Ready or not? The holidays are here. It’s that time of year where your favorite stores have fantastic sales, distant relatives ring to say hello, and you’re stuck between Grandma’s turkey or meeting your new beau’s family. Stomach meet butterflies, butterflies meet stomach. If you’re anything like me the holidays make you more than a little bit queasy in the stomach. Suddenly your social calendar fills up, workload triples, and your to do list seems almost impossible to complete over the weekend. Call me crazy, but the holidays make me as nervous as my learning to drive at sixteen. Luckily, I’m happy to share five tips that will not only simplify your life during the holidays. But, will make every upcoming holiday feel like a cool summer breeze in July.
The holidays are not all about a great sale believe it or not.
1) Meditate/Pray.: The holidays can be a bit overwhelming for all of us. Don’t allow the stress to consume your life. Center yourself and begin to pray or meditate.
2) Make your shopping list two months early.: Preparation is key in success. Plan early and keep in mind a small budget just for the holidays.
3) Send Christmas Cards virtually.: We live and thrive in tech savvy world, don’t make the holidays an exception. Send warm wishes with a sweet e-card.
4) Buy small gifts at a time.: If you have a few picky people to shop for this holiday season. Start small. For example, if your little sister is obsessed with starting an online mark-up business. A gift card to her favorite make up store will put a smile on her face.
5) Shop deals online.: Browsing online has never been so much fun during the holidays. Get more bang for your buck when you sign up such websites as shopgirldaily.com .
6) Download apps.: Deals! Deals! Deals! So many deals, so little time. Make your money work twice as hard for you this holiday season. Download apps such as Shopkick, to capture deals at your favorite stores like Target and Walmart.
7) Open a savings account specifically for the holidays. : Who says a few dollars put away for a rainy day doesn’t make life easier? No one. Every penny counts. Throw that spare change and few dollars into a special jar and label it Christmas money. You’ll be surprised how much you walk away with in the end!
8) Politely decline invites.: Invitations are nice, but you don’t have to attend them all. You don’t want to burn yourself out before the new year countdown party. Pace yourself.
9) Mark your calendar for the holidays.: If you’re a goal-oriented person, allow the holiday to become a celebratory event in your life. Check off your budget. Pre-order that special bracelet for mom. Plan some time off for the family Christmas Party.
10) Do something nice for yourself. : The holidays are all about showering those in our life with love and gifts. Don’t forget to include yourself on that list. If a cup of coffee from Starbucks puts a smile on your face, go for it.
11) Recycle ornaments from Christmas past.: Call me crazy or what have you. I love Christmas ornaments especially the ones from previous Christmases. Save a little on Christmas decorations and thank yourself later.
12) Start a Christmas Shopping Club in the office.: If you’re in an office environment with other mom’s or young people. A Christmas Shopping Club will go a long way of helping each other keep a budget, plan a family dinner, or save a few dollars.
13) Give books as gifts.: Have you read a great book and want to share it with friends and family. Books make great gifts for all ages. A good book last a lifetime.
14) Visit family and friends early in the month.: Big families can be a big challenging during the holidays. We don’t want to forget anyone this holiday season. Share a little love with a phone call or a surprise visit.
15) Create a weekly task list to keep you on task.: Kids, work, friends, and family oh my! Create a weekly task list of all the things that need to get done sooner than later. That way you won’t feel like you tackling a mountain instead of a hill.
16) Make the holidays fun by creating games with your children.: Kids love the holidays twice as much as adults. Let them join in on the fun from tree decorations party, make a game of sharing positive thoughts, or guess whose cooking dinner tonight.
17) When in doubt sip wine, unplug, and relax.: If Olivia Pope can conquer Washington and make time for wine and popcorn, you can too.
18) Organize a family meeting.: If you’re from a tight knit family, organize a family meeting before the holidays arrive. Planning and delegating tasks will smooth out the transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
19) Personalize holiday gifts.: Nothing says I love you like a personalized gift such as a family photo or a monogram briefcase for your spouse.
20) Get plenty of rest before the holiday arrives.
21) Plan a staycation with your beau.: Family and friends are forever. Don’t forget about your partner. Depending on where you are in your relationship, it may not be time to meet your future relatives. Don’t allow the holidays to separate you. Plan a simple and sweet weekend indoors between you and beau.
22) Avoid big sale events at stores.: The only thing that makes the holidays more stressful are long lines and out of stock inventory. If possible, avoid big sale events and order in advance.
23) Eliminate last minute task.: Shopping or cooking last minute will make your head spin. Conquer the day by planning, making a list, check it twice, and always get more than enough.
24) Get an accountability buddy for the holidays.: Have you ever heard of an accountability partner for working out or meeting life goals? The holidays are no exception. Grab your best girlfriend and plan a budget. Swap recipes. Hold you accountable for your holiday budget. Above all else, keep you calm and cute during the holidays.
25) Create a safe and warm cheery place inside your home.: The holiday magic begins inside your home. If you’re single buy a small Christmas tree, decorate your dining table with festival plate settings, light holiday scented candles, and play your favorite Christmas music.
26) Post positive affirmations through your home and workplace.: Not everyone is lucky to have that special someone still in their lives. Positive affirmations go a long way for your mental health. Keep your spirits up by surrounding yourself with people who love and care for you. Or spend some time giving back to your community.
27) Give free hugs to those closest to you.: I like a good hug. Big, small, long, or short I’ll take them all. Hugs are free and people love them. Give as many as possible this holiday season. There good for you, promise.
28) Start a new hobby.: The holidays are a great time to start a new hobby. If you’re tight on cash and you have a skillset for knitting. Put your hobby to good use and give a memorable gift from your heart.
29) Take plenty of photos.: The most important part of the holiday season is creating memories. Don’t allow the search for the perfect gift to make you miss a moment kissing your grandmother, sharing a laugh, or watching your little cousins grow up before your eyes.
30) Minimize your shopping list.: If you’re working part time and thinking of all the people on your shopping list this holiday season to purchase gifts for soon. Don’t fret. People will understand if you will just have to share a Merry Christmas and buy something next year. Be cost effective and spend your money wisely.
No matter how old you are or how much you have on your budget this holiday season, remember one thing. Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s true. Allow the spirit of family and friends of who you spend birthdays. Anniversary’s, break up’s or promotion with throughout the year to surround you with love. Often we allow the pressure to make others happy with material things that express our gratitude for how much they mean to us. Truthfully, material things are just that things. Things that will break, gather dust, or become passed down eventually. Remind yourself that we only get this one life and we want to make it as special as possible. Don’t allow sales, stress, overtime at work, and loneliness to silence your Christmas spirit. Kissing underneath the mistletoe, unwrapping gifts, sharing a slice of grandma’s peach cobbler or moments that you can’t rewind. Those special moments are priceless and unforgettable. Make this holiday season magical by simplifying your life from beginning to end.