Although it may seem early, Christmas Day will be here before you know it! For many, the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year.
Planning is essential to creating a stress free holiday season.
What can you do to survive the season and come out the other end, fully intact?
1. Use your Holiday Planner
Hopefully you created a Holiday Planner after reading my blog post a couple of weeks ago.
It is a great tool to keep you organized throughout the holidays but you have to be disciplined and record ideas as they occur to you and then remember to refer to your notes frequently. Seems easy, I know, but if you just write down ideas and never refer to them then it simply doesn't work.
November is a great time to declutter your home for the holidays.
I recommend you go room by room and put away, donate or dispose of any items that are cluttering your space. If you set realistic goals and do a bit at a time, you’ll avoid feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.
3. Prepare your guest room ahead of time
It’s a good idea to address this area weeks before your guests arrive to help reduce some of the stress. Put away, donate or dispose of any items that do not belong. Tidy out the closet or dresser drawers so they are available for your guests.
Besides sharing your space with your guests, you’ll also be sharing your time. Ensure that you and your guests don’t feel like your schedule is too cluttered. Try to plan outings where everyone participates, as well as blocks of time specifically set aside for everyone to go their separate ways and choose their own activity, whether that’s taking a much needed nap or hitting the town for some last minute preparations.
If you extend authentic hospitality to your overnight guests, they’re sure to have an enjoyable and memorable visit.
4. Be prepared for last-minute holiday guests
Here are a few suggestions:
Gourmet Rice Chips (Riceworks)
Cheese - Havarti, Gouda, Cheddar, Brie...
Dried Fruit - Apricots, figs, dates
Gourmet Antipasto, chutneys & jellies (Artisan Edibles-Parksville, B.C.)
Olive medley or tapenade
Prosciutto or chorizo (grilled and cut into chunks)
Assortment of veggies and your favourite dip
Roasted nuts, or Sahale Snacks (glazed nut mix)
Frozen puff pastry appetizers to pop in the open at the last minute
Sweet treats - ready made frozen desserts (pre-sliced), biscuits or scones
A few bottles of wine
Non alcoholic sparkling beverage
Special coffee - bottle of Baileys Irish Cream with whipping cream!
Don't forget those festive holiday napkins!
5. Have some last minute gifts on hand
Have you ever found yourself in need of an emergency holiday gift?
Perhaps a co-worker bought you a gift or an unexpected guests dropped by or you were invited to a last minute get together and you need a hostess gift.
Whatever the case may be, be prepared this holiday season.
6. Take care of yourself
There is nothing worse than being run down or sick throughout the holidays, so make yourself a priority in order to stay happy and healthy.
Get done during the day what you have to get done and let the rest go.
Eat wisely when you can and keep a water bottle with you at all times.
Be sure to leave some time available to enjoy reading a book, looking at a magazine, spending time outdoors or taking a long bath. Whatever it is that you do to help keep yourself sane – make sure you keep doing it!
7. Organize your wrapping supplies
Don't be afraid to ask for help. Chances are you have some capable family members that aren't sure what you need unless you ask.
Delegate the tasks that you are comfortable letting go of.
Include details and straightforward instructions from the get-go to insure that your tasks are executed effectively.
Clearly articulate the desired outcome. ... communication is key!
9. Schedule some down time
While it may sound crazy, it is a good idea to schedule some down time.
The calendar can fill up quickly and running from one activity or event to another is just plain exhausting. Schedule some time to just stay home, relax, order a pizza and watch a Christmas movie or two.
If you have small children, it is even more important to take this down time. Tired kids and busy holiday activities do not mix – you are much better off to just a pick a couple of activities to do while they are rested than to take them to every Christmas parade and Santa viewing in town. Take this time to play a board game, decorate some cookies, make some crafts or read a seasonal story. In other words, make memories.
10. Focus on the Meaning of the Season
While the holidays may mean different things to different people we can all agree on a few things. No matter what our religious beliefs are, I think that we can all agree that this is a time for sharing quality time with loved ones, having a generous spirit, being thankful for all of our blessings and spreading the magic that can only be found at this most wonderful time of year.