This can be a stressful time of year, no doubt about it.
To help you to get things done, keep your cool, and have a good time, here are my top 3 happy-holiday strategies.
1. Do less
Doing less is your single best strategy for avoiding stress and enjoying the season.
Look for things to simplify:
- Buy fewer gifts – do a Secret Santa so everyone only has to buy a gift for one person
- Send e-cards instead of buying, writing, addressing and posting paper cards
- Buy gifts or gift certificates online (have you seen mine?) rather than fighting the crowds and choices at the mall
- Simplify the decorating – or delegate it to the kids
- Simplify the cooking – dine out, cater in, buy ready-made, cook in advance, spread the dishes around, or opt for trusty old fave recipes that won’t raise your blood pressure
- Only accept invitations to parties and events you want to attend
- Only extend invitations if you enjoy entertaining
- Schedule time for yourself – perhaps a bubble bath, novel, magazine, or DVD.
Once you’ve decided what you need to do (ie, less), write it down. Use my interactive Christmas To-Do List. You can type into this template and save it to your computer, or print out and write on it. Either way it’s re-usable.
(This list is from my Home Organizing Worksheets.)
To get yours, scroll down to ‘Christmas To-Do List’ on my Resources page.
2. Expect less
There’s a lot of pressure on everyone this time of year – and it’s easy to feel disappointed that your family or your holidays don’t match the ones on the Christmas specials.
But you’ll have a better chance of a happy holiday if you lower your expectations:
- Tell your spouse/significant other exactly what you’d like for Christmas. Or buy it yourself. Either way, you’ll get what you want.
- Accept that many people have had a tough year, and the holidays may be their opportunity to let off steam. They’re not trying to spoil your Christmas. Love them anyway.
3. Notice the good stuff more
Whether it’s the kids in your home, the lights in your neighborhood, or the love in your friends, there will be moments to treasure.
Don’t be too busy or distracted to notice them.
So that’s it: Do less, expect less, notice more. You’ll be much more likely to have happier holidays.