The smell of cookies baking in the oven and a decorated tree may put you in the mood for the holiday season. But the stress of long lines at the store and endless gatherings may quickly turn up the craziness. The following are simple strategies that will allow you to enjoy the holidays and maintain your calm.
Trim the To-Do List
The holidays are a time for giving back. But with an ever growing list of duties, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of the season. While you may want to be mom of the year and handle everything, trimming your to-do list will help simplify things. Provide each of your family members with jobs that they can handle. Once the tree is up, put your children in charge of decorating the tree. Divide up your shopping list and give half to your spouse to tackle. If the items still appear endless, consider knocking tasks off that are unnecessary.
Tackle Maintenance Projects Early-On
If you’re planning to entertain or have guests stay with you during the holidays, you want to prepare your home. Walk through your interior and fix problem areas such as a leaky faucet or broken toilet. Your home’s exterior is just as critical, as water, snow and ice may seep into your home’s interior through lost siding panels or broken gutters. Siding repair for the winter prevents mold and mildew from occurring if the water gets into the outer nooks and crannies. Tackling the maintenance projects early on also prevents disasters from occurring when you have a house full of guests.
Email Instead of Sending Mail
Although past traditions may have been to handwrite cards and mail them during the holidays, you can tweak your to-do list by sending an email greeting instead. There are so many options available where you can send personalized ecards fast and inexpensively. If you typically write a holiday letter to update your friends about your latest adventures and children’s accomplishments, you can type up a holiday email and send off with the click of a button.
Tone Down the Décor
Keeping up with your neighbor’s decoration displays can prove exhausting, especially when you’re stressed and time is limited. If you’re looking to create a more Zen holiday for yourself, you can tone down decorations. Change outdoor lighting to a simple lighted door wreath. Go through your tree ornaments and place half of what you normally do. If you’re in the market for a new tree, select a variety that is easy to put up and has the lights attached. You can still make your home appear festive without having to spend days decorating.
Simplify the Gift List
If your family’s gift list has gotten out of hand, it may be time for you to simplify holiday presents. Instead of purchasing items for aunts, cousins, grandparents and uncles, you can draw names or implement a grab bag gift exchange. You can also opt to donate to a charitable organization in the name of a special family member. If you still have a number of items to purchase, do the majority of your shopping online. You’ll find just as many bonus buys, and you don’t have to leave home to shop.
Cater Don’t Cook
Cooking and baking for a party may help hone your culinary skills. But baking cookies and preparing a sumptuous feast could add to your holiday burden. If you’re entertaining at your home, ask your invited guests to bring a dish. You could also have your celebration catered by a local restaurant and bakery. This additional time frees you up to mingle with your guests.
If you’re looking to simplify your holidays, the above tips are sure to reduce stress. Setting goals early on in the season and implementing them will prevent you from becoming swept up in the madness. You can use your Zen to spread cheer and merriment with others.