Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Perfect Holidays: Barbie and Ken - Yeah, right!

Perfect holidays seem to be for all the Barbie and Ken dolls out there!!  Holidays come every year, yet I always find myself stressing about all those pesky details.  Holidays cannot be mess free, stress free, or family free!  Ever since last year, I've been thinking about how to de-stress the holidays, and I've come up with a small list of items that I am going to try and follow this year.  I want to enjoy myself, take in the fun and laughter, as well as record all those little details.  No... not those stressful details, all those happy and wonderful memories! 

1.  You are NOT a superhero.  You cannot do EVERYTHING.  
Make a list of things that you usually attend during the holiday season.  Identify and prioritize which events you want to go to that are important and which events you can bow out of gracefully.  You can say "No," and plan to meet up after the new year, when the holiday season is over and there is less stress. 

2.  Early bird catches the worm.
Start early and finish before the holidays are actually here!  Start your holiday cards or your yearly family newsletter earlier than usual.  Begin shopping a bit earlier, and you could also try out layaway!  You could also mix up your holiday cookie dough and freeze it until you need it!  Just start some things earlier!  Working out a timeline and planning will really make a huge dent in all that holiday stress. 

3. Delegate and ask for help!
Getting shopping done with kids underfoot is a bit difficult!  Ask a neighbor to watch your kids for a couple of hours so you could shop, and then you could return the favor.  You will get so much more completed. Have a family wrapping party for all those gifts that need to be wrapped (just hide the kids' presents)!  For a holiday party, go potluck!  Have others bring dishes or ask them for help in set-up and clean up!  Change things up, and ask for help. 

4. Try a different perspective
Gift giving doesn't have to be expensive.  Many times the emphasis on material goods seems inevitable in the season of giving. It is not necessary and can even be detrimental to the real spirit of the season. Try reducing stress by sticking to a reasonable budget and by not running up debt. Try to give back. Find an activity where you can help others less fortunate than you. Donate food items or clothes to a shelter.  Look at the holidays from a child's perspective and think about  new things to do and give with that perspective in mind.  If you have children, this is a wonderful opportunity to re-live the fantasies of the holidays through their eyes and experiences.  We should all believe in miracles and the possibilities of the season! 

5. Stay flexible but remember to have fun!
Work with the unexpected bumps in the holiday season.  Be willing to change plans, or switch things up a bit if the need arises.  Consider moving certain projects to a different time of year.   It may mean that you do things a little differently, but you may enjoy the holidays more if you
do.  Let the weeks leading up to your celebrations be filled with as much joy and happiness as the actual celebration.

The holidays fly by so quickly. You, your family, and friends will remember the times you shared, more than how many different types of cookies you baked. Sit down and enjoy the company. You’ll miss them when they are gone.  Since I've worked out these tips to simplify my holiday season, I've started to incorporate them into my day to day activities too!  I'm learning to enjoy what I have and cherish each and every day! 

Happy "[I]Stress Less[/I]" Holidays!