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During the holidays you should feel festive and happy.
Not stressed and over worked. Wondering if everything is bought, prepared and wrapped. You shouldn’t be worrying if your guest list is growing or shrinking or if there will be enough food.
You should be enjoying every moment of the holiday season. Even the small ones.
The holidays are for special moment.
You know the ones I am talking about. Your child’s performance during the holiday play. Or that quiet moment you get to yourself to appreciate all you have while the little ones are sleeping.
Or that moment the entire family gathers together for a festive holiday meal. And all the small meaningful moments on the in between. Everyone’s holiday moments are different.
For me the special moments are when our entire family gathers together for the holidays and all the love and chaos that comes with it.
I also truly love all the holiday bedtime stories leading up and through the holiday season. You can find some great holiday books here.
Stress free holidays.
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. The decorations are hung, the bags are packed, the food is prepared and now it’s time to enjoy.
Or not? I know that some of you, as soon as, I mention the holidays you want to run in the other direction or just apply the cruise control.
And you know what, I get it after cooking dinner for 20+ people I totally get it.
Some years I just what to plan a simple small gathering without all the chaos, shopping, cooking and wrapping.
But in the end spending time with family and friends is important. And so is cooking all our favorite dishes. Christmas just wouldn’t be the same.
In an effort to help you enjoy a stress free holiday we have researched 21 hacks to help you have the best holiday possible.
21 Hacks For A Stress Free Holiday:
1. Pin these ideas so you can reference them later.
2. Throw out the shopping list.
Yes, your child may want the latest and greatest toy or your husband may want that new tool. But really what do they need and what can you afford.
I read an article last week about a family who were doing a strictly DIY holiday this year and I think it sounds great. Homemade gifts are great, frugal and meaningful.
3. Keep and extra few gifts on hand.
You never know when you maybe invited to a last minute party and need a hostess gift or you may have an extra guest at your dinner table in need of something under the tree.
Plan ahead and grab a few extra candles or a spare bottle of wine or extra gift card just in case.
4. Focus on what is important.
I will let you in on a little secret I use to send out over 100 holiday cards to all our family and friends. My Aunts were always amazed at how organized my holiday plans were but honestly getting everything done, mailed and hand written stressed me out. So I stopped.
I decided sending the cards wasn’t important and decided to do something more meaningful with my time.
5. Have some fun.
In all your planning, organizing, shopping, cooking and cleaning plan something fun to do as a family.
And this doesn’t have to be an expensive activity. Sometimes the cheapest activities are the most fun. Go sledding or for a walk in the park or enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and your favorite movie.
Or maybe your community is planning something festive during the holiday season. Laugh and smile it’s good for you.
6. Realize that everything doesn’t have to be perfect.
Perfect is boring and this comes from a former check everything twice holiday planner. So what if all your dinner dishes don’t match, it adds character.
And who cares if you decide to serve appetizers instead of dinner at 3 pm followed by a dessert bar. Holidays are meant to be unique and enjoyed not stressed over and perfect.
7. Hold onto your rituals.
If you have special things you do during the holidays do them. Don’t let the over planning stop you.
For instance in our house we have waffles, berries and coffee on Christmas morning. All of which is prepared the night before.
I also don’t cook dinner on Christmas Day. We order out! Our big family dinner is Christmas Eve so on Christmas Day we have a yummy take out dinner from our favorite restaurant in town.
Touring the light displays and visiting local festivities are also must do’s in our holiday planning.
8. Avoid the mall.
Yes, you read that right avoid the chaos. Last year was the first year that I ordered all my gifts online minus a few stocking stuffers and DIY gifts.
Can you hear all the stress floating away? Don’t get me wrong, shopping is great but the mall during the holidays NO WAY.
You can practically order just about anything online and have it shipped right to your door. I love Amazon and I will let you in on my shopping secret.
In the few months leading up to the holidays I surf the web with my husband and son and book mark all the stuff they say they might like.
Then one afternoon before the holidays I shop, click and purchase all the items without even leaving the house.
Bonus, it all arrives in boxes so no rummaging through bags to figure out who is getting what, no sneaking peaks. In fact I can store gifts in plan site and get away with it.
- 10+ Non-Toy Related Gifts
- Frugal Christmas On Little Or No Money
- 21 Gifts For Her Under $10
- 21 Gifts For Him Under $10
10. Ask the experts.
That’s why they are there. Every big box store and little boutique store has an in house expert there to help you with your gift and assembly questions.
For example, I know nothing about power tools but Home Depot has an expert on staff that can help answer my gift questions.
And most specialty toy stores will offer product assembly if you require. You will also find that most malls offer gift wrapping services to help save the time and hassle.
11. Don’t forget to ask for help.
In fact most guests would like to help prepare the meal or bring something to the party than arriving empty handed.
And those cookies you have been thinking about making I am pretty sure your kids would gladly help with the baking.
Divided it up and give everyone a job. Or make it a group activity, get everyone involved in the decorating.
12. Take advantage of time savers.
Nobody needs to know that you didn’t make that yummy chocolate cheesecake for dessert or that you had the mall wrap all your gifts or the outside lights were hung by the neighbor.
Take advantage of time savers. They are the prefect stress savers.
13. Use what’s on hand.
Sure the store holiday flyers are appealing and all that sparkly makes you want to go shopping but if you have all the decorations from last year who says you need to go buy more.
14. Do your pre-holiday dinner prep.
My Mom is famous for this, she precooks the holiday turkey and ham the day before our festivities so that she has more time to visit with our 20+ guests. We also do all the slicing and dicing of vegetables the day before.
If you can prepare part of the meal ahead of time do so. Also if you have time to DIY your gifts and do all the wrapping months before that saves you all the time and stress.
15. Keep it informal.
Let your holiday guests know that dinner is casual. This means no stressing about the what to wear. Let your home be inviting and stress free.
16. If you can set it and forget it do so.
You want the house to smell great during the holidays and you want fresh apple cider for drinking. Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and let it work it’s magic.
I have heard that Instant Pot mashed potatoes are the way to go. I love my Instant Pot it is a huge time saver. I will definitely be using it during the holiday season.
17. Prepare the furry family for guests.
Take the dog for a walk before guests arrive. Have their favorite treats on hand. Inform your new guests that an animal resides in the house so they won’t be surprised.
18. Make space for guests.
The holidays mean more guests, which means clearing some space for coats and shoes in the closet. It may also mean adding an extra bed and linens.
Make your guests stay as smooth and stress free as possible by making room ahead of time and having extra essentials on hand.
19. Stock up on staples.
Make sure your pantry staples are stocked for all the baking and making about to take place. Also stock up on all the essentials including toiletries and laundry soap. No one wants to go grocery shopping on Christmas Eve. At least nobody I know.
20. Draw up a budget and a plan.
Figure out what you can afford to do and how much you intend to spend on gifts. Are you throwing a big family dinner or a small appetizer open house tree lighting celebration.
21. Take time for you.
Remember to take some time for you in all the holiday preparations. Run a relaxing bath, take a yoga class, grab coffee with friends.
Relax and enjoy your holiday.
Updated November 8, 2019