5 Easy Ways to De-Stress Your Holiday Season

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That is, unless you are a mom… then it can be the most stressful time of the year.I have always absolutely loved the Holidays, Halloween to New Year’s is my time of year. You’ll catch me drinking a festive beverage, wearing a ridiculously tacky Christmas sweater (like all the time, not just at a party), watching the Hallmark channel, and crafting.  When I say I have always loved Christmas, I mean I HAVE LOVED IT with all my heart!

Then I had kids. Oh my God did that change everything. I can’t just get drunk in a tacky Christmas sweater anymore. Just kidding… I can, but I still have to bring my sleigh game to the table with 3 kids, 13 nieces and nephews and everyone else in between. To top it off I had that last child in December, consequently I have to throw in a first birthday party this year on top of all of the other holiday stress. Hashtag eye roll. How the hell do I manage this time of year, so I can maintain a tiny bit of sanity? I go by these five tips.

Start Early!

I know it sounds crazy to start thinking about the Holidays months in advance! Hell, you are trying to get through summer vacation, and get the kids back to school, the last thing on your mind is Christmas. Like what?! But seriously, the most important element in eliminating the Holiday stress is to start planning early. What are you going to spend on the kids this year? What is the budget for stocking stuffers, cards, gifts for coworkers, friends, family, apparel, food, and decor. Jot things down as you think of them in a notebook or on app on your smartphone. I have lists upon lists upon lists in the Notes App for the iPhone. It sounds super crazy, but it keeps me slightly more sane.

Budget, budget, budget

As mentioned previously it crucial to figure out how much you are going to spend. There are many little random expenses that pop up every year. I find it best to think back to previous years. What did you spend? What parties did you go to? How many cards did you have to send out? You can make a spreadsheet, a note, or a word doc to track what you have spent in previous years, what randomly came up, and what you intend to spend. When you keep track of these things it makes the upcoming years much easier to manage. Make sure you check for early released or leaked Black Friday ads to add to the savings!

Plan, make a list, delegate, make another list and then another

If you remember anything from this post, remember that it is okay to ask for help! Trust me, my family is huge! I am talking a minimum of 40 people at every major holiday and birthday. I could never do it all by myself, so we ALL have to contribute.

I do love to cook, so I will make a majority of the dishes for every event: but to make sure we have all the yummy dishes needed for a holiday, I’ll make list of them in my trusty notes app and share that with my family so they can add their name to what dish they will bring. You can share the list with other iPhone users, family members that don’t have an iPhone get updates via text, and I add their dishes for them. We plan down to cutlery, plates, ice, cups, and napkins, because ain’t nobody wanna do that many dishes.

I start hitting up the sales at Kroger for non-perishables in early November. I cook and freeze anything I can early on. Chicken, for the chicken n’ rice casserole, pie crusts for the pecan and pumpkin pie (or I buy pillsbury shhhhh), stock for gravy, and so on. Heck, you can even make the full casserole ahead of time and freeze. If you shop early and follow the ads and coupons you can save SO MUCH MONEY! Example: Campbell’s Cream of mushroom soup is normally $1.79 locally, but after the most recent sale and a Buy 10 Save $5.00 promotion I got each can for .49 cents! SHOP THOSE SALES

Don’t be afraid to give into the urge to online shop!

THIS. IS. EVERYTHING! Amazon Prime is EVERY mom’s dream. They have some amazing lightning deals this time of year. The last several years I have pretty much purchased the majority of my gifts through Amazon Prime, Target, and Walmart. Don’t get me wrong. I love shopping at Target this time of year. That one spot is the death of my wallet, but not having to deal with kids and presents, and I save money. I’ll take it. You can eliminate so much stress, just by shopping online. 

According to consumer reports:

  • Consumers will spend lots of time gift-shopping, 15 hours on average.  Women plan to spend twice as long as their male counterparts, 20 hours versus 10 hours respectively.
  • Shoppers expect to wait in store check out lines for about three-and-a-half hours on average; one in four expect to stand in line 4 hours or more.

Cut down shopping time, screw those long ass check out lines, and get to know your local FedEx Driver. You’ll thank me later. I promise

Don’t Be Afraid to Say NO

Yes, we all make special exceptions when it comes to going to events and spending extra time doing things we normally would not in our every day lives, BUT you DO NOT have to attend every function or volunteer to make that extra casserole. Just say, “No we can’t go to the office party this year. Sorry, I can’t take on making 75000 treats for the kindergarten class…” It’s okay to know your limits. It’s okay to tap out. Remember, each year is special. You cannot regain that time, so enjoy it. Enjoy time with your loved ones, with your babies, with your friends… 

Take these five tips to the bank, implement them, and I promise your stress levels at Christmas time will drop. Now, these don’t take in to account for that crazy ass mother in law of yours, or crazy Aunt Betty, so don’t blame me if that causes some elevated stress levels when you actually did the list. Just throw on some Christmas music and make yourself a festive cocktail, and remember “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”


Country Mama

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