11 Smart Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Anyone who knows me realizes that as soon as Thanksgiving is over, I’ll be fully immersed in everything Christmas. I happen to be one of the planet’s most serious Christmasaholics. Are you one, too? It’s not terribly unusual to hear strains of Jingle Bells coming from the vicinity of my desk or to catch wiffs of cinnamon, chocolate and peppermint all around my home.

Fortunately for me (and for my family) I have found some ways over the years to keep holiday overload at a minimum. Trying to do “too much Christmas” can up anyone’s stress level. My goal is to always have as many things done by Thanksgiving week. This way I fully enjoy the spirit of the season and the joy December has to offer.

How can the season of jingle bells, silver bells, and sleigh bells cause less stress? Here’s a few ideas to inspire that have worked well for me. Hopefully adopting one, a few, or all of these tips will help you create a much more enjoyable December, too!

Address Christmas cards early

Update your address list. Get out the envelopes and start addressing them. Sign your cards and include a personal note. If you want to include a newsletter or individual notes, they can be added later.

All your envelopes can be addressed and cards signed before Thanksgiving, making it a lot easier to mail them out in a timely fashion before Christmas. Now is a good time to pick up stamps from the post office, too, so you aren’t scrambling for them or waiting in long lines during December.

Take advantage of pre-holiday sales

While you are out shopping for Thanksgiving, you’ll find plenty of staple items on sale like chocolate chips and pumpkin pie filling. Save money with those sales. Buy the non-perishables you need for Christmas baking and Christmas dinner now. Also think about things like napkins, plates, storage containers and so on. Plenty of things are on sale right now.

When you stock up, you won’t need to worry about forgetting something at the last minute. You also won’t have to worry about the store being out of the products you need or having to deal with large holiday shopping crowds later.

11 Smart Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Gift shop now!

If these tips would be in order of importance, for many, this should first. Buy gifts as early as possible, starting right now. Selection is best prior to Thanksgiving. There’s also plenty of early sales going one. You might save an extra dollar or two by waiting, but more-often, you’ll find stores run out of those deep discount items quick. Then you have to go back to square one to find something else to gift.

If you’re order from crafters like those on Etsy or local sources, the best time to order is right now. By December, they’ll be hard-pressed to get you the gift on time, especially if any personalization is involved. Plus, the mail system is already slow. It will continue to get slower throughout the holiday season as the volume being shipped increases.

Also, wrap gifts when they are bought. My goal is always to have the bulk of Christmas gifts wrapped by the weekend after Thanksgiving. This way, December is fun and devoid of the stress of last minute shopping and wrapping.

Shop local and shop online

Local sources are fantastic for holiday shopping. Small businesses tend to have smaller crowds and they all offer great selections and deals. When you shop local, you’re also directly helping your community.

You’re also gifting something very special. A generic candle from a big box store doesn’t quite have the same personal touch as a candle from a local candlemaker. Local shops are also well in tune with local trends including scents, flavors, sports teams and more. So you can truly find unique and clever gift ideas.

Shopping online is handy for reducing stress as you avoid crowd and save plenty of time. Also look for discount coupon codes. There are so many awesome deals as the holidays get closer. Many places have codes for free shipping or a discount percentage off.

Re-think your holiday baking

Don’t knock yourself out baking half a dozen or more kinds of Christmas cookies. Choose one or two kinds to bake. Bake extra of them and get together with a few friends doing the same for a cookie exchange.

Cookie exchanges are a great stress reducer and the family gets to try lots of variety. Plus, you get to spend an awesome holiday day with friends!

Do less!

Most people love Christmas, but if we prioritize and start with the things that are most meaningful or most fun, it really won’t matter as much if it doesn’t all get done. Allow breathing time! Christmas memories shouldn’t involve feelings of anxiety and stress.

Invite friends and family for a Christmas decorating party

If decorating for the holidays stresses you out, ask for help. Make a celebration of it. Have everyone bring snacks and just provide the beverages, music, and fun.

People love to help with lights, decorations, popcorn stringing… whatever you need done. You can also have a pizza party as “payment” and the house and yard will be decorated in no time.

Cozy up with your family

Don’t forget to make family time because that’s what the season is all about. If you have to, schedule time in your calendar. The key is to make it a priority. Spending quality time with the people we love is a total stress reliever.

Rent some of the Christmas classic movies and munch on popcorn. Hand out blankets. Make hot chocolate! It may just become a new Christmas tradition.

11 Smart Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Address your stress

Eating right, getting enough sleep, and keeping up with your wellness routines can be tough during the holidays. Sometimes you may need a little help help addressing your stress.

Studies show CBD helps people relieve stress and anxiety without interferring with things that need to get done. Kota Botanics has a “Bliss” formula that’s designed to help induce relaxation. Their organic, all natural blends taste great and may just offer you that little extra boost of calm you’re seeking.

They also have “Dream”, “Balance”, and “Energy” focused products. Everything you can think of to address your stress needs.

CBD products won’t make completing tasks more difficult; it will just make you feel less stressed out about doing them. It can interrupt the repetition of stressed thought patterns and make you feel calmer and more in charge of your thoughts. CBD gummies are a great product choice because they taste great, easily transportable, and produce relatively fast results.

Spend less

If at all possible, plan to save a little extra money toward credit card bills in December. It’s not really nice feeling the stress of a monster of a bill that arrives on December 20 unless you know you have a little extra saved for it.

For that matter, it could also be avoided by using cash when possible. Studies have revealed that people spend less when they use cash. It’s a great way to stay within your budget.

Cook and bake ahead

Make anything you can for Christmas dinner or the time leading up to the “big day” for the freezer. Many things freeze just fine including pies and cookies.

Of course some things need to be kept for the last minute, but an online search should give plenty of ideas of things that can be frozen ahead.

If you don’t want to freeze your holiday foods ahead of time, consider freezer prepping meals for the holidays. This will give you a great go-to on days when you just don’t have the time or energy to cook.

Barb Webb. Founder and Editor of Rural Mom, is an the author of "Getting Laid" and "Getting Baked". A sustainable living expert nesting in Appalachian Kentucky, when she’s not chasing chickens around the farm or engaging in mock Jedi battles, she’s making tea and writing about country living and artisan culture.
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