10 tips for a stress-free holiday season

10 tips for a stress-free holiday season

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a stress-free Christmas that doesn’t break the bank.

  • Don’t spend too much time or energy buying and wrapping gifts. Don’t worry about hosting the perfect Christmas, either. Otherwise, you may be so stressed on the day that you won’t have the time or energy to play with your kids.

  • Invite your guests to give you a hand in the kitchen. If you cook while chatting over a cup of tea or coffee, the time will fly by and dinner will (practically) make itself.

  • Have a present-free Christmas, or buy presents only for the kids. If your loved ones resist the idea, suggest a monetary limit for gifts.

  • Draw up a list of everything you want to buy (gifts, food, decorations, activities, etc.) and assign a maximum amount to each item. Having it in writing will help you stick to your budget.

  • Make your own presents. Photo albums, potted plants, dolls, furniture, homemade jams or preserves—the possibilities are endless.

  • Do a craft or activity with the kids. For example, you could help them put on a Christmas-themed play or puppet show. That way, the whole family can enjoy it.

  • Set some money aside every month. Put some money aside in an envelope every month just for the holidays.

  • Avoid using your credit card, unless you can pay it off at the end of the month. It’s also a good idea to avoid using store cards, because the interest rates are often close to 30 percent.

  • Don’t do your shopping at the last minute. The longer you wait, the less choice you’ll have. If you do your Christmas shopping throughout the year, you can also take advantage of sales.

  • Try to keep things simple when you have guests over for dinner. Instead of cooking everything yourself, why not try a potluck where everyone brings a different dish? It’s a nice way to enjoy a casual meal that comes with a fun twist! You could also invite your family and friends over for lunch or brunch (perfect for young children).

Three Christmas mistakes to avoid

Telling the kids the truth about Santa too early. They’ll feel different than other kids their age who still believe.

Hiding gifts under your bed or in a cupboard. If the kids find them, it’ll spoil the magic of Santa. Should worst come to worst, you can always tell them that Santa didn’t have enough room in his house for all the toys, so he gave them to you to hold on to until he could come back to pick them up. Or that the elves got mixed up and came too early!

Telling the kids that if they don’t finish their vegetables or if they misbehave, Santa won’t come this year. Not only is this a form of blackmail, but it also tarnishes Santa’s image. Plus, it can lead kids to feel that every little mistake is a catastrophe. This kind of threat can also discredit you, because kids will figure out pretty quickly that they’re going to get presents anyway!