Whew! 2020 is almost in the rearview mirror. Unfortunately, though, the last part of the year usually brings the most stress and that stress is typically centered around the holidays. Between planning for holiday meals, gift shopping, class parties, field trips, and all of the unexpected things that tend to happen, I’m usually tapped out emotionally and financially by the time the New Year rolls around. However, I am determined that this year will be stress-free. Maybe because I’m older, or maybe because I’ve spent the last seven months locked up with my kids, my husband, and my dog. I am going to learn from my mistakes, and make this the most relaxing holiday season ever! Hopefully, these tips will help you to also stay sane and have a stress-free holiday this year.
Stress-Free Holiday Tips:
Clean and Organize – Whether you call it purging, doing a Marie Kondo, or downsizing, its time to clean house. I am determined to not bring a single cornucopia or wreath out of the attic until I’ve gotten rid of things that no longer serve a purpose in our house. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a junk drawer (or three) that’s causing stress every time I open it. Check out these other Dallas Moms posts for tips on organization and how to sell your extra stuff. My holiday decor will be much more enjoyable when it’s not surrounded by household clutter.
Budget – This is, by far, the biggest holiday stress source in my house. Budgets are hard to stick to, especially in light of the year we’ve collectively experienced. My husband is determined to have a budget this year, but I’m already trying to rationalize going over, and I haven’t bought a single gift yet. I’m stressed before I’ve even started shopping! A solid first step in budgeting is to come up with a list of holiday expenses. Be sure to include gifts, potential travel, and parties/events. It’s also a good idea to look at your debt and any possible income that might come in over the holidays. Once that is established, you should have an idea of how much to allocate. Another idea is to consider tracking your expenses on a spreadsheet to help stay on track. Sticking to a budget will definitely be helpful in creating a stress-free holiday season.
Update Your Calendar – Even with more of us staying at home right now, the holidays can still be a stressful and busy time. I’m trying to sync calendars for the whole family right now for work, school, and home to keep this a stress-free holiday. Given how little socializing we’ve had recently, I would be so sad to miss something because of a scheduling error. I know this year will look different, but I want to allow our family time to attend (appropriately socially-distanced) functions, and also plan for days of rest. Be intentional with how you plan your days and events. Prioritize the gatherings that are important, and schedule time for your family to enjoy each other’s company. I have some special stress-free days set aside for making treats with my kids and curling up to watch holiday movies.
Remember the Reason – I think all of us would like to finish this year with a grateful heart, a full spirit, and know that we took the time to love our family and friends. Above all else, remember why we celebrate this time of year. Why do we come together to fellowship, to exchange gifts, to laugh, and to love? I want to sit down on December 31 and know that I took time to spend with loved ones, sang corny holiday songs, played silly games, and gave as many fist bumps and air hugs as humanly possible. Enjoying the company of my loved ones will be the most stress-free part of the holidays, and this year I am going to savor each and every moment.