2018: The Year of a Stress-Free and Relaxing Holiday Season!

Breathe easier this year with these 10 tips

It’s all so overwhelming, isn’t it? Parties, programs, recitals, shopping, decorating, cooking, baking, family, joy, smiling, cheeriness, having a good attitude, thankfulness, etc. With each holiday season, I learn a bit more about how to navigate the season with less stress. I get it! It can be so daunting with a new baby, husband out of town/deployed, a tight budget, running from activity to activity. We suddenly realize we are draining ourselves and NOT enjoying the holiday season that we have looked forward to and as a kid have such fond memories of.

Let’s take a moment… breathe with me… take a deep breath: inhale, now exhale. Ah!

Now read on…

Why we celebrate: Jesus is the reason for this season. We need to daily focus on Him. This is important if we truly want to stay grounded and continue to genuinely share with our families. We have to take a reality check and remember that there is no personal assistant, Rosie the robot from the Jetsons, or a magical fairy to do all the things that need to get done for the Christmas season.  We all truly want to be the one serving and being in the moment of it all with those we care about and love, but we CAN’T if we are running crazy because we are behind.

This year… with a little better planning and timing, WE CAN have a better 2018 Christmas. WE CAN cuddle with cocoa or cider, reach out to others in the community and love our families with an extra measure of joy. So here’s the plan and you START NOW!

1. Family Photo/Christmas Card – You don’t need to hire a professional photographer to take a picture of your family. Ask a friend. Get something on the calendar now plus a rain makeup date. You know how weather can be. In the meantime, start thinking about what everyone will wear and gather up the outfits. If having a picture taken seems too daunting, make Christmas cards. This is a great family project for kids! Each one is unique and it makes for a wonderful family memory.

2. Plan Who You’ll Get a Gift – First, list everyone you want to give a gift too (ie. family, teachers, etc.) Then, list approximately how much you might want to spend on each person.

3. Plan Trip Gifts – Will you be making any trips during the holidays? Go ahead and think what you might take as a thank you gift for staying with the family/friend that is hosting you. Do this now so it doesn’t sneak up on you.

4. Giving Ideas – Is there anything you hope to do this holiday season? For instance, my kids like to deliver cookies to the first responders on Christmas Eve since they have to be on call in case of an emergency. Most people are busy with their families the night before Christmas and my kids thought the fireman probably miss their families and wanted to take them cookies. Now… yes… they probably have plenty of goodies, but it’s the act of kindness that counts. Your kids or your family can bless any institution that you have a heart for and it doesn’t have to be homemade cookies. You can buy pet food for your local animal shelter, help out a widow you know, call an assisted living center and find out what they need, a foster home, donate to a food pantry, and the ideas are endless!

5. Start a Pinterest Board – Find recipes, card making ideas, DIY gift ideas and decorating ideas on Pinterest. Try some of the recipes now so if they are a flop you can know now and not the night before the party you have to take the cookies to an event.

6. Take Inventory of Your Christmas Supplies and Decor – You can start buying one roll of wrapping paper a week so it’s not such a hit on the budget. How are your sweaters holding up? Have some of them worn out? What about Christmas lights? Start shopping on Ebay. You can still score on Ebay if you start shopping now and are patient.  The point here is not to wait until December and then you’re running around trying to complete that decorating idea, outfit, make that gift or wrap that present.

7. Planning Food and Meals – What is your plan? What will you serve for that holiday meal? Do you need to bake ahead of time? If you are serving meat then how many people are your feeding? Keep that in mind and keep your eye on a sale. Meat freezes just fine.

8. Have Any Traditions? – Many families celebrate advent and that requires candles. Don’t get caught without the necessary supplies to celebrate your traditions. Think now what are the traditions your family celebrates and the supplies you need to have.

9. Create a Cheerful Happy Environment – Making your home smell fresh and like Christmas is wonderful for the senses and everyones mood at home. You can do this easily with DIY recipes. There are diffusing recipes on Pinterest along with room sprays and other ideas.

10. Get Your Holiday Music and Movie Playlist Ready – Decide what movies you want to watch and if you don’t have it check your library and get on the waitlist or swap with a friend. Start checking the Walmart $5-6 bin now and see if they have it. As the holidays approach the price of holiday movies start to go up online.

So there you have it! Take each one of these action steps, write your plan and you’ve got your 2018 holiday game plan mapped out. No more thinking on the fly, behind the eight ball or at the last minute. Viola!

It’s going to be a great 2018 holiday year! Oh, and don’t forget where you hide all the gifts like I seem to do every year!

xoxo –  Shannon

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