Happy Sunday funday! Anyone out there actually consider Sunday fun? I don’t, and never have. Sunday is an errand day, plain and simple. I want to share some tips for de-stressing your holiday season. It occurs to me that the timing of this post might be just a little too late, unless you’re a last minute holiday prepper, in which case, hope this helps!
The holidays are stressful. I don’t care who you are, if you’re in some way managing your own finances and time, this season can be a doozy. From actual obligations to imagined (haha, I have a lot of these), it really helps to level set your priorities and expectations. Reminiscing just a little, young me used to wonder why my parents were so moody around Christmas. I mean, why? No school! Presents! Baking! And now that I’m older, those things translate to: Work! Spending! Baking! I don’t have kids, so I can’t even imagine the sort of stress parents go through during this time, but, I am an adult, and I can relate to that stress. So, let’s relieve some of that, shall we?
- If sending holiday cards stresses you out, don’t do it. (My husband is currently chuckling while reading this, thinking I should definitely be taking my own advice.) Listen, I get it, receiving holiday cards from friends and family absolutely warms my heart, but realistically, I read them, prop them up on a shelf until January 1st, then throw them into a box. And if your recipient isn’t as sentimental as I am, they read them and then throw them away. All the work and money to get them done, just to end up in a landfill a few weeks later. Can’t live with the thought of not sending a Christmas card? Then prep early, I’m talking October. Better yet? Swap your address book for an email address book, and send an e-card. You’ll save money, time, and the planet.
- Declutter your decorations. But, I love them, you say? No, you don’t. Keep the special stuff and donate the extra. I mentioned in an earlier Blogmas post that we tend to decorate the tree too late and then don’t get to enjoy it for very long. When it came down to it, I was dreading the idea of digging through all of our decor to find the good stuff, and worse even? Digging through all the bad stuff to pack the good stuff back up come January. It’s so easy to accumulate holiday decor, especially during a season of life when many of us have hopped from apartment to apartment, or inherited all the decor from a roommate or significant other. Last year, Kyle and I donated probably half of our decor, and we still have a fully festive home and tree. It was liberating! And as a result, we put up the tree so early this year, and have had lots of time to enjoy it.
- Spread your spending. Spending, for me anyway, is the most stressful part of the holidays. We know the holidays happen every year, but when you’re trying to save, pay bills, eat healthy, exercise, and keep up with whatever the hell kind of fashion is happening out there, there’s not much leftover each month to dedicate to a single day of the year. So, spread your spending. Kyle and I are anything but last minute shoppers. We snagged our first Christmas gifts back in June while on vacation, and a few have trickled in each month since. This is great because it helps to avoid such a drastic hit to our finances in November and December. If you see something one of your giftees will love in August, go for it! Your bank account will thank you!
- Better advice than spreading your spending? Set spending limits. This may not be the case for everyone, but in this house (and extended to my family), we value time off, time together, and good food over gifts. The more I talk to others, the more I realize that everyone kind of dreads the accumulation of things they don’t really need. So, set limits. $10 or $100, whatever it is, set the max and stick to it.
- It’s okay to set boundaries for your time. I imagine most of us have jam-packed holiday schedules. This is amplified when you don’t have much time off for the holidays, have blended or divorced families, or loved ones geographically all over the place. Trust me, I have spent many Christmases nervously tapping my foot and checking my phone every five minutes, anxious that I’ll be disappointing someone by not being four places at the same time. And that? That’s no fun for anyone. I’ve learned to stop putting so much pressure on 12/25 and I encourage you to do the same! Bring your best self to every holiday gathering you’ve got, and if that means Christmas becomes a three week long celebration verses a single marathon of a day, then heck yeah!
- Level set your expectations. I group Christmas and weddings together in terms of actual execution. Despite meticulous planning and hopes of perfection, something will absolutely go wrong. That’s okay. That’s life. To hell with a perfectly set dinner table. The best photo, outfit, party, gift? It doesn’t exist! And it doesn’t matter. Because the memories you’re carrying with you have less to do with all of that, and more to do with the company you keep. Seriously.
- Remember the reason for the season. For me personally, at the core of Christmas is Jesus. It’s time to unplug and reflect on another year of life, and the person who made that all possible. I fully understand and respect that the holidays are different for everyone, but even as a social celebration, Christmas is about joy, kindness, and giving. So, as you’re waiting for a parking spot, fighting for the last turkey, or standing in a line that seems never-ending, remember that this is meant to be a joyful time of year, a time to really appreciate your blessings. And hey, what’s the stress in that?
What are some of your tips for staying cool and collected during the holidays?
xoxo Leigh Ann