No one ever said the jolly season was easy. It’s not laid back, it’s not always fun, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. Lesser women than you have given in to the stress and worry that comes along with the month of December. But you know that it’s all about managing your expectations and taking the proper steps to make sure the holidays are enjoyable instead of full of tension.
If you can afford it, there are lots of people that will help you do the holidays. If you need help finding a New Year’s dress, finer department stores usually have personal shoppers that will help you out. Also, The Bay and Sears have similar programs that help with choosing gifts for everyone on your list—as long as you plan on purchasing those gifts from that store. If you’re having a large party, consider hiring caterers to help you out. If you can’t afford a professional caterer, try phoning up your local culinary academy to enquire if any of the students there cater at discounted rates. University students low on cash might also be willing to serve or bartend at a party.
Babysitters are easier than hauling the kids around a busy mall and there are lots of charity gift wrappers. You’ll be spending a little money, but it might be worth it if it means not running yourself into the ground.
If you haven’t started planning for the holidays already, stop putting it off. If it’s January, there are some great sales on wrapping paper, cards, and other holiday accoutrements. If it’s September, why not make a list now so you can pick up things as you see them on sale? If it’s November and you haven’t started shopping yet, get out there. The more you spread the work out, the less you’ll be scrambling the night of the big holiday party to grab presents for everyone. Time management is key.
Make it a party
A good friend of mine has a “Wrap and Puke” party every year. Everyone gets together, with unwrapped gifts in tow, and spends the evening eating, wrapping, and chatting. By the end of the night, the gifts are wrapped and everyone’s had a great time. This applies to tree-trimming, decorating, and baking, too. A bake-a-thon is always more fun with company.
Take a night off
For dealing with awkward family moments, we’ve got a great article on surviving the family holiday dinner. A great way to avoid that stress is to not go. It’s not necessary to attend every single potluck, drop-in, and party that you’re invited to. Simply send your regrets and tell the inviter that you’ve had plans on that day for a while. Remember to take a few nights off each week to spend at home—you’ll thank yourself while you’re enjoying a glass of wine on the couch instead of tearing your hair out at a distant relative’s boring holiday dinner.
Though it’s tempting to spoil your family and friends (and yourself) with lavish gifts, keep January in mind. A smart Slice girl sticks to her budget because she doesn’t want holiday stress spilling over to the New Year. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on the entire deal—gifts, food, wine, and travel. Put the cash aside and only spend as much as you budgeted. You’ll thank yourself in January when your Visa bill arrives.
All those treats are tempting and it’s easy to forget about your health while everyone else is chowing down on free chocolate, cake, alcohol, and salt-filled goodies. The fastest way to a full body shutdown is filling up on unhealthy food. Allow yourself to indulge a bit, but remember that you have ten other parties to attend that will all have the same treats. Pace yourself and you’ll feel a lot more energized for your next engagement.
Written by: Nicolle Weeks