Who’s starting to feel it? The pressure to get stuff done! Hang the lights, sort out the Big Dinner, get perfect gifts, and oh, right, stocking stuffers! Help! The holidays are supposed to be a time for connection, community and for many families, faith. Somehow, it becomes a source of stress rather than fun. Here are a few ways to lower your stress and raise your holiday enjoyment.
Clever ways to save time this holiday season
- Get your kids to help! Wrap gifts, bake, decorate, and clean up.
- Share the responsibility: It’s not just “moms” who make Christmas happen. Stop buying gifts on behalf of your partner (ie: For their mom or business partner)
- Potluck. Don’t be afraid to assign specific dishes (“Please make a green salad, plus bring a dessert.”)
- Hire a cleaner (book it now!) or, even better, if hosting a larger holiday affair, hire someone to help you clean up in the kitchen (you can ask your family to chip in)
- Rent dishes (you don’t have to wash them) or buy eco-conscious disposable dishes and cutlery
- Use the gift wrapping services at the mall. ie:. At Metropolis, proceeds go to Burnaby Neighbourhood House and MS Society of BC/Yukon.
- Shop online. Or shop online and pick it up. Don’t forget to shop locally online.
- Take advantage of the school chocolate fundraisers to take care of hostess gifts
- Think of a signature gift (ie: quality coffee, artisanal crafts) and buy multiple.
- Buy a case of local wine or bubbly (not just one-offs) and save on the box.
- Shop off-peak if you have a flexible schedule.
Give less stuff
- Saves on wrapping and time and dealing with less “stuff” which can cause overwhelm during the holidays.
- Talk to your family and have everyone contribute to one gift for each of the nieces and nephews. This way, everyone will get something that they really love.
- Buy experiences (you can buy a lot of these online and cuts back on wrapping) for example:
- Give tickets or a season pass to local attractions like HR Macmillan, Kidtropolis, Cineplex
- Give tickets to a play like the East Van Panto, Cirque du Soleil
- Buy a camp for something they really love doing (Parkour, Skateboard Camp)
- Go out for a lavish dinner with your siblings (in lieu of gifts) in the new year during Dine Out
- Buy a family portrait for everyone – take this in January
- For older members of the family, give to charity, ideally something tangible (ie: YWCA’s Presence of Peace). Also: Kiva.
- Do less: Don’t put out all of your decorations or all of your lights.
- Agree with your family to not exchange gifts or do a “white elephant” gift exchange where you give wacky things around the house as part of a gift exchange.
- Quality over quantity. Instead of doing “all the things,” focus on the things that really bring you joy and get you in the spirit.
Christine Pilkington has over 15 years of digital and interactive media experience. Breakfast Television has dubbed her a Baby Product Guru and she frequently appears on CBC and CTV. She lives with her husband, three daughters and a Lagotto Romagnolo in East Vancouver, about 10 minutes from where she grew up. Christine is also the CEO of Crisp Media Inc, which develops digital marketing strategies for businesses.