Avoiding the Holiday Rush
Give yourself the best holiday gift of all: Let yourself enjoy the holiday season while minimizing the stress that is often at its peak at this time of the year. Take it upon yourself to regroup and set priorities so that you can enjoy this time with your family and friends. Remember, your children can rarely remember what they received last year, but they always remember the traditions, excitement and fun.
Make a List: Check It Twice
Well before the holidays begin, treat yourself to an afternoon break at your favourite coffee shop and sit down and make a holiday list. If you are throwing a party, then write down what you need to do. If you are attending parties, reflect on whether you need to buy a new outfit or take something in your closet to the dry cleaners to be freshened up. Give yourself permission to say “no” to some events. Decide ahead of time what is important to you, and set your priorities so that you can feel comfortable turning down some of those parties or activities that don’t interest you. Go through each and every day on your calendar and write a ‘to do’ list for every activity or event. Finally, while you are enjoying your second cup of coffee, write down the names of the people you are buying for and ideas on what to purchase. Have your children write their wish list now as well.
Purchase all of your gifts three weeks before the holidays. This way, you can avoid the overcrowded malls, lack of parking and inclement weather. Remember, shopping online is always a nice option as well! Just get it done well in advance so that one item you must buy isn’t sold out. Or maybe this year you would like to buy all your gifts from local merchants, or at community craft fairs. Whatever you choose, make a plan!
Have you ever tried to wrap your gifts at the last minute and find out that the tape is missing? Or you have run out of wrapping paper? Just the thought sends us into panic overload. This year, wrap the gifts two weeks before the holiday and make it an event. Listen to holiday music while enjoying a favourite beverage to make it as pleasant as possible. Hide and store the gifts in a safe place or put under the tree. Just remember to leave some gift-wrapping supplies for those in your household who leave everything to the last minute!
Of course, it wouldn’t be ‘the holidays’ without food. Set up your menus and create a shopping list. If you are having a potluck, ask guests what they are bringing and confirm with an email. If you have a grocery store that delivers, by all means, consider this option! Make it easy on yourself and order any prepared dishes from your favorite restaurant or deli in advance. Involve family in helping create those traditional favourites that are enjoyed each year.
Finally, If Stress comes Calling:..
Recognize when you are feeling stretched too thin. Make it a point to do something to replenish your energy when your energy and patience are low. Whether it be curling up with a good book or movie, or enjoying an afternoon with a friend, take a breather. Make important personal appointments, such as massage or spa treatments well in advance so you have something special to look forward to.