Christmas is already in one week. As much as I have planned, plotted, budgeted and schemed, I still can’t believe it’s freaking here. I know most of you can’t either. Which has led me to write this little list of the things I have learned about the holidays (so far).
- Stop faking it: It’s OK not to be excited. It’s a stressful time. Financially, this is one of the craziest times of the year. And for many, family visits are not always filled with positive vibes. It can break even the most cheerful of them all. So if you find yourself a little anxious about the upcoming week (anxiety is defined (in my case) by finding yourself eating half a carton of chocolate ice cream and chasing it with vanilla vodka. At 2AM. On a Tuesday.) don’t make it worse by telling yourself you should be excited. You’re not. You have your reasons why. Move on.
- Create your own holiday traditions: This one piggybacks off of Number 1. If you’re not thrilled with how Christmas has gone down for the past 20 years, it’s time to change things up. Plan a trip, tone down the decorating, create smaller, new traditions that you will actually look forward to. I recently read an article about a mom who started celebrating Christmas with her daughter the day after, because it was always so stressful to do everything in 24 hours. Switching things up might take some getting used to, but it will be worth it in the long run.
- Say “Hell No”: Mmmmm… ok. Maybe drop the “hell” in the spirit of the holiday. But still say no. Just because it’s the holiday season, does not require you to say yes to every invitation that lands at your doorstep. Don’t you think your friends would rather see you in February, when your hair doesn’t have cookie dough in it and you’ve actually showered? Trust me, they want to see that version of you.
- Schedule accordingly: Put your thoughts on “the holidays” into a reality check. If there are things you have to do (family visits, company holiday parties, etc.) make sure they have a start and a (prompt) end time. Plan quick and graceful exits. I’m all for white lies if they save your sanity.
- Plan ahead: I have started planning (and paying for) Christmas gifts in September. I break down who I am going to shop for each month, and I get their gift then. I also bought my Christmas cards in early November this year, so it wasn’t another expense on the pile of holiday woes. If you take an hour to plot out everything in August, you will find yourself with a nice list of things that have already been checked off come December.
- Divide and Conquer: Hosting Christmas this year? Plan your Christmas Day menu (including breakfast, lunch, drinks, dinner, cookies and desserts!) on November 1. Divide the list and pick up a few of the non-perishable items each week when you go food shopping. This way, you won’t have to do one huge shopping trip that leaves you with moths in your wallet and your Hubs picking out straight-jacket colors for you.
- Set a Budget: A realistic one, guys. You know what you make. You know what you can afford. You know what you can spend. Come on now. And if you don’t know, start putting money aside early! Plus, homemade is king. Don’t underestimate the value of a well-thought-out gift that you made for someone. It wasn’t there and then you made it. For them. That’s awesome and it’s something that everyone appreciates.
- Breathe: Take the time to appreciate the spirit of the holidays and roll your eyes at all the rest. And if anyone tells you otherwise, send them to me. I got your back.
Have any you want to add? Let me know in the comments!