Eight Tips for a Low-Stress Holiday

This year more than last, at least in my opinion, people seem to be more up in arms about the use of the term “Merry Christmas” and other tidbits. I don’t really care what you say to me to wish me a good holiday, but these are the kinds of things that add such unwarranted stress to the season. Actually, most of the stresses of the season are self-imposed. If you’re looking to reduce the pressure this year, consider the following tips:

  • You don’t have to do any of it. If putting up decorations, baking, etc. is not your thing, then don’t do it. Most people who complain about “having” to do things are doing them out of obligation or pressures they put on themselves or because of societal influences. Of course, if you have young children, they may be counting on some traditional stuff, and that’s understandable. But if you find yourself dreading a seasonal activity and it’s really not important to you or your kids, then don’t do it. And stop feeling guilty about it! A friend of mine had a tough time getting around to taking down and packing up her tree and decorations last year. It turned out well because this year, everything was already out and ready for her to put the tree back up!
  • Consider only getting gifts for the kids. Some adults love to shop for that perfect gift. More power to them/you! But if your list is super-long, pare it down by suggesting that the adults not exchange gifts. You’d be surprised at how much relief you’ll get and give via this suggestion. I tossed that out a few years ago to my family and friends and all of them exhaled and said, “What a great idea!”
  • Online shopping is a wonderful, less-stressful way to find and buy the gifts you do need to get. If you’re not a fan of crowds, what could be better than sitting in your own home, “browsing the shelves?” Plus, you can find the most unique gifts online. Just make sure you buy from sites that start with “https:” as that indicates a secure site. Also, never use your debit card to buy online. Always use a credit card! If something does go wrong and your information falls into the wrong hands, dealing with a credit card company offers you a lot more protection than having to work with your personal bank.
  • Gift cards are not lame. They allow the recipient to buy what he/she really wants and almost every store in the country offers them! It is so much easier to buy a gift card than try to guess what someone wants.
  • Suggest that the people you do buy for create Wish Lists on Amazon.com. They can even add things from other stores! This is another way to make shopping quick, easy and effective.
  • Consider buying a heat-and-eat meal if you’re hosting a gathering. Randall’s and Luby’s are just two places that offer complete meals for around $50 – and they actually taste great!
  • Another party tip is to consider having it catered! Many restaurants offer reasonably-priced catering and some even come set everything up for you! Check with your favorite eatery to see if they offer this service.
  • Stay away from negative news, social media, etc. It only fuels your inner perfectionistic voice and/or adds negative energy to your soul.

Society tells us that everything must be homemade, lit up, wrapped in pretty bows and perfect. We all know that perfect doesn’t exist. If you decide to try some of these tips, just remember that you’re taking care of yourself, and that’s the best gift you can give to yourself, and by extension, to others! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus and Happy Holidays!

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