For many of us, it is also the most hectic. 70% of professional people say that this is the most stressful time of the year. We have deals to close, deadlines to meet, and the added pressure of prepping for holiday parties and family gatherings. Then we have to post a perfectly decorated holiday photo on social media. Combine all this with trying to find that perfect gift for each person and keeping your energy and attitude at the height of your game and you may agree, it can be a little overwhelming.
Here are 12 tips for a stress-free holiday season.
Sugar plums dancing in my head
Get some sleep. When you are burning the candle at both ends it’s hard to keep that glow going. Make sure you set aside enough time to sleep. A good night’s sleep can cure almost anything, especially at this time of year. Set up your ultimate bedtime routine and stick to it for a few nights a week. Put the screens – including your phone – away early in the evening. Perhaps relax in a hot bath and then curl up with a good book. A hot cup of herbal tea or cocoa can sometimes help to knock you right out.
You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch
Focus on bringing joy. Not just to your family and friends, but also to people you don’t know. It’s easy to pass people by without paying any attention to them. Think about spreading cheer and gratitude. Make eye contact with a stranger, greet people with a “happy holidays!” and even try to pay it forward at the drive-thru. When you are focused on being grateful and spreading joy, it is less likely you will feel as stressed.
He’s makin’ a list…
Make a list and check it twice. Just like Santa does, create a schedule. Make a list of all the things that you have to do, highlighting what has to be done first. The parties, the school events – it really does matter who has been naughty or nice sometimes, and at times we have to politely refuse a few invites and make fewer commitments. When you are making your list of people to see and places to go, lay it all out in a calendar for the month. Add in your favourite people to see first. Include your most special holiday traditions, those things that make the holidays special for you. I love to watch the same corny movies, go to the Christmas market and have one family dinner to draw names for our Secret Santa and then trim the tree. This alone kicks off the season for me.
Think about your own letter to Santa, or really to yourself. Each year I write a letter after all the holiday festivities have died down, and I recall the things that worked, and what didn’t work. Examples are – you don’t need to overshop for so-and-so, but up the chocolate gifting for so-and-so. Or, remember to buy a few extra strands of lights for the tree next year, as some of the strands were completely burnt out this year. These letters act as prompts and reminders that I appreciate each year.
May all your days be bright
The elves can be running in circles in Santa’s workshop if they are not prepared. Now is the time to stock up on batteries, tape, ribbon and those beautiful gift bags. If you are planning a décor theme and you want a consistent look under the tree, think theme when buying your wrapping paper, ribbons bows and bags. Spread it out over the season so that you can relax those last few days before the chaos of the day begins.
There is truly nothing like a good holiday wrap party. Whether your kids have kids of their own, or they are still kids themselves, there are few things that can relieve the stress of the holiday more than singing some fun songs together and making up your own rap rhymes about Santa coming. A wrap night can take the stress out of the season.
Rockin’ around the Christmas tree
Eat the cake and drink the eggnog and then rock around the Christmas tree. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the season with the rich foods and alcohol laden drinks – just not too much of it! So get rockin’ around that Christmas tree!
Give the gift of time
The one thing that seems to be lacking in this busy, hectic season is time. Give to yourself first and then to the ones you love. Plan a couple of hours one day over the holidays to relax. Take an afternoon for yourself – spend it at the spa, salon or even the movie theatre. We can usually find 1 or 2 hours to really decompress and relax.
Walkin’ in a winter wonderland…
Buy your wreaths, seasonal urns and table arrangements premade to save you the time it takes to assemble everything. You can easily personalize the store bought décor items in so many ways. Try simply adding some lights, maybe a few of your favourite ribbons and then call it a day. Sometimes the smallest and simplest touches you add yourself are the best ones. Once the snow falls, the greenery and décor both outside and in will come to life and you will have the best dressed house on Instagram.
Here comes Santa Claus
There is truly something to be said for hitting the stores early (as Santa will tell you). Many stores have extended hours and if you show up ahead of the posted opening time you can often get in even earlier. Just a trick from old Saint Nick. Same goes for online shopping. Get your items ordered as soon as you can so they will arrive on time and you can relax by the fire rather than stress by the post box.
I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus
Get out the mistletoe and celebrate the season with the ones you love. Be present, be in the moment and be generous to yourself. Kiss Santa Claus underneath the Christmas tree or anywhere else that the desire strikes you for that matter – it is the season of love, family and friends! The holidays are about so many different things to so many different people. For some it really is all about the people in our lives and our gratitude for the time we have together. Whatever meaning this holiday season may have for you we want to wish you a stress free holiday and peace, joy and happiness throughout the year.
For our realtor friends, we found a great clause to help you when you are representing buyers and sellers this season.
It is called the “Santa Claus” and here it is:
In addition to any other clause contained in this agreement the seller agrees to provide chimney access for Santa Claus or anyone designated by Santa for delivery purposes between _______pm on December 24th and _____________am on December 25th. The seller shall not unreasonably withhold access for any reason and agrees to hold Santa harmless for any damage caused while entering the house and accessing the property.