The holiday season is upon us and in every home frantic preparations are underway for the perfect execution of all things festive. But what if the stress and worry of all the planning and organisation is preventing you from actually enjoying your much deserved time with family and friends? Follow these five simple tips to take the hassle out of the holidays and put the enjoyment back into the season.
1. Make a list, check it twice
It may seem simple, but writing a list can be such an effective stress buster. Be it for gifts, food or errands and chores, make a list and check each item off as you get it or complete it. You'll be surprised at how quickly you can work through that seemingly impossible 'To Do' list. Not only will a list keep you focused on what you actually need to get or do, but you will also feel super organised when you complete it.
2. Say no (Politely)
When the holiday season comes around, so do the invitations to countless parties, functions and family gatherings. Even our children's schools are cashing in on the holiday spirit and enlisting their ever obliging parents to help with parties, performances and PTA events. Don't be afraid to say no. Prioritize the events that matter most, the ones you'll actually enjoy or the ones you really want to attend, and decline the rest. You do not have to attend every long lost family member's pre holiday party or bake cupcakes for every PTA extravaganza. Trying to be all things to all people will only leave you frazzled with very little of yourself left to give to those who matter most.
3. Be friends with your budget
No matter how much you may hate the word budget, it is not your enemy. It's all too easy to get carried away with holiday spirit and generosity. But remember, the holiday season is only temporary and the bills will still be there when the festivities have ended. Know your budget and stick to it. No present or party is worth getting into debt for, and genuine friends and family would prefer you didn't get yourself into financial difficulty on their account. If finances are tight, give the gift of your time. Good with kids or handy with a paintbrush? Offer your friend or relative your help instead. These are often the gifts that mean the most.
4. Prepare for disaster
Well maybe not disaster, but at least expect the unexpected. You may have your holiday season planned with the precision of a military operation; unfortunately, this will not stop the pipes from bursting or the boiler from breaking, just when you need it most. Gather the contact details of a few good emergency response services (emergency plumber, heating engineer etc), and keep them in a handy location, just in case. Nothing says happy holidays like soggy carpets or stone cold radiators.
5. And finally...relax
The holiday season is a great chance to remember the things that are most important to us all. Plan for a great time, sure, but don't let any little bumps in the road detract from the things that really matter. Of course, your family and friends will appreciate all the effort you go to, but all the trimming and tinsel will be pointless if you're too burnt out from stress and worry to really spend time with them and enjoy it. So if things go wrong, or even if they don't, sit back, relax and take good look around at the things that are the most irreplaceable of all—family and friends.