BY JULIE FRITZ
The holidays can be such a stressful time for everyone. Between the shopping, planning holiday events and gatherings, decorating, and maybe even traveling, it can be overwhelming. There is such an urge in our society to make everything perfect that we sometimes forget that it is really supposed to be a time to enjoy our family and friends. If we forget to focus on this and let the stress take over, there may not be any enjoyment at all. With all this in mind, here are some tips to help you minimize your holiday stress so you can enjoy the best season of the year.
Get Yourself in the Holiday Spirit
This tip can mean lots of different things to different people. Search within yourself and think about the things that bring you to your holiday happy place. Maybe it is music, baking, decorating or holiday-themed movies. Use those things as tools to bring you joy throughout the season. If you feel like you are getting too stressed, put on some of your favorite Christmas carols while you get things done. You could watch your favorite holiday movies while you wrap the pile of gifts that need wrapping. There is something special that will make you remember why you love this season and let it bring you joy.
Remember, It’s Okay to Say No
This time of year, the amount of events and parties that pop up can be overwhelming all on its own. People are often afraid to disappoint others or miss out on an experience that they have been asked to participate in. The truth is, no one can do everything, and overbooking yourself and your family will not make for a stress-free holiday season. Picking out a few things to enjoy and allowing your family to provide their feedback about what they would like to participate in is a great way to help you enjoy the things that are happening, but not be overcommitted.
Shop Local Throughout the Season
Lake Norman has some of the best local shops and boutiques around to help with your holiday gift list. Set aside an hour or two each week leading up to the holidays shopping in them to find the right gifts for your friends and family. Kick it off with Small Business Saturday, a nationwide initiative that promotes shopping at small businesses in your community the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Shopping at smaller local businesses will allow you to provide unique, thought provoking gifts for everyone on your list. They will also provide great customer service to help you have a more pleasant, stress-free shopping experience.
Simple Holiday Cards
We all want the perfect family photo on a beautiful holiday card to be delivered to everyone on our list the week after Thanksgiving, right? But don’t let making that happen start your holiday season off with unrealistic expectations that make you feel stressed. If you don’t have a family portrait ready to go, it’s okay. People just want to see pictures of you and your family, and they don’t care if everyone looks perfect. Thanks to our cell phones, we all have snapshots taken throughout the year in the palm of our hands. A nice collage of those pics will be just fine. Save time by putting your address book in the computer so you can print your envelopes every year. Buying address labels is another time saver. Get everyone involved by setting up an assembly line to sign cards, stuff envelopes, stick on stamps and return labels and seal them up. Play holiday music and eat Christmas cookies while you do it. It will go faster and make a great memory, too.
It really is important to minimize holiday stress and make this season enjoyable for you and your family. There is no reason to let stress take over and ruin the possibility of having fun enjoying family and friends all season long. This is such a special time of year where we can reflect on the year that has passed and look joyfully ahead to the year to come. Make the choice to enjoy the season and share the love and joy it represents.