The holidays can be a wonderful(ly stressful) time of year! There’s family to connect with, decorations to put up, and gifts to arrange. Holiday plans have so many moving parts–how are you supposed to keep track of everything? Plan, plan, plan!
No one enjoys panic-shopping the night before gift exchanges. Everything’s out of stock, you’re in a rush to find the perfect item, and holiday prices are hiked high. Or think back to a time when you and your family made last-minute holiday plans. Is your blood pressure going up? The solution is simple (if not always easy): start early.
If you want to see your family in December, look at tickets a few months beforehand. If it’s refundable, there’s no harm in grabbing that flight early. It’s a lot less expensive, too!
Keep an eye out year-round for gift ideas. Jot them down in a dedicated list, even if it’s June! You don’t need to go out and buy the gift right away, especially if you live in a smaller space that doesn’t have room to store presents for months. But it’s nice to have ideas down on paper, in an app, or in a spreadsheet, so when it comes time to shop, you know what to get. When you do shop, be sure to allow for shipping delays.
Who’s hosting? Who’s sleeping where? Does anyone need to book a hotel? Ask yourself questions like these in August or September, and you’ll thank yourself in December. If you’re not sure where to start, think about last year. Was there anything you scrambled to get done in time? How could you plan for this year to go more smoothly?
You don’t have to have your entire holiday schedule planned to the minute, though. Getting everyone on the same page is important, but planning for things to change is also an important part of reducing holiday stress. If your plans start to look like this, you may have gone too far.
Share lists with family
Who are the “planners” in your family or friend group? If you have people in your life who already plan in advance, coordinate with them! Keep them in the loop when planning your holiday, so you can make sure the plans work together.
Let those who don’t like to plan know that their input is welcome anytime.
There’s a difference between planning and micromanaging, and that’s the ability to be flexible. Remember to include other people’s ideas—the plans you’re making don’t exist in a vacuum. You’re making them so you can enjoy the season and spend time with people you love. You may like to wake up at dawn on Christmas day to do presents, but not everyone is an early bird. Listen to what others want to do, and accommodate them when you can.
This year, it’s possible your favorite product might not be on the shelves, so you may need to make substitutions. If you can’t find the cranberry sauce, Thanksgiving’s not ruined. Make your own, try something new like banana ketchup, or go without and know that the important thing is being together, not Ocean Spray.