Tips For Reducing Stress During the Holidays

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It’s so easy to let the holiday spirit turn into a frenzy of stress.  There’s family to visit, family to host, gifts to get, food to make, the one person who is extremely hard to buy for, and stopped traffic due to snow.  Here are a few tips to reduce the stress and enjoy the magical season.

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Pick a theme for your gifts:  If you have an ever-growing list of people to buy for — family, extended family, friends, friends you kind of don’t like anymore but you keep getting each other gifts, co-workers, etc. then save yourself the hassle of coming up with 35+ different gifts and pick a theme.  This doesn’t mean EVERYONE you buy for will get the same gift, but you could knock out the majority of the gifts in one store (or one click).  For example:  a music theme (headphones, speaker, concert tickets — depending upon who the person is you can tailor your spend but keep it on the same theme), a “stay warm” theme (scarves, gloves, hats, coats, socks), a stocking theme (buy a bunch of stockings from the dollar store and buy small things to go inside — saves you from wrapping a bunch of gifts too), a book theme (applies to all ages!).

Have a Wrapping Party:  My mom used to do this with her friends.  Pick a night and lug all your gifts to your friends house, play some holiday music, and spend hours chit chatting and wrapping all your gifts.  It can be exhausting but it makes the wrapping much more fun.  Words of wisdom:  pick a friend to host that has a large table you can use vs. bending over and wrapping everything on the floor.

Set a Deadline for Gifts:  I heard author/speaker Glennon Doyle Melton once say that she requires everyone in her house to be done with their Christmas shopping by December 1 so they can enjoy the holiday season.  Now, I personally think the shopping part is the fun part (and my love language is gifts!), but, I will say that somewhere around December 22nd if I’m still finding myself in Target or at the mall . . . I’m probably adding to gifts because I think the first thing I bought “wasn’t enough,” or I’m torturing myself over that last and final gift (normally for my Dad because I always want to get him the perfect gift) and then you get shopping fatigue.  I’m not saying you have to be done by December 1st, but I am saying pick a deadline and then enjoy the wrapped gifts for a week or so before it’s time to pack the tree up again.

Do a Good Deed:  I’m a fan of good deeds all the days of the year . . . but there’s something about the holidays that brings it out in people.  So if you’re feeling stressed and it’s because of too many parties and too many gifts and too many meals — remind yourself that these are luxuries and good problems to have and take the time to do a good deed for someone.

Outsource Addressing Holiday Cards:  If you’re planning to send a stack of 50-100 Christmas cards with a family photo on the front, the family dressed in plaid, golden retriever at your side . . . but you get stressed or procrastinate due to having to sit down to write out the names and addresses of the recipients — outsource the job to sites like Shutterfly or Postable where you can design the card, upload addresses, and they will mail them for you.

Happy Holidays!