Believe it or not, it’s already October and that means the holidays are right around the corner.
Yep, you heard me. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be here before you know it. I don’t know about you but I tend to get stressed out as the holiday season approaches. There is always so much to do and not enough time to do it all.
So, in an attempt to make both your life and mine a little bit easier, I’ve put together this guide to help your holiday season go a bit more smoothly.
Now, I just need someone to make sure I follow my own advice…
1. Shop Early
My family and friends laugh at me when I tell them in October that I’m already halfway done with my Christmas shopping. But when December rolls around and they’re all stressing out over shopping, guess who gets the last laugh?
So many people wait for the “good sales” like on Black Friday or they just wait until the last minute to buy Christmas gifts. We all know those people who even wait until the week of Christmas to shop (maybe you’re one of them).
But why wait so long and end up stressing yourself out? There is a reason I’m writing this post in October. It’s to give you a head start.
Shop early! I mean it. Start your Christmas shopping now. I promise it will make your life so much easier! Not only will it lessen the stress of shopping last minute, but it will also be easier on your wallet too. Buying all those presents at once can make a huge dent in your bank account. Why not spread the purchases out instead?
I actually start shopping over the summer. I’ve already bought all my kids’ Christmas gifts and am also done shopping for my mother-in-law, sister, and best friend. I’m a quarter of the way done already and it’s only October!
2. Bake Those Yummy Holiday Treats Ahead of Time
Speaking of doing things ahead of time…
We all know baking goes hand in hand with the holidays. A LOT of baking in fact. Cookies, pies, cakes, fudge, fruit cake (OK, maybe not fruit cake…).
I LOVE baking. Heck, it’s my side hustle! But I hate feeling stressed out because I need to make three pies for Thanksgiving and ten dozen Christmas cookies in just a few weeks. We’re all busy moms with a lot going on so finding “extra” time to bake can be a challenge, to say the least.
Well, guess what? We all have this wonderful invention called a freezer. It’s amazing! And it’s just waiting to hold all of those mouthwatering baked goods. So why not start baking those cookies and holiday treats now and then stick them in the freezer until you need them? I promise they’ll taste just as good as if you had baked them in December. And you’ll feel less stressed and tired because you’re not staying up late and rushing to get those last three dozen cookies made for a holiday party.
3. It’s OK to Say “No”
As soon as Halloween hits, we get bombarded with all kinds of holiday parties, get-togethers, and local events. And there are always a LOT of them. School parties, work parties, family gatherings, Boo at the Zoo, Christmas lights at the zoo and parks, parades… the list goes on.
Our instinct is to say yes to all of it and attend all of the parties and special events. But the reality is that we just can’t. There isn’t enough time to do it all and that’s OK.
Therefore, I suggest prioritizing events and get-togethers. Attend the ones that mean the most to your family and that you enjoy the most. Don’t really feel like attending the office holiday party? Then don’t. Hit up the zoo that night for a fantastic Christmas lights display instead. Got invited to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving but you just want some family time? Say no and enjoy a quiet family dinner at home instead.
There is nothing wrong with saying no. Don’t worry, you won’t be shunned by others because you didn’t make it to the school holiday party or that cookie exchange. Pare your list down to what’s important and what you enjoy and go from there.
4. Make a Gift List
It feels like there are always so many people I have to buy gifts for. Between family, friends, and teachers I’m always afraid I’ll forget someone. And last year I actually almost did!
The best way to combat this is to make a list of who you need to buy gifts for and what you are going to get them. And if you’re going to follow rule number one above, be sure to make your list early. You’ll also want to make the list ahead of time so that when you start shopping you know what is for whom. Ever pull out the gifts to wrap them, look at that fluffy scarf sitting in front of you and think, ‘who the heck did I buy this for?’ If you make a gift list, that problem goes away…
I actually start my list over the summer. Then I keep it on my dresser as a daily reminder to start shopping. As I buy gifts, I highlight them so that I know that person is done. Easy peasy!
*Note* If you’re looking to simplify gifts this year, why not make them? You can find some fun homemade gift ideas HERE.
It is possible to have a low-stress holiday season. Following these simple steps will go a long way towards making this year less stressful than the last.
So what are you waiting for? Get going!