For some people, the mere thought of holiday planning is overwhelming; their only wish is for Santa to bring them a remote control capable of fast-forwarding through the calendar! Anxiety arises around mid-October in anticipation of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, and New Year’s Eve, those dates which promise relaxation, fun, and peace but also cause stress and worry. In order to anticipate and not dread this time of year, there are steps you can take to control the situation rather than having a glass of spilled cider take control over you.
Buy gifts early. There is no rule that says that holiday presents must be bought in the weeks leading up to the holiday in question. (Christmas comes to mind first here, but any gift-giving day applies.) Spreading purchases throughout the year makes sense because off-season deals are often better. Why buy boots in December if they are half-price in July? Think of it as stress-free, empowered shopping. Instead of having a list of people to buy for at year’s end, you might have only a few. In order to keep track of your purchases, you should designate a spot in your house (an unused drawer, a box in the garage, a closet, or wherever) for stockpiling. Shopping this way is rewarding because even if you forget what you’ve accumulated, by October, you can revisit your stash and bask in the glow of knowing that you are ahead of the game!
Organize your holiday gear. While decorating your house with ghosts and goblins is enjoyable, stowing seasonal items is just the opposite. However, you can make it more pleasurable by making sure you wrap, box, and store your decorations properly. Labeling your containers clearly with a black marker, grouping similar objects together (outdoor versus indoor ornaments, for example), and making a wish list for the future will give you a sense of accomplishment and make you look forward to holiday planning next year even more.
Encourage group dinners and grab-bags. If cooking a meal for big gatherings seems challenging, consider a potluck. That way, everyone contributes equally and no one person is burdened economically or time-wise. Also, a Secret Santa can work well if you have a larger circle of friends for the same reasons that a potluck is practical.
One can easily see that the common thread in achieving holiday happiness is planning. Even if you don’t consider yourself a planner, you can still follow one or two of these suggestions so that you avoid feeling unmotivated at the last moment. Cheers!
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