Easy Ideas Can Make Preparing For The Holidays Less Stressful

Published Date: October 23rd, 2008
Category: Holiday Fun

by DEBBIE ROSEMONT

As the holiday season approaches, many people have mixed thoughts. On the one hand, they are filled with excitement — knowing the season holds opportunity to gather with family, decorate their home in a festive way, express thanks, enjoy good food, feel comfort in tradition, open gifts and experience holiday joy. On the other hand, some are filled with stress — knowing the season can bring a strain on finances, personal relationships, our time, our waistlines and our sanity in our pursuit to have everything “just right” and do it all. With some simple preparation you can enter the holiday season knowing you’ll have more of the excitement and joy, and less of the stress. Following some of these time-saving tips can result in more time to relax, enjoy company, take in the wonder of the holidays and appreciate this special time of the year. Here are some things to think about and take action on now.

Organize

The average American wastes one hour per day looking for things they know they have, but can’t find. Eliminate clutter, which is primarily those things that no longer add value to your life and that are getting in the way. Create a place for the things you have, so that you can find what you need, when you need it. Taking time to do this before the holidays hit can reduce your stress level during an extra busy time of the year.

Plan

Brainstorm as much as you can about what the holidays will involve this year. Sit down with your family and decide on which traditions, meals, parties, gift giving practices and religious observances are important to you. When you consciously and thoughtfully decide how you’ll celebrate the holidays, you’re in control, are less likely to over-commit and more likely to appreciate the choices you make. Approach the holidays with intention, don’t just let them “happen” to you. Next brainstorm a series of lists that can help you prepare and allocate your time. Keep everything in one place by creating a simple “holiday” binder. Include lists in divided sections for the following: Gift Giving (recipients, shopping, wrapping), Entertaining (menus, grocery lists, to-do lists), Decorating, Cards to send, etc. Don’t stop at planning your action items, but plan your budget as well so you don’t overextend yourself financially. Next, plot the action items onto your calendar, spreading out the work over the next couple of months. Can’t fit it all in? See what you can simplify, eliminate or delegate, which brings us to the next tip.

Delegate

Delegate tasks others can do better or faster than you, tasks you don’t like and tasks that someone else could do for you. When you delegate work to others, you?open up your time to do the things that only you can do.

Make a list of holiday-related tasks that you can outsource or ask someone else to do for you. No budget to hire help? Think about trading favors. Know your friend is going to the store to pick up Halloween candy? Ask them to pick some up for you as well and offer to do a favor for them in the near future.

Making cranberry sauce now to freeze for Thanksgiving? Make twice what you need, share it with a neighbor, and then see what that neighbor might be making that they could double and share with you. Ask for help when you need it!

This article is the first in a series presenting ideas for Simply Organized holidays. Stay tuned for more specific things you can do to bring more balance, control and joy to your holiday season.

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