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The holidays are a fun time of year, but they can also create stress if you allow them to clutter your home and schedule. You may be overwhelmed by the combined demands of things like cards, shopping, gift-wrapping, decorating, cooking and travel. Fortunately, these tips can help you get organized and enjoy the season:
1. Set Priorities
Don’t try to do everything; decide what really matters and focus on it. Is it really important to decorate the outside of your house or travel long distances for a party? The answers are different for each person. Some priorities to consider:
- Mailing paper cards
- Giving thoughtful gifts
- Preparing a holiday feast
- Donating to charity
2. Send Cards Soon
If you choose to mail paper holiday cards, be sure to buy, write, address and send them early. Otherwise, they might arrive late or create stress as you hurry at the last minute. It’s wise to mail them by December 17 (earlier if you send any overseas).
3. Be Flexible
Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your traditions. Maybe it’s time for some new music, movies or decor. Around one out of four people decorate for the holidays before late November, according to Martha Stewart’s website. Do what works for you and your family, not what your grandparents or “most people” do.
4. Simplify Gifting
Take the time to plan ahead before you shop. Write lists, set a budget and resist temptations to overspend. It can be stressful to find one ideal gift for each person. Consider giving a few small presents instead. This way, it isn’t a huge problem if the recipient doesn’t like one item.
5. Wrap Efficiently
After buying gifts, wrapping paper and clear tape, set aside a special wrapping area in your home. It should provide plenty of space and be free of unrelated clutter. You’ll need scissors, labels and a pen or marker. Some pleasant holiday music might make the task more enjoyable.
6. Remember to Relax
Don’t let this time of year become too hectic. Regardless of how many things you still need to do, always devote some time to relaxation each day. You could watch an old film, read a novel, do yoga or draw with colored pencils.
7. Stay Healthy
It’s easy to forget normal healthy habits during the holiday season. Many people also eat and drink more than usual. You’ll feel better if you remember to exercise, prepare nutritious meals and sleep at least seven hours. Drinking enough water can also make a big difference.
8. Forgo Perfection
While perfection may seem common in magazines and TV shows, few people really have the time and money needed to achieve it. No reasonable person truly cares if your cards, gift-wrapping or decorations are flawless. A decent effort to make things presentable is quite sufficient.
Finally, remember to concentrate on the true meaning of this special time of year. The holidays weren’t created with retail “doorbusters” in mind. Reflect on what really matters in life, and take some time to brighten the lives of people around you.