The number one tip for a stress free holiday season is simply do less. Sorry to disappoint you if you were expecting a way to be more productive or a zen manifesto, but really and truly the best way to get through the holiday season is to do less.
I'm not going to sugar coat things because sometimes by doing less you may cause some people to be disappointed, but in the end your sanity, and the time you get to spend with loved ones, is worth more then anything in the world.
This year Christmas is like a blip on my radar and not a full on tsunami with a nuclear meltdown all rolled into one. If that 'meltdown' feeling sounds familiar then it is time to take a step back and reassess.
I am going to give you a couple of tips, some will help you this year, and some will help you get a jump start on next year:
- Redefine the word 'yes'. 'Yes' is a slippery slope because we want to make people happy, but by saying yes and overcommitting ourselves we end up making ourselves unhappy, lashing out at those around us, and generally not being the best version of ourself. Only say yes if your gut response is 'Hell Yes'.
- Keep it simple. For example if cookies are your thing then do a cookie swap so you only have to make one type of cookie instead of a ton of different kinds. KISS is a great way to remember this- keep it simple stupid.
- Stop the gift giving madness. Set a budget and stay within it. What people will remember is the thoughtful gift that you gave them.
- Give back. I made a couple of donations this year that reduced my gift budget (see above) and it felt right.
- Do your shopping throughout the year. I go to craft fairs and my local neighborhood shops throughout the year and I often find gifts for friends and family. I buy them then and I set them aside for Christmas. It seriously reduces the mad panic before Christmas. One caveat to this though is start a list so you know who you have bought presents for.
- Spend time with family and friends. Turn your phone off and make it quality time. The flip side of this is if you are an introvert, like me, take a break.
- Be kind to yourself. The holidays can often bring up a lot of emotion. My grandfather passed away a couple of years ago and while I knew last year, our first holiday without him, would be the hardest, I wasn't expecting to be hit with a wave of grief this year. I had to take some time and sit with those emotions.
Have a joyous holiday season.