Are you feeling overwhelmed thinking about everything you still need to do this holiday season? Here are six ways to make the holidays a little more joyous for Mom this year.
Do you remember in elementary school – or maybe at work -drawing a name from a hat, then secretly buying a gift for that person? Try it with your family this year. You might not want to try it with the little kids, but this works great for teens and adults who understand the concept that less is more. Get together with everyone and agree on keeping below a strict spending limit. Your shopping list will become much shorter and it’s a more affordable way to give one really nice gift to someone, rather than a lot of not-so-great small ones.
Don’t Stress: Organize!
Being organized helps you to avoid a lot of holiday stress in the first place, so make your list and check it twice. In fact, check it more than twice, check it often. When you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything you need to do, spend some time alone thinking about what is really important to you for the holidays. Prioritize those things and don’t stress over the little details that won’t even be remembered come Boxing Day.
Now that you’ve got your list, what do you do with it? If you’re like most families, Mom still does the lion’s share of the holiday networking, shopping and organizing. However, it doesn’t have to be like that. Give your significant other a detailed grocery list of things to pick up for the big dinner or task him with picking up specific holiday gifts. Get your kids to help decorate — it could make a great memory and you’ll have one-of-a-kind decor. Your house doesn’t have to look like Martha Stewart’s and it’s only for a few weeks, right? Try having them make gift wrap by potato printing on kraft paper or just let them go nuts with markers on some card stock. Remember: it doesn’t have to look perfect, but it should be fun.
Try Crowd-Sourcing your Holiday
Don’t take on doing everything by yourself and burn yourself out. If you’re stuck for ideas, ask for help on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or wherever you network. You might just get a really brilliant idea that you’d never have thought of. Or you might be able to trade skills with your friends. You could also host a cookie party: a get-together with your friends where everyone brings a few dozen cookies to share. If you arrange in advance who’s making what, then everyone goes home with a great variety of goodies for the holidays. Make the big dinner a potluck. Maybe you’ll cook the turkey and some fixings, but everyone else who comes will bring all the side dishes. Not only is this less work and expense for you, but your guests can make the dish that they’re best at cooking, so you could end up with an amazing feast.
Give to a Stranger
Rather than spending hundreds (thousands?) of dollars on gifts for people who really don’t need them, donate the money to an organization or cause you really support. Besides feeling good about helping others in need, it’s easier than a trip to the mall. You can donate online with just a credit card number and a few clicks. Donate a lump sum to one group or give to a different organization for each person on your list. Most charities will provide you with a greeting card to let the person know you gave in their name. Do a bit of homework first to find a reputable organization that’s aligned with your values. This is a great last-minute gift, too, since you don’t have to ship anything.
With the time and money you have saved with the previous tips reward yourself this holiday season. Go shopping for a nice accessory piece to wear to a holiday party, or a great pair of pajamas to relax in. Spend time doing something that recharges you, be it a spa visit or just a kid-free coffee with a friend. Don’t put yourself last on the list. Schedule time for yourself this holiday season because you deserve it!
How do you keep the holiday stress at bay? Share your tips with us!
Lisa Corriveau is our East Side Contributor. When not writing, she can often be found at the park chasing her little boy, sewing clothing, cycling, reading just about anything, performing on stilts, eating chocolate or drinking craft beer. (Sometimes several of the above simultaneously.) Lisa lives car-free in East Van, with toddler, husband and a few bikes. You can also find her on her blog, The Sprog.