The holidays are supposed to be a loving, magical time for friends and family but they can also be incredibly stressful. Today we are going to talk about a couple things you can do to minimize the stress and enjoy the process of getting ready for the holidays. If you have a tip that we didn’t thing of — share it with us. We would love to know what strategies you use for preparing for the holidays.
1. Create a Grocery List
Cooking for the holidays can seem daunting. Well in advance, plan the entire menu and create a comprehensive grocery list of all the ingredients you need. After your list is done, go through your pantry and cabinets and cross off anything you already own. A bottle of spices here and there may seem like just a few dollars here and there but it all adds up with your final holiday budget. When you are making your list, don’t forget the things you need for serving. Nice plastic plates, disposable silverware, napkins, etc.
2. Prepare Some Dishes in Advance
Many things have to wait until Christmas day but some items can be cooked or baked in advance. Cookies, brownies, and even pies can be baked in advance and packaged for Christmas day. If you are planning on giving some baked goodies for friends, coworkers, or neighbors, you may want to make a separate batch for that purpose well in advance of the holidays.
3. Create a Gift List
Perhaps one of the most stressful parts of the holidays is creating a gift list and purchasing everything on it. First, go through and write down the names of everyone you need to purchase items for. Really think hard about this and include people like teachers, neighbors, and employees. Include everyone, even the little ones because they will factor into your budget on the next step. You can’t even begin setting a budget for yourself until you have this comprehensive list complete.
4. Set a Budget
Now that your gift list is complete, go back through each person and create a budget for their total shopping. When you reach the end, tally up the total and see if that number is something that is comfortable for you. If not, go back and adjust individual budgets accordingly. It is a good idea to add a little bit of a buffer to allow for taxes or price fluctuations. Staying on budget is one of the easiest ways to relieve holiday stress.
5. Brainstorm Gift Ideas
With your budget in place, brainstorm what you want to purchase for each person. Look up prices online to make sure you are roughly within your budget for those items. Knowing what you are going to purchase for each person will seriously cut down on the amount of time you have to spend out shopping. You may even be able to purchase some of the items online and save yourself the gas.
6. Create a List of Stores
Once your grocery list and gift ideas list is complete, use them to make a list of stores you need to go to and what you need from each one. When you start with a great list, you can ensure you don’t have to go back to the same store multiple times to get everything you need.
7. Make Sure You Have Plenty of Gift Wrap
Nothing is worse that staying up late on Christmas Eve and running out of wrapping paper, tape, or tissue paper. Stock up on lots of these items. If you have leftovers, you can always use them the following year. When it comes to gift wrap, you should have:
- Transparent Tape
- Wrapping Paper
- Ribbons & Bows
- Gift Tags
- Gift Bags
- Garment Boxes
- Sharpie Pen
8. Set Aside a Prep Day
Getting the house ready for guests can be a big undertaking. Schedule a day that you can spend cleaning, arranging furniture, setting up the Christmas tree and decorations, and preparing guest rooms. When you are rushed to get things done, the stress level escalates quickly. When you have a whole day to work through everything, it is done at a much calmer pace.
9. Ask for Help
If you are hosting friends and family at your house for the holidays, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If someone asks you what they can bring, assign them small things that would make your life easier. Drinks, desserts, and little side dishes are all things you can dole out to others.
10. Leave the Day After Christmas for Relaxation
When the holidays are finally over, you are owed a day of complete relaxation. Plan a low-key day and enjoy the time with family. Take clean up at a nice, slow pace and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to restore your home to normal too quickly. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the holiday itself, not what gifts are given or what food is served. We are wishing you a very happy and stress-free Christmas.
About Philip Travers