The holidays are a magical time of year, but they can be stressful. Lands’ End is here to help! Let’s look at some ways to make the holiday season stress-free.
There is never enough time to do everything during the holidays, but there is time to do important things. This is why it is so important to prioritize the things you love and say “no” to those you don’t. Take at least an hour with a cup of tea and your favorite women’s loungewear and make a “yes list” and a “no list” in advance of the holiday season.
Is having a family feast important to you, but sending out snail mail holiday cards not so much? Do you love the ritual of sending holiday cards but would rather go to a restaurant or order takeout instead of planning, preparing, and serving a big meal? What about holiday parties? Do you and your partner love hosting a big get-together, or would you rather have a few close friends over coffee and dessert while wearing jeans and Christmas sweaters? Are there religious or community events that are important to you? Listen to your heart and know that saying “no” to some things will create space and time for what is most important to you.
The calendar always seems to move fast at the end of the year! Once you have decided what is most important to you, schedule those activities in your calendar. Just as important, make some downtime, too. Maybe you block off Saturday mornings because you like to sleep in, toss on your favorite women’s activewear and go to the gym, take a walk by yourself, or read a good book. Perhaps you want to be done with holiday activities by a certain time each evening on work nights to make sure you are well-rested for the next day. Treat these appointments as being just as important as any other obligation on your calendar. If you have small children or a demanding job, this can be challenging. Get as creative as you can (and enlist the help of others) to make it happen.
If you enjoy certain holiday tasks, make a special occasion out of them. For example, if you like wrapping holiday gifts, start shopping early and block off an entire evening (at least a week earlier than necessary) for gift wrapping. Gather all your supplies, put on a pot of tea, turn on some holiday music, and enjoy your relaxing gift-wrapping project.
If you love baking and making things yourself, go for it, but also give yourself the gift of time where you will appreciate it most. View services like your grocery store delicatessen, your neighborhood bakery, and stores or delivery services that wrap gifts as your assistants for the month of December. If you will be hosting the holidays this year (and even if you’re not), perhaps a one-time house cleaning a week or two in advance would be a great way to save some time.
Ask your family members to share the load as well. Set an example for your kids by having family discussions about who will be doing what concerning cleaning, decorating, and shopping. Resist the urge to do everything yourself because you know how you like it done. Have them get the Christmas decorations out of the attic. If your teenager has a driver’s license, have them go shopping (with a detailed list) or pick up their grandparents.
We often think of self-care as getting a mani-pedi or a massage or buying new cosmetics. These are nice treats, but don’t forget the most essential forms of self-care, such as getting enough sleep, staying well-hydrated, eating nutritious food, and not overscheduling yourself. Self-care takes more work around the holidays, so plan for it. Have water bottles and grab-and-go healthy snacks such as fresh fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and cheese sticks at the ready. Set an electronic curfew when screen time for the evening will be over, and stick to it.
Plan your wardrobe (including laundry, dry-cleaning, and ironing). Clean and polish your shoes at the beginning of the season so they will look nice when you want to wear them. It can be great to hang an entire outfit together in a garment bag in your closet. Business travelers sometimes do this—keeping everything from lingerie to dress pants to blouses to jewelry in one place. Stock up when you go to the grocery store to make sure you won’t run out of toiletries at the last minute—pick up everything from toothpaste to razors to mascara.
With a bit of planning, you can enjoy everything that you love about the holidays and still stay stress-free. Have a warm and wonderful holiday season!