The holidays are fast upon us. As moms, we’re going to have a lot of extra responsibilities from cooking Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner to decorating our homes. We will also be fighting long Black Friday lines to make sure we get our children the perfect gift from Santa. Managing all of this on top of hosting our families, balancing our budget, and doing our day-to-day chores, can quickly become overwhelming. The holidays are wonderful but even the most organized moms can feel the pressure of holiday stress.
So here are some tips to reduce your holiday stress, so that you can just relax and enjoy this amazing time of year with your family.
Don’t Take On Too Much
According to a recent survey by Think Finance, 45% of adults would prefer to skip Christmas all together. The reasons people want to skip the holiday included financial reasons, family stress, and they worry they don’t have enough time to do everything. Moms face a lot of pressures on the holidays from our families, but mostly, from ourselves. We want to make sure everyone has the perfect holiday and sometimes we don’t have the time or resources to do everything we’d like. Our natural inclination is to take on too much and then if we can’t meet those expectations, we feel stress. Instead, when planning the holidays think about what traditions really matter to you and your family and just focus on those things.
Find Clever Ways To Save Money
69% of people say that they are stressed out about finances over the holidays and for good reason. People spend thousands of dollars every year around the holidays and that can be very taxing on the household. There are several ways to cut corners when it comes to holiday planning.
Here are some easy tips that can help you save a few dollars here and there:
- DIY gifts: There are tons of fun DIY gift ideas online. The best part about these is people love the time and care that goes into a handmade gift. You can even get your kids in on the project for some quality time together.
- Order gifts online: Ordering gifts online can help save a lot of money. You won’t be spending money on gas going to and from stores, you can compare prices on items to find the lowest, and you can easily take advantage of digital coupons. Plus, you won’t have to pay for shipping all your gifts and some companies even offer free wrapping on the holidays.
- Send e-cards: Instead of spending money on traditional cards and stamps, send e-cards. There are thousands of free e-cards online you can send everyone on your list. E-cards are also incredibly fun because they come with music, animation, and you can even insert pictures of your family.
- Make your decorations: Another great way to spend some time with your children over the holidays is to make decorations together. You can make garlands, wreaths, and keepsake ornaments for little to no money and just a bit of imagination.
- Clean out your storage: We buy a lot of things that we never end up using. Whether these are kitchen gadgets, clothes that don’t fit, or home decor items, you can give these items as gifts. You can even put a little extra love and up-cycle them into something really special or pair them with a less expensive items and create a theme basket.
- Start shopping early: The sooner you get shopping the more time you have to take advantage of sales. Also, if you are buying everything last minute, you won’t be able to comparison shop.
- Find free holiday activities: There are so many amazing free holiday activities you can do as a family. These experiences have more value than gifts and will really put everyone in the holiday spirit. Grab a mug of hot chocolate and tour your neighborhood’s Christmas lights, watch a marathon of Christmas movies, and look into what free events are available in your city like holiday concerts and plays. This will also help teach your children that the holidays are about spending time together and not just about getting gifts.
- Host a potluck: Instead of cooking everything yourself for the holiday meal, have a potluck. Tell all of your friends and family members to bring their favorite holiday dish. This will not only save you money, but will give everyone a chance to show off his or her favorite family recipe.
Give Yourself Time
69% of people are also worried they don’t have enough time to everything they need to do for the holidays. The best thing you can do is start planning the holidays early. That way you have plenty of time to get everything done, so you can just relax and enjoy time with your family and friends. However, it’s hard to get a jump-start on the holidays when you have so many other things going on.
If you can’t start early, there are still plenty of things you can do to save yourself time:
- Have everyone create a wish list: If you have everyone create a wish list, you can just buy your family members what they want. A classic way to do a wish list for children is to have them write a letter to Santa detailing the gifts they want.
- Shop online: Beyond saving money, shopping online helps you save time. You can look for Christmas gifts any time you have a spare moment. Plus, you won’t have to spend time fighting traffic and crowds, to drive all over town to get people the things on their list.
- Consider giving gift cards or cash: Gift cards and cash are easy, no-stress options. They may not have the personal appeal of a handpicked gift, but on the plus side, you know that the recipient will for sure get something they actually want.
- Give the same gifts to everyone: If your list extends beyond your immediate family to include coworkers, your hairstylist, and your mailman, consider giving them all the same gift rather than taking the time to handpick gifts for everyone.
- Streamline your baking: Instead of baking a dozen different types of cookies, use one recipe that you can modify. The New York Times has a great butter cookie recipe that can be turned into a dozen different creations based on what you add. Also, consider baking in bulk. If you make pies, make all the pie dough at once and freeze it so it’s ready for both Thanksgiving and Christmas pies. You can also do a cookie exchange with other moms, where you all make your favorite cookie in a large batch, then trade the extras so you have more variety to give.
- Use simple recipes: Instead of making tons of complex recipes that require a lot of prep time, consider finding recipes that are easy to put together. Crockpot recipes, assembled recipes, and limited-ingredient recipes can save you tons of time when preparing your holiday meals.
- Get the family involved: Instead of doing all the decorating and baking yourself, turn these activities to group family activities. With the extra support you’ll be able to get a lot more done. Plus, you’ll get to spend some quality time with your family enjoying fun holiday traditions.
- Hire some help: Hiring help can be an expensive prospect, but there are some inexpensive ways to get help that can be a huge time-saver. For example, you can have a laundromat do your laundry for an average of $1 a pound, which can be a huge, inexpensive time saver. You can also buy pre-made Christmas cookies from a local bakery that can be comparable to the price of all the ingredients you will have to buy. You can also hire a housecleaner to come in and spiff up your house before you holiday guests come in. Maid services usually cost between $25-50 an hour, but you can also hire a friend who’s looking to make some extra holiday cash.
Take Time To Relax
According to the American Psychological Association, women are much more likely to experience stress over the holidays than men. If you start feeling the pressures of the holiday, give yourself permission to take some time to relax. Your family and friends want you to feel happy, that is much more important to them than you giving them the perfect holiday experience.
If you feel a little stressed out, try to take some time out to enjoy yourself and decompress:
- Take A Little You Time: Take a hot bubble bath, relax with a good book, or treat yourself to a manicure. Whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed, go for it. You have more than earned a little time for yourself.
- Find Small Indulgences: If you don’t have time to take for yourself, find small ways throughout the day to indulge. Listen to your favorite songs, take a minute to enjoy a holiday treat, or stop to take in the wonderful smells of the season. Any of these small little indulgences can go a long way to making you feel relaxed and ready for any holiday challenge.
- Stick To Your Normal Routine: The holidays present many diversions from our daily routines. So if you go to the gym regularly, stick to a diet, and go to bed at the same time every night, try to keep this routine during the holidays. If you exercise less, eat an unbalanced diet, and sleep less, you can through your natural biorhythms off and your mind and body won’t be able to cope with any holiday stress. You can make exceptions here and there, like staying up a little later for a holiday party or indulging in some holiday treats, but try to stick to your normal schedule as much as possible.
- Set Your Priorities: A lot of the time we do things because of tradition or expectation around the holidays. However, some of these things may be more stress than they are worth. So rethink your holiday activities and try to pick the ones you and your family truly enjoy and skip the rest.
- Spend Time With Your Family: That’s really what the holidays are all about. Spend some spend some time doing something you love together like going sledding or build a snowman. The exercise and time with your family will reinvigorate you and put you back on track to take on all the challenges of the holidays.
Manage Your Commitments
Finally, during the holidays one of the biggest causes of stress is the amount of commitments we make. 47% of adults feel pressure because of their commitments. When going through your invitations and figuring out your holiday schedule, make sure to not over-commit yourself. Only attend the events that are truly important to you and your family and only host events if you have the time and the energy. Also, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to shop, cook, and manage your family’s calendar. Give yourself permission to turn down invites and release some of the commitments you make for yourself. Then you can just focus on filling your calendar with the traditions that really matter.
The holidays don’t have to be a stressful time. Even though as Moms, we want to make sure that the holidays are perfect for our families, we don’t need to over exert ourselves. Prioritize what is important, spend quality time with your loved ones, and make sure to also treat yourself right, and you’ll be able to reduce your holiday stress. For more tips on how to make the holiday season easier for you and your family, check out our blog on Ultimate Mom. We have tons of timesaving ideas to get you through the holidays.