5 Tips for Prepping for the Holidays

A family sits at a christmas dinner table with candles.

It is that time of year again. Tis the season for running around buying gifts for all your family members and friends and hosting holiday parties. While a time of joy, the holidays are also a time of high stress and anxiety.

What aspect of the holidays do you dread the most? All the shopping and wrapping? Entertaining out of town guests? Cooking for 20? Or maybe it is having to listen to Aunt Mildred recount the story of her bunion surgery for the millionth time.

Whatever your source of stress is this holiday season, there are some tried and true tips that can cut out some of the sources of stress so you can enjoy your holidays more. Here are 5 tips for preparing for the holidays:

Organize Your Home Ahead of the Festivities

Clutter, Clutter, Clutter. Clutter is the bane of most people’s existence and during the holidays it can be especially problematic. For one thing when you are trying to clean up and prepare the house for guests, clutter just makes the process hundred times worse. Am I right? Or am I right?

By making sure everything is in its rightful place and paring down on inessentials, even if you end up with a surprise visit from the in-laws, you won’t be as stressed about the appearance of your home. If you have time just dust and vacuum really quickly and high volume areas and freshen up the bathroom and voila! You can be all set for your guests in no time at all.

If you have kids, you will also want them to go through their toys, books and games etc. and get rid of whatever they don’t really use anymore to make room for their new stash coming in. Nothing is worse than feeling like you are constantly tripping over your kids’ things. By being proactive, you will already have designated space for the new things even before they open their gifts.

Stock the Kitchen with Ready Made Meals and Snacks

Long hours in the kitchen is just not practical this time of year. With all the shopping, wrapping, cookie baking and visiting with family and friends, there is little time to devote to meal prep and you may find yourself eating out a lot more which can do some unexpected damage to your budget. If you have some meals and snacks already prepared and stocked in your fridge it will make it a whole lot easier to avoid the temptation of going out to eat or getting take out. Simply before things get real busy, find some easy recipes that the whole family loves that you can cook ahead of time and freeze for those hectic days. Make sure to also have the fixings of some easy to make snacks always on hand as well. This is also a great way to make entertaining a lot easier as well. With already prepared meals and snacks in your arsenal, hosting a holiday meal even an impromptu one will be stress-free.

Create and Stick to a Budget

Too many people find themselves in debt up to their eye balls come January first because they went a little hog wild during the holidays. It is easy to do, what with all the gifts to buy, holiday outfits to shop for and holiday events to attend or host, it can really add up. Stop the hemorrhaging of your wallet before it even happens this year.

Take an honest assessment of your financial situation this year and create a holiday budget that you can realistically handle. Even if you have to put some things on credit, you need to make sure that you will be able to pay it all off in the beginning of the new year. Otherwise, your debt will just continue to grow making your life more stressful.

To help you stick to your budget, look for creative gift-giving ideas that everyone will love, but won’t wreck the bank. If you are handy or artistic, homemade gifts are always appreciated for this personal touch and giving the gift of service has been growing in popularity too. Gift cards are also a great idea for the picky people on your list. That way they can shop for what they want and often many places offer good deals when you purchase their gift cards.

If you do decide to head out into the malls, keep an eye out for good deals and try to get as much as you can discounted. Make sure you have put together your list of what exactly you need to buy before heading out there so you don’t end up buying a lot of unnecessary items.

Do a Digital Video Card This Year

Writing out piles and piles of Christmas cards can really cut into the time you need for all your holiday prep as well as time to just enjoy your family and friends. More and more people are opting out of holiday cards at all, but if you like the idea of reaching out to everyone during the holidays, but just wish it was easier, try a digital video card this year. It is really convenient if all your family and friends are on Facebook or Instagram. Just share the video on your social media sites and you are all set.

Don’t Let Difficult Family Members Ruin the Holidays

Especially in this highly politicized environment, you may be dreading holiday events because of the certain person or persons who always get under your skin and either starts fights or just plain stresses you out. While you most likely can’t avoid them completely, particularly when they are a family member, you can prepare how you will react to them. Coach yourself on how not to rise to the bait and how to gracefully exit from a disagreeable conversation ahead of those stressful holiday gatherings so you can actually enjoy yourself the way you are supposed to.

With these five tips, hopefully you will enjoy the holiday season more and will be able to spend quality time and create memories with those you love. For more helpful information, check out pinterest.