December 20, 2013

4 Ways to Make the Holidays Less Stressful

Holidays are a stressful time. Period. Stress is going to happen, and there's no way to avoid it. It's just how it goes when you have gifts to buy, cookies to bake, and holiday parties to attend. It's a lot to handle in the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I've been doing a lot of thinking, and I believe I know a couple ways to cut down on the stress that the holidays inevitably bring every year. So here are four ways to make the holidays less stressful:

+ Make a Christmas list. This is something everyone can do to help lessen the stress for everybody else. I know one thing I really hate is when people don't tell me what they want for Christmas, and I'm left to shop blindly for a great gift. It's really annoying and such a hassle. But if everyone made a small list - just a handful of little things you know you're going to use or that you know will be useful - the holidays would be so much easier. For example, my go-to list this year: candles, red wine, and cute tumbler/tervis cups (preferably with my monogram).

+ Wrap as you go. Being that I'm home for the holidays, gift-wrapping isn't something I, personally, am doing a lot of. But next year I'm not going to be able to rely on my mom to do it all for me, and wrapping as I go will be a must. There have been a couple years where I have actually done my own Christmas shopping and have waited until Christmas Eve to wrap my gifts. And it was awful, mainly because I hate wrapping. But I know if I just wrapped gifts as I bought them life would be so much more simple.

+ Write down everything. I was browsing through Kenzie's blog, Chasing Happy - this is where I also found The Thankful Project - and she created this amazing Christmas planner to keep her organized throughout the holiday season. I think it's a perfect idea! Being the kind of person who loves to make lists and be organized, this is something I will definitely do next year and in years to come when I'll be on my own to make Christmas happen. Writing things down, rather than committing everything to memory, is a great way to keep your brain from constantly being in overdrive, which will consequently keep your stress down.

+ Be flexible, and have a back-up plan. Last night is the perfect example, for me, why being flexible is a must during the holidays. I know what I want to buy my three friends for Christmas, but last night I just couldn't find what I was looking for. And being that it's so close to Christmas, I'm not sure if I'm ever going to find what I have in my head. But it's not the end of the world. Reality is that I just might have to buy them something other than what I originally wanted. I also have a back-up plan. I'm going to continue to look for my number one gift, but if I can't find it I know a good alternative, and it's keeping me from worrying myself to death.

And there you have it - four simple ways to keep you sane during holiday season. I hope these will help you in these final days before Christmas. And if you have any other tips and tricks to cut down on holiday stress, feel free to leave it in the comments. I'd love to know what y'all do to make it through the holidays.

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