For many of us the holiday season is truly a wonderful time of year, but it is also a stressful time of year. I know that often times when the stress gets to me that I no longer enjoy the spirit of the season and get bogged down in getting things done 'perfect'. I get lost in the details instead of simply enjoying it all. So each year I strive to "de-stress" my holiday season. Each year it gets a bit less stressful and a bit more enjoyable.
Here are some tips for keeping your season a bit less stressful.
Families change and grow, adjust your expectations with those changes.
Set realistic goals for family traditions. Sure it's nice to be able to include all 100 various family traditions handed down from generation to generation. If those traditions are going to add stress instead of enjoyment, however, it no longer is fun. So be practical and realistic. Pick a handful of traditions you would like to share and enjoy with your loved ones and get rid of the rest.
Don't try and do it all. Whatever that "all" might be for you. Accept that there are only 24 hours in the day and no one can possibly do it all.
Pace your Work Load:
There are 24 days leading up to Christmas, so pace your work load. Make a list of all the things you need/want/desire to accomplish and spread out the work load over the 24 days leading up to the big day. When broken down into smaller more manageable pieces its easy to accomplish many things and enjoyable at the same time.
Share the Work Load:
Figure out which items you must do yourself, which items you can hire out for, and which ones you can share with a loved one. And then delegate.
If you are like me delegating is probably one of the hardest things to do. I have a definite problem in letting go of control with regard to all things holiday and family related. Yet I know that in order to focus on the big picture and remain sane throughout the holidays, some amount of delegation is necessary.
Throw Away The White Gloves:
No one is going to care if your home passes the white glove test, but everyone will care about having a great time and enjoying that time with you. If you are too busy making sure everything is perfect and can pass the white glove test you will likely miss out on some of the best moments of the holiday season.
Schedule any heavy cleaning to be done at least 5 days prior to the holiday. Then 2 days before the holiday go back over the carpets, floors, and bathrooms. The day of your holiday hostings, dust lightly, straighten up the bathroom and kitchen areas again, and do a once over on the floors. All else will fall into place.
Stick to a budget:
If you haven't already set your budget for the holiday season, don't delay. One of the biggest stressors for people is money and debt. No one wants to be paying into the new year for the holiday that they enjoyed today. So set a budget, make it realistic, and stick to the budget.
It's a difficult time of year for germs, and if you get sick then you won't be able to enjoy even one moment of the holiday. So take your vitamins, eat well, get enough sleep, drink plenty of fluids, and stay healthy.
Last but definitely not least is have fun. If you aren't enjoying yourself chances are you shouldn't be hosting that holiday in the first place. Holidays are meant to be enjoyed, so relax, sit back, and enjoy. Everything else can wait five minutes.