While the holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, nothing adds to the stress like crowded malls, icy roads, travel delays and overspending. Add to that the list of holiday preparations, meal planning, parties and an endless array of recitals, and you have a recipe for the bah-humbugs.
The holidays are supposed to be a time of peace, love, gratitude and celebration with family and friends, so don’t let the spirit of the season get lost in the hustle and bustle.
We’re all about keeping things simple (after all, one of our core values is Simplicity), so here are our top tips for keeping the “happy” in your holidays:
- Share the love – and the load. There’s no reason you need to do all the heavy lifting for your holiday preparations. Let everyone pitch in with their favorite dishes or traditions so you don’t have to do all the work, and recruit the kids to help decorate and clean the house for company.
- Shop online. Time saver DELUXE. Not only can you can shop for everyone on your list without leaving your house, but many companies offer free shipping (which saves you a trip to the post office) and gift wrapping (because it makes it harder to peek when the packages arrive!).
- Cut back on the gift list. Decide where you’ll draw the line on gifts, especially when it comes to extended family. And if money is tight, consider setting a spending limit and having everyone draw the name of someone to shop for.
- Do a cookie exchange. Holiday baking can be a lot of fun, but it can also be really time-consuming. Invite your friends and neighbors to make a batch or two of their favorite holiday cookies and designate a time and place to exchange them. You’ll get a variety of tasty treats and only have to bake and clean your kitchen once!
- If you’re short on money, volunteer. From October on, it seems like every charitable organization is asking for donations. Even small donations can add up quickly, so choose one or two charities you’re most passionate about, gather friends and family and volunteer together for an afternoon. You’ll be spending quality time with the ones you love while supporting causes you care about.
- Be selective about which invitations you accept. Between holiday parties and school recitals, your schedule can get pretty chaotic. Try not to accept more than two invitations per week so you don’t feel so tired and spread thin. Plus, the invitations you DO accept will be the ones you actually want to go to!
- Take time for yourself. Every day. And DON’T multitask. The world will not implode if you take a 30-minute bath, put on a face mask and catch up on your trash mags. Self-care is important, as this gives everyone time to focus on themselves. This could even mean creating a brand new skincare routine to incorporate products that you’ve yet to try. Whatever this consists of, if it makes you feel good, that’s all that matters.You’ll feel refreshed and revitalized, and ready for more holiday cheer.
- Send New Year’s cards. Many people look forward to receiving holiday cards from family and friends. But if your schedule is just too nutty this time of year, there’s no rule that says you can’t wait until January to send your season’s greetings. And let’s get real: aside from your Gram-Gram, no one is going to cherish your holiday greetings for all time, so opt for the cheaper photo cards.
- Pace yourself. The tree, wreath, garland and Christmas village don’t all have to be set up in one day. Do one task a night, or set a time for 20 or 30 minutes and see how much you get done.
What are your favorite tips for keeping things simple during the holidays?