agree this is actually a good idea!
Remember that it’s also perfectly acceptable to say no to some things, especially if you would be just agreeing out of politeness. Get your calendar out and circle the very best dates and arrangements for you and your family first, then only fit in extras that you are going to genuinely look forward to.
Stay Within Your Budget
Even the more financially blessed will agree that Christmas can be the most expensive time of the year. As well as the money aspect, knowing exactly what to buy for everyone when you have a limited budget can be very tricky.
You may be wishing you had put a bit aside each month (and you might even be planning to do this next year), but you know that even with your limited funds you can’t omit people from your list entirely.
The best option is to be honest with people about your budget and ask them for a few hints on what they would like. Tell them how much you have roughly allocated, then choose at least one of the suggestions they have given you.
That way, you can be confident you are buying something they are going to like, but there will still be the element of surprise when they unwrap their gift. If you are good with crafts or home projects you could always make or decorate something that is low in cost but has a personal touch.
For example, you could choose a lovely photo and decorate a frame to present it in.
Expertly Time Your Christmas Dinner
You may feel you have drawn the short straw with having to prepare Christmas dinner. I know from experience the key to preparing a special meal is timing, and I have done two mock turkey dinners now as this is the meal I am serving my family on the big day!
I would recommend having a trial run if you can, and writing down the timings that worked out as it is very easy to get side-tracked and distracted if you are playing host!
Don’t Lose Sight of the True Meaning
With Christmas unfortunately becoming more and more commercialized, it is easy to overlook the true meaning of the season. However you’ll find your stress immediately dissolves if you remind yourself of the joys of the holidays.
People interpret the “true meaning” of Christmas very differently, so take some time to reflect on what it means to you and your family. As we get older, we tend to appreciate that it is about so much more than the gifts under the tree.
Although we do get a nice warm glow when others enjoy the presents we have chosen for them, the deeper meaning is found in showing love to others. When everyone embraces the Christmas spirit, regardless of what that means to them, it creates an almost tangible magic in the air.
Christmas is also a time of calm reflection, to feel thankful for the blessings in your life such as your kids, your health, your friends, your family and simple things often taken for granted like the roof over your head and the food on your table.
The Hope Line (The Real Meaning of Christmas)
The Asian Parent (Things to be Thankful for in 2012)