Hate Christmas? 10 Tips To Beat The Holiday Stress
"I hate Christmas!" Those were the words spoken by a woman who was looking at the showcases in my store this week.
"I hate Christmas -- well, not really. I just hate all the stuff I am forced to do."
I have not been able to shake that conversation from my psyche.
Each year, I watch the craziness and the hustle. I see the anger. I hear nasty, grumpy comments by people who generally are easy-going. People pushing, swearing, rushing, yelling. No wonder she hates Christmas.
Hate Christmas? I don't! Here's Why...
I LOVE Christmas. I love what it represents on so many levels and the best part of Christmas is family. It is a time to be with family without feeling rushed.
It is a time to express our love to our family through giving gifts, time, and ourselves in various ways.
My three-year-old grandson nailed it when he said, "Mommy, isn't it great that we get gifts on Jesus’ birthday?"
He was thrilled that we get gifts on someone else’s birthday.
However, for many, it has become an obligation. Some feel they MUST see members of their family they don't even like or worse yet, buy them gifts.
Decorating the house, making the perfect meal, and trying to outdo our neighbors - the list goes on.
How To Beat The Holiday Stress
I would like to share a few ideas to make your life a wee bit easier this time of year. It is called.......wait for it.......it's a nasty word.....
O R G A N I Z A T I O N.
I cannot remember the last time I have been rushed, frustrated, or dreaded any part of this holiday. I promise you that if you heed just a few simple tips, it will make your next Christmas a lot more pleasant and relaxed.
1. Shop Early
I know many people like to wait for Black Friday sales or the week before Christmas sales. However, there are just as many bargains throughout the year. Christmas in July sales is fabulous.
This is the time of year I buy the larger, more expensive gifts. Even if you put them on a credit card, they will be paid off before Christmas.
2. Wrap Just As Early
When I started doing this a few years ago, I found it so exciting at Christmas. As soon as I buy a gift, no matter what time of year, I wrap it immediately.
I will keep a list of what I bought just in case I have to refer to it later in the year.
But, usually, I forget what I bought until the recipient opens the gift and it is so much fun - especially when it is exactly what they were hoping for and I took the time to find the perfect gift without the rush of the season.
3. Bake Early
Try to have your baking done by mid-November and in the freezer. These can be wrapped as gifts and put in the freezer in large zip-lock bags.
4. Mail Early
By doing numbers one and two you can mail your gifts without having to stand in line at the post office.
5. Christmas Cards
If you are one of those people who mail Christmas cards, blessings on you. I haven't done this in years but when I did, I usually did them a couple of months before, stamped them, and mailed them out about three weeks before Christmas.
This is one area where many of you will have traditions. Maybe you decorate as a family three weeks before or.....???? If you don't have a tradition, maybe you should consider starting one.
This should be an enjoyable time for the whole family instead of a stressful one but will need some planning.
7. Meal Preparation
A. If you plan your menu and shop for all the ingredients you need a month before Christmas, it pays off big time. Then all you have to buy are your fresh ingredients and avoid the long lineups at the grocery store.
B. Set the table two to three days in advance. Not only is this smart but also lovely to look at for a couple of days.
C. Prep your dinner the day before. Refrigerators are great appliances for keeping things fresh and ready for the big day.
8. Gift Yourself With Someone To Clean Your House
If you can afford to splurge a little, hire someone to clean your house the day or two before. This is a huge stress reliever.
9. Be Creative
If you are one of those gifted, talented people who make Christmas gifts, start in the lazy winter months of January and February. And, yes, wrap them as well. What a wonderful start to your organized Christmas.
10. Prepare Your Pets
We have a lot of them and put them in another room during the meal but enjoy their antics the rest of the time. Think ahead as to how you want to handle it and make sure they are comfortable and not stressed.
I know many of you are far more organized than I am. Do you have any tips you can add to the list? Would love to hear them and will implement them for 2022!