The holidays are just around the corner, and it’s easy to start feeling anxiety, especially if you’re in a position of having to tell grandma and grandpa to stay home to keep them safe. So this year, we hope you’ll take some time to focus on a stress-free holiday.
What Is a Stress-Free Holiday?
No matter what holidays you celebrate this time of year, there is pressure – pressure to buy gifts, cook food, volunteer, donate, host parties, go to events, sponsor families, send treats to school, wait in lines, and never stop going. A stress-free holiday can be different for each person, but it’s an acknowledgement that not only is this year different for everyone, but that holidays really shouldn’t be so overwhelming that they become stressful.
Identifying You Stressors
In order to create a stress-free holiday, you need to work on identifying what causes you the most stress during the holidays. Is it cooking a big meal? Do you struggle to organize your home to make room for decorations? Do you feel pressured to spend a lot of money on people but regret the financial burden it creates? You may have more than one stressor. You might have more than one holiday stressor and what stresses you might change from year to year. Let’s just focus on the upcoming eight weeks.
Take the Stress Out of Gift Giving This Year
We often wrestle not only with how much money we spend during the holidays but with what to get. This year may be the perfect year to change your approach to the holidays. Instead of ordering big gifts online or fighting Black Friday crowds, consider these gifts:
- Support your local businesses with gift cards to their establishments. It’s not just restaurants that need our help but also local massage therapists, photographers, and other services (like professional organizers).
- Consider giving the gift of time – offer to babysit, or bake something, or just take over a tray of cookies
- Spend less on gifts and more on time with people you love, even if it’s over Zoom
- Volunteer together at a shelter or food bank
Take the Stress Out of Cooking Holiday Meals
While most of us will have curtailed guest lists this year because of the pandemic, we’re likely to have a smaller guest list this year, but even when it’s just close family, the menu can grow out of control. To take the stress out of your holiday meals, try these tips:
- As everyone who is coming to bring a dish, and then assign what you need
- Plan your menu in advance, and see what dishes you can cut to simplify the meal
- If there are items you can order already prepared, it’s ok to do that
- Enlist the help of everyone in your family
- Prep as much as you can the night before
A simple, shared meal can be more meaningful than a feast you can’t enjoy.
Organizing for Stress-Free Holiday Decor
Making room for holiday decorations or squeezing a tree into your living room isn’t always easy. But keep in mind that it’s only temporary, so even if you just have to move a chair out or rearrange the room, it’s usually only for a few weeks and everyone gets used to it. If it’s overwhelming, you can scale back what you normally do. Simple decorations or accents can be just as delightful as a Clark Griswold home.
Yes, the holidays can be stressful – but they don’t have to be. This is the perfect year to change up your traditions, adjust your budget, and clear the way to a stress-free holiday.