Are you the type of person who goes into the holiday season with confidence? Or do you find yourself crawling in the corner to cry? Be honest. This time of year can be stressful for even the most organized person. You think you have everything ready to go and then things out of your control go wrong. The package is going to be late. The supermarket is out of that special ingredient you need. We’ve seen our fair share of panic attacks during this time and wanted to share some tips with you. These six tricks will help make preparing for the holiday season stress-free and, dare we say, fun.
1. Plan ahead as much as you can.
You probably hear this every year, but it’s true. If you want a stressless holiday season you need to start preparing for it as soon as you can. And we’re not only talking gifts. We’re talking food, travel plans, bake sales, and more. This is especially important if you have a lot of people to buy presents for and if you’re hosting any gatherings.
Prepare your menu now. Take a grocery run and buy what you need. Make sure to bring a detailed list with you. Have backups ready to go if the store is out of something. Reach out to neighbors and ask if they have something specific you need. Cook and bake whatever you can the day before or a few days before.
If your family travels during this time, book now. Spend an hour researching the best deals and get your tickets. Start writing a packing list. To help you understand why lists are so important, we have a blog post about that. And if you tend to forget certain items when packing, check out this post for reference.
Your goal is to get as much planned, prepared, and ready to go. This way when the actual holidays are here, you know everything is taken care of.
2. Prepare activities for the kids.
One of the hardest things about preparing for the holidays is dealing with kids that are home from school. This isn’t to say you don’t love your time with them. But when you’re trying to wrap presents, meal prep, and online shop, it can be frustrating when they constantly need something.
That’s why we recommend planning a few activities they can do to keep them busy. Even kids get bored with their phones and video games so having hands-on activities for them is essential.
These activities can include building gingerbread houses, playing board games, or puzzles. If you’re unable to partake, encourage them to work together. Not only are these types of activities fun, but they're educational and creative. Other options include jewelry-making kits, paint by numbers, word searches, and crosswords.
3. Stay hydrated.
When you’re busy running around doing this and that you can forget the most basic of needs: water. How could you possibly take a few minutes to drink a glass when presents need to be wrapped, the food needs to be made, and decorations need to be put out?
The answer is simple. Take a break and drink some water! If you want a stressless holiday season you need to first take care of yourself. And staying hydrated is vital to keep you energized and healthy. Remember that dehydration leads to headaches, cramping, and nausea. Don’t expect to get anything done if you feel like that.
If you’re not hosting any parties, but a family member or friend is, go the extra mile and check in on them. Make sure they’re staying hydrated and taking care of themselves. Even if you have to follow them around the kitchen with a glass of water, do it.
4. Find time to move.
Besides staying hydrated, make time to move your body. Yes, you’re moving all about the kitchen but we’re talking about dedicated exercise. Even if all you can do is 15 minutes every other day. Taking time to exercise or move your body is super important. It gives you the chance to get out of your head, to momentarily put aside the responsibilities you have.
Concentrated exercise can help clear your mind, relieve stress, and strengthen your body. All those benefits will make planning and prepping for the holidays easier. So take a daily walk or do 20 minutes of cardio every other day. Whatever you do, find time to move your body and get your heart rate up.
5. Indulge yourself.
While you’re busy making this holiday season festive for everyone else, don’t forget to indulge yourself every once in a while. Treating yourself to a little something isn’t going to derail your preparations in the slightest. If anything, it’ll revitalize you. So make yourself a cup of hot chocolate and curl up with a Christmas movie.
Reward yourself each time you finish some type of prep work. Have that piece of chocolate to celebrate you baking all those cupcakes. Schedule a manicure after you finish wrapping all the presents. When you take time to treat yourself it makes prepping the rest something to look forward to. So reward yourself and indulge. You’ve earned it!
6. Ask for help.
Are you a one-woman show or do you accept help when it’s offered? Planning and prepping for the holidays is a lot for one person to take on by themselves. You might think you can handle it all. You’ve done it before, but this year you have a few more things on your list to tick off. And the clock is counting down.
If you want to avoid stressing out, ask for help. One more time: ask for help! There’s nothing wrong with getting assistance from an extra set of hands. Even better, get your family involved with the planning. Have your kids help you with baked goods, especially if they’re for their school. Get your spouse to clean or do the dishes.
Will they do everything according to your specifications? No, but you’re already doing so much, you have to loosen the reins. Outside of your family, seek help from friends. If the majority of you are all prepping for the holidays, get together and work together. Pick a weekend and schedule a “Holiday Prep Party.”
Whether you’re planning a holiday season for a small group or a large one, getting a jumpstart will make all the difference in the world. So if you haven’t started planning now, get to it. Plan ahead, get activities ready for the kids, stay hydrated, move your body, indulge, and most importantly, ask for help.
Don’t let the stress of planning the holidays ruin them for you. Follow the above-mentioned tips and you’ll have everything ready to go. If you’re in need of extra tips, follow us on social media. We post daily inspiration and nifty tricks you can apply to the holiday season and more.