8 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

iStock_000017722904XSmallThe holidays really can sneak up on you, and before you know it, you’re in panic mode. Often, because you’re taking this time of year way too seriously when all you need to do is sit back, relax a little more, plan better, and remember what the holidays are about. Here are a few tips that might help you get through the next 30-days stress free.

1. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Focus on what REALLY needs to be done around your house. Almost everyone who is coming to your home has probably already seen it in various degrees of disarray. If your guests are close family and true friends, then they’ll either be very understanding or pitch in. Prioritize and clean what you need to clean so that your house isn’t disgusting, and leave the rest. The laundry isn’t folded? So what! Stuff it in a closet.

2. Keep the decorations to a minimum.

Installing tons of decorations takes time and planning. The more you put up, the more you will have to keep dusted and cleaned, and the more you will have to take down.

3. There is no law that says you have to send holiday greeting cards. Enough said.

4. Just say, “No,” very politely.

No, because you have a conflict the same night as the jewelry party. No, you are not able to make an appointment next week. No, you can’t start that project right now. No, you’re sorry, but you cannot volunteer for that event.

5. Start now.

I ask my family for their wish list early. I take advantage of coupons and online specials early. I order online with plenty of time for shipping, and when necessary, returns and exchanges. I visit brick and mortar stores early in the morning, instead of after a traditional work day when every Tom, Dick and Harry is there. But if your schedule doesn’t allow for that, even week nights are better than weekends. The operative word is… early.

6. Buy more of what you like.

When you find a product that would make a good gift that you utilize also, buy more. I found a 30% off wine sale and purchased 15 bottles of wine. My husband and I have a glass a night, so if we don’t end up giving the wine away as gifts, we will eventually drink up our stock. Now, there’s stress free for ya!

7. Gift Cards! Gift Cards!

Purchase a variety of gift cards to stores that you frequent. When you need a last minute gift, you have one to the local theater, restaurant, amazon.com, or coffee house, and you don’t have to run off like a lunatic to the mall. You can always use what’s left of your cards yourself, or for birthday gifts next year. Look for specials. This week I purchased $150 in gift cards and received $25 in free groceries.

8. Pick a theme gift and stick to it.

If you simply must purchase a personalized gift for everyone, then choose a theme and find something special within that theme or category that fits each person. One year, I purchased Pashmina scarves that were unique in color and design for each friend, another year I selected special picture frames and had my gifts after visiting just 2 stores. Last year, I donated to a women’s charity and received beautiful hand-woven shawls that I, of course, gave to each friend, along with information on the charity. It is the season for giving, after all.

Have a safe and warm holiday season!

Angela Russ-Ayon, Owner, Abridge Club Entertainment

About the Author:  Angela Russ is a mom-preneur, children’s author, public speaker, and award-winning artist/producer of interactive music for young children. She speaks nationwide on the subject of child development and is the sole-owner of the Russ InVision record label, on the web at AbridgeClub.com © 2012 Russ InVision. All rights reserved

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