Christmas: The songs say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but do you have a bit of a different outlook? Between spending far too much money on presents, finishing up end of the year projects at work, decorating the house, dealing with overcrowded malls, and of course traveling to be with family, the truth is that the holidays can be stressful!
Do you tense up at the first sight of Christmas decorations at your local grocery store? Does figuring out your plans for the holiday season give you a major headache? Do you no longer have energy to send out Christmas cards, or do some holiday baking for friends and family? Uh oh: You might just be a Christmas Grinch!
While it may be understandable why the holiday season can have you feeling a little stressed, the truth is, you should look at the season as one of joy! While there is no way to avoid all the stress of the season, there is a lot you can do in order to enjoy Christmas more than you ever have before!
Not convinced? Stick with us. Here’s what you can do to survive the Christmas season. In fact, you might do more than just survive, you may actually enjoy it!
1. Apply for time off early
Having to work during the holidays simply isn’t fun. If you know you are having family over, be sure to apply for those days off in advance. Waiting until last minute won’t only upset your boss, the time may not be approved. Try to maximize the time you have off so that you can try to fit in some time to relax in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the busy season.
If you do have to work, make sure that everyone knows what your schedule is like so that you don’t have to keep explaining and possibly disappointing people- that is an easy way to get stressed out very quickly! Whatever your situation ends up being, make it known, and plan accordingly. Having a plan will make things run much smoother, even if the plan involves things you don’t want to do.
2. Do your shopping in advance
Don’t wait until the last minute to get all of your shopping done! This is one of the biggest reasons why people do not enjoy the holidays- they leave all major tasks to be completed until right before Christmas, and they end up not enjoying the day at all. Be smarter about your shopping! Take advantage of online sales, and we recommend getting started earlier in the year as well! If you hear your child, spouse, or friend mention wanting a certain item, make a note of it right away and consider purchasing it right away as well- even if it is nowhere near Christmas!
That way, as the holiday season rolls around, you are well prepared! The more items you can cross off your to-do list in advance, the better.
3. Take some time for yourself
It can be exhausting attending various Christmas parties- between work parties, neighborhood parties, gatherings with family, friends – it is a lot! Don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself in order to recharge and relax. Even a few hours to yourself can make a world of difference.
Not only will this make you feel better, you’ll end up enjoying yourself more at future parties, which everyone else around you will also appreciate! It is easy to get burnt out during the long season, so keep this in mind and make sure you fit in some time whenever you can.
4. Keep expectations realistic
Between Christmas movies on TV and social media postings, it is easy to get this idea in your head of having the absolute perfect Christmas. The reality is, the season is stressful, and things are not going to be perfect. And that is okay! However, adjusting your expectations can help you to better enjoy the season instead of always being upset that things aren’t living up to your expectations.
With a more realistic idea in mind you can better appreciate all of the wonderful moments of the season, and be better prepared to deal with the more stressful ones. Remember- what people post on Facebook or Instagram is a quick snapshot, not their entire reality! No one is having a perfect, stress-free time, so don’t be upset when you aren’t either.
5. Try to limit your cocktail intake
Yes, we can all agree that champagne and fun Christmas cocktails make the season more enjoyable, but the reality is, by indulging a little bit too much you are actually more likely to have a less than enjoyable time. A cocktail or two never hurt anyone and can help you relax, but make sure you don’t go overboard! Not only can you end up dealing with a nasty hangover the next day, you may end up causing some unnecessary drama that you will then have to deal with the next day.
The holidays are stressful enough, make sure you aren’t accidentally adding to it! While at any party where you are drinking, make sure you have one glass of water in between each alcoholic drink. You will thank us later!
6. Don’t be afraid to say no
One reason why you may not enjoy the holiday season is because you agree to do too many things! It can be a difficult skill to master, but learning how to say no can benefit you tremendously during the Christmas season. Just because you turn down a party or two does not mean you are a Grinch, or that you don’t love your family. You simply can’t say yes to everything- there is only so much time, and so much energy that you have!
If you really feel like you can’t take on one more event, be honest and say so. Like we mentioned earlier, this will not only benefit you, but everyone around you as well.
7. Start your own traditions
Christmas can be overwhelming for many reasons, including trying to keep up with everyone else’s expectations and traditions. You may turn into a Grinch this time of year because you are having to do the same things year after year that everyone else likes. Instead, try coming up with some of your own traditions so that you have them to look forward to as well. Even if you keep up with all the others, by also having some of your own, your mood will be much improved.
These new traditions don’t have to be large, but they just have to be what you want! Whether it is something you do with your spouse or your children, or maybe even something you do on your own, make it a priority and make sure to do it this year and every year. It is good to have things to look forward to during the stressful season- and this can be just that thing you need!
8. Spend time with people you enjoy
We all have to deal with spending time during the Christmas season with people we don’t necessarily enjoy being around. Perhaps a friend that comes into town once a year, a coworker you try to avoid, or certain family members that you know you can’t get away with not inviting to Christmas dinner. That is okay! Balance out those moments by making time to enjoy with those you are closest to.
Perhaps this is taking time to spend with just your immediate family, or your siblings, or you closest friends. These positive experiences will lift your mood and help you cope with dealing with everyone else.
9. Recruit some help
Don’t feel like you have to handle all of the decorating, planning, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and baking on your own. No one should have to endure that! Instead, make sure you have people you can count on to help everything come together. This is one of the best, easiest ways to alleviate some of your stress during the Christmas season. By having less to do, you will have more time to focus on the fun parts of the season so that you can actually enjoy yourself!
10. Try your best to stick to a budget
Finally, one of the biggest stressors of the Christmas season is money. Plane tickets, Christmas presents, food, decorations, it all adds up. If you are worried about money all season long you are sure to not enjoy yourself. Instead, try to come up with a total budget in advance that you are comfortable with. Divide the budget according to what your plans are, and do your absolute best to stick to it!
By having a financial plan, you are much more likely to enjoy the season. The last thing anyone wants to do is open up their credit card bill in January to a huge surprise. Budget, plan ahead, and allow yourself to enjoy the season!
The Christmas season is stressful, no one can deny that. However, it is also a wonderful time of year to gather with family and friends. If you have felt like a Grinch the past few years, try to keep this guide in mind so that you can have a better holiday season. You deserve to enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else!
What is your go-to trick for staying calm during Christmas? Let us know!
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