A recent Mattel survey finds that parents experience holiday stress and will spend a full business day Christmas shopping for each child. Are you still recovering from over spending last Christmas or holiday season? Are you looking for ways to avoid holiday stress? We've got some great holiday stress relief tips for you to help you find your way to a more joyful and relaxed holiday season.
There was a time I had my holiday and Christmas shopping done in October, and holiday cards with pictures were sent to friends and family. Then life got busier and then I couldn't remember what I had bought and where I put it. Every year seemed to get a little bit worse. Seriously, I moved once and found Christmas presents that I never gave - they were hidden and I forgot about them.
So here is what I've learned over the years.
- Have a Christmas budget. Start saving all year. If you earn some extra cash that you want to use for Christmas, add it to this fund. I set up a savings account just for holidays and birthdays. Check out this link for a Holiday Planner. It is awesome. If you don't have a holiday budget, no worries - start now. What can you contribute for September through December. Don't go into debt to pay for Christmas and don't use January funds to pay off December holiday spending. Do what you can now to cover your holiday spending. Seriously this really helps holiday stress management.
- Avoid overspending during the holidays. This will cut down on the stress and you will enjoy the season so much more. When all is said and done the amount of money spent on holiday preparations and gifts pale in comparison to the joy of spending time together.
- Plan Ahead - this will save you time and money. When you shop intentionally, you save money. Waiting until the last minute you will buy what you can get your hands on and impulsively. Another great way to help you with managing your holiday stress.
- Make lists. Write down all the people you want to shop for. And guess what? There are apps for this and spreadsheets and so many tools out there to help you get more organized for Christmas. You don't have to re-invent the wheel. Your lists should include who you want to shop for, what you want to get done during the holidays, and how you want to celebrate.
- Gifts - If you start now thinking of ideas you'll have a better chance at getting the right gifts. Many retailers put things on sale now. Watch what people say and are interested for clues as to what to get them. Write it down - generate ideas. Talk to their friends. You'll be amazed at what a little observation will tell you. If you find that perfect gift - don't wait until December to get it. Carry your list around with you and write down your ideas. You never know where that great Christmas gift idea will come from.
- When planning for this holiday season, you'll naturally generate ideas for next year. And on December 26th you can start shopping then.
- Themed gift ideas are nice ideas too. For example if they have an interest in art, then each gift can have something in common.
- Also themed from year to year. I once won a bet with my father that I could solve a Rubik's Cube in less than 10 minutes. Well that was the fall. Guess what I got for Christmas that year - that's right another Rubik's Cube variation. And every year after that I got another more challenging puzzle to solve. It kept that memory of winning a bet against my father alive and not only did I get a cool gift - I got to experience that feeling of winning each year. My parents had an easy gift lined up for me each year. I don't remember too many of the gifts I got growing up, but I do remember and will always remember those.
- We gave my father-in-law silly dancing figurines. Well he loved the first one so much, that all during the next year we hunted down another goofy and majorly silly dancing objects and had so much fun doing that - and he really looked forward to what we were going to find.
- Remember your budget with gifts. Sometimes money is tight - that is just a reality. For a special gift one year, we didn't have the money so we made a jar of quotes and memories. The whole family had a blast doing this. We typed them up and put them in a decorated jar and gave them to the special person. They loved it and each day they get to experience that gift over and over. You can't put a price on that kind of value.
- Mark's mother one year gave us a collection of family stories like one that we found out his great grand-father was kidnapped by Indians and had to be traded for blankets and sugar. We had so much fun that Christmas reading stories. My father recorded himself reading books to my kids. They loved that! They got to listen to papa - who lived far away - reading bed time stories. My mother made me a small quilted blanket for my dolls from old scraps of material. It is still one of my treasured items.
- Wrap gifts as you buy them or plan a night to wrap gifts. We started planning a night a week before Christmas that we watched a movie we had already seen (so we didn't have to pay attention to closely) and made a fun night of wrapping - no stress as Christmas was still a week away. I spent too many years being awake all night trying to figure out how to assemble something or ran out of wrapping paper or whatever and then getting 2 hours of sleep.
- Make a list of what you want to get done during the holidays - and be realistic. Do you want to send out Christmas cards? Go on vacation? Decorate your house? There are no rules - it is just up to you.
- Now that you have a list - get help from those around you.
- Some of the greatest advise I got - 'Have a cut off point'. You have to decide when you will stop preparing and start celebrating. Stick to it.
- How do you want to celebrate Christmas and the holidays? This is real important and it is totally up to you. Imagine right now how you want to feel on that special day no matter what holiday your celebrating. Who do you want around you? Really connect to that feeling. Is is joy? Is it excitement? Is it peace? Whatever it is - write that down. Describe your day. Right that down. Now start working on your lists. Do the 2 add up? Do you lists look like they will take you to the description of that day? If not spend some time fixing that.
- Create memories and traditions
- Do something out of the ordinary and different. It will keep everyone talking about it all year.
No one said you had to bake, send cards, make homemade gifts, decorate your house, and all that jazz. So if you don't want to or don't have time, then don't. One year we moved right on Thanksgiving. We had to settle and eat in a hotel for Thanksgiving dinner I didn't have a house. I was disappointed at first. Turned out - it was one of the best Thanksgiving days ever. No stress - no baking - just family time and enjoying our new community. Take some control back with these simple holiday stress management ideas.
So start now planning ahead just a little at a time. You'll be so glad you did. Remember step #8 - think about your special day and you'll get there. Plan ahead using these holiday stress relief tips for a more peaceful and relaxing season.
One of the reasons we opened Indigo Mountain: Wellness, Toys & Gifts was to help others enjoy Christmas and Holiday shopping a little more. We had a hard time finding good gifts for our kids and wanted to open a toy store that had just what we were looking for. So now we have our own specialty toy store. If you don't want to spend 8 hours or more shopping for each kid on your list, contact us. Whether you come in person to our store or call us over the phone, Mark is our Toymaster and he can help rescue you. He'll help you with a budget and go through what we have available in our store and through all our catalog sources. We have kids of all ages, 7 of them now aged 25 to 9 years old with 4 boys and 3 girls. We've got you covered. Your shopping advice and help is FREE. So take advantage of the unique shopping experience only an experienced dad and toymaster can offer. You can also schedule some time with Kally for your personal coaching session for managing holiday stress. Many have and are very happily planning for the holidays this year.
Connect with me on Facebook and let me know how you are doing. Leave a comment below if you have a super duper holiday stress relief tip or a great way you plan on managing holiday stress.
Kally and Mark
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