I can already hear the grumbling in your voice…. It’s barely turned November and I am already starting on the Christmas train?!? Can’t I let you at last get through Thanksgiving first?!?
Sure. Of course.
However, people can find themselves feeling super overwhelmed come the holiday season and I think in large part it is from a lack of planning. Looking down the road and creating a timeline/plan can help us move through November and December less stressed, which means we can be more present with our loved ones during this special season.
- Sit down with a cup of coffee/ hot chocolate, put on music that puts you in a good mood, and write down what your ideal holiday season would look like. Then…
- Brain dump your to do this holiday season. Don’t organize it, just write it all down.
- Now, organize your list. I categorize mine first into “Must Do” and “Nice to Do”. From there, I organize them into some semblance of a timeline, which helps me to ensure that I won’t be scrambling last minute and then upset when I realized it is too late to reasonable get something done. It also allows you to focus on what has to be down and just add in the nice stuff as you can.
- Compare your vision and your to do list. Do they match? Does your must do list enable you to come close to that ideal holiday? If not, then it is probably time to re-prioritize your list. Remember, you can say no, especially at the holidays.
- Create a budget!!! But, seriously, create a budget. Not only is it the adult thing to do, worrying about money is one of the biggest ways to turn your smile upside down. Now that you have a budget, stick with it. I always add 10% cushion to my budget for the random things you forget like your husband’s office white elephant party or a bottle of wine to bring as a hostess gift.
- Solidify your holiday plans! Whose house will you be traveling to? Do you need to make travel arrangements? If everyone is coming to you, get those plans settled so you don’t have someone showing up randomly. Plus, if your family is like mine, getting everyone to commit to a plan takes some effort.
- Create a family calendar and start writing stuff down now! Make sure everyone who needs access to the calendar has it.
- What you can do beforehand, do it! Want to bake Christmas cookies? Make some batches now and throw them into the freezer. Book those Christmas card photos now. Actually, go ahead and order your Christmas cards now! Know that you attend a lot of holiday parties? Put together 2 party outfits so that you don’t have to stress shop the day before. While you are out, grab some extra hostess gifts and stash them for all those parties you will be going to. Planning a holiday party? Go ahead and make the menu and grocery shopping list. Basically, set yourself up for success now. This also helps spread out the cost of the holiday season.
- Make a list of everyone you need to shop for and stick with it! You do not have to shop for everyone, but you want to not be forgetting anyone either. Keep that list in your wallet and scratch people off as you finish them. I also like to wrap presents as I get them, which saves me from having to devote a whole night to wrapping.
What other advice can you share that helps you plan a stress free holiday?