Somewhere between the entertaining, the christmas shopping, the trips to visit relatives, and putting up the Christmas tree, the holiday season can become a blur. With our first Christmas as a family of three upon us, I am vowing to simplify some of the chaos of the season, so we can enjoy our time together. Here are 12 tips to make your holiday a little less stressful.
1. Shop at Random Times of Day
If you are not a fan of crowds, like myself, plan your shopping accordingly. To make the most of your time, head out to shop after you put your little one down for bed. Many stores are open extra late during the holiday season. Take advantage of the extended hours and you will limit the long check-out lines and parking lot madness.
2. Forget The China
The China you received as a wedding gift? Keep it in the cabinet and opt for paper plates. Sure your China is beautiful, but if you are in a pinch for entertaining, the paper plates are a whole lot easier when it comes to cleaning.
3. Free Recipient Addressing for Christmas Cards
One of the biggest time savers when it comes to holiday preparations is Minted's free recipient addressing service for christmas cards. Not only are their holiday cards gorgeous, but their envelopes are as well. Their designs are all created by independent artists from across the globe who are discovered by Minted in design competitions. So your envelopes can now be as eye-catching as the cards. By simply importing your address list when ordering your holiday cards, Minted prints them on the envelopes. When they arrive, you can simply stamp and send. It doesn't get much better than that. We ordered this card, but I'm also obsessing over how cute this botanical card is and this year in review card. (Save 15% with code: CHEER15)
4. Stock Your Pantry
With the holidays, comes food--lots of food. Stock your home now with the basics like flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. These items tend to be in nearly every recipe this time of year. Having them on hand may save you a trip to the store.
5. Budget Now
One of the biggest stresses of the holiday season can be the financial stress. Make a budget for gift giving and stick with it. Write it out and update it with each purchase.
6. Play Some Christmas Tunes
Did you know listening to music can lower stress hormones and your blood pressure? If you start feeling a bit like a Grinch this season, try playing the Pandora holiday radio station. The mix of classic carols and familiar tunes can be an instant pick-me-up.
7. Plan Your Outfits Now
Holiday events are inevitable. Rather than frantically searching your closet for an outfit to wear, buy 1-2 festive frocks now that can be pulled out for holiday celebrations. I plan on using this dress all season!
8. Keep a Stash of Last Minute Gifts
It's inevitable that at some point during the holiday season, you will receive a gift from someone you weren't expecting. Whether it's a new friend, your co-worker, or a mom from the carpool line, having a couple of easy-to-give gifts on hand will help. Think of something universal, like a pretty candle or letter-pressed set of stationary.
9. Host a Gift Wrapping Night
If you are one who spends Christmas Eve frantically wrapping up gifts, consider hosting a gift wrapping evening with your girlfriends a few nights earlier. Christmas Eve is a special day and locking yourself up to wrap gifts is no fun. Invite your girlfriends over, have everyone bring a couple of rolls of wrapping paper, bust out a bottle of wine and have a night checking the gift wrapping off the list.
10. Avoid the Grocery Store
"Tis the season for empty shelves and long lines. Plan your meals ahead and order your groceries online. Walmart stores in some areas offer free online grocery ordering when you spend $35+. All you have to do is pull up to the side of the store, call the number and they will bring your groceries out and load them in your car. Your little one can stay in their car seat and you can save a lot of time. I've never been a big Walmart shopper, but this service has changed that a bit.
11. Buy, Don't Bake
If baking isn't your gig, don't try to be Betty Crocker for the holidays. The grocery stores are loaded with tasty treats this time of year. Spend your time on something you enjoy and grab a pre-made pie at the store instead of getting frustrated in the kitchen. You can even spice up your store bought dessert. Sam's Club shared a great #thanksgivinghack using store bought pumpkin pies and a biscuit cutter to create miniature pies.
12. Have Fun!
Most importantly, have fun! Eliminate those holiday tasks that you dread and try to enjoy this special time with your little family.