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December Doesn’t Have to be Stressful: 7 Tips For a Calmer Holiday Season

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December 6, 2016

This month it’s easy for moms to feel overwhelmed and frantic. There’s a fix for that—it’s called awareness. If you’re aware of what triggers your stress, it will help make December stressLESS instead of stressFUL. Here are seven tips to help keep your days calmer, your life easier, and your month focused on family and fun.

1. Leave it to someone else

Stop being the first parent to volunteer—whether it’a a bake sale, room parent duties, teacher gift collection, or driving the carpool. If you’re always the first to volunteer, many will assume you’re available and they’ll pile on other tasks throughout the year. It’s important to do your part, but if you’re already busy with a job, kids, and guests, it’s okay to say no and give others a chance to step up.

2. Take advantage of online and very local shopping

Save yourself the drive, the traffic, and the parking nightmares (not to mention the long lines) by shopping online. Or consider shopping at specialty and local small businesses to save yourself the long, headache-inducing trips to the mall and outlets. The gratitude you’ll receive is often worth the few extra dollars you pay to support your neighborhood merchants.

3. Pay the kids to help

If you have presents for cousins and friends that need wrapping, why not let the kids do it? Offer to pay a little cash for their efforts. Who cares if the wrapping isn’t perfect? It’s the thought that counts, right?

What else can your kids do to help? Decorate the house? Address envelopes? Clear away the clutter? Dish out the chores and free up some time for you.

4. Make your list and check it twice

Too often we have to run back to the store because we forgot a gift, or an essential recipe ingredient. Planning ahead, making lists, and being a little more organized this time of year can be a tremendous time-saver.

5. Buy extra gift cards to have on hand

It’s easy to forget a gift for your UPS delivery person, your mail carrier, or your hairdresser. Have a few gift cards on hand in pretty envelopes, so you’ll be ready with a last minute present.

6. Stock the freezer

Even if you love preparing home-cooked meals for dinner, there are times when you need a quick fix. Perhaps the day escaped you, the kids have three different schedules, or a group of friends stopped by. Have the freezer stocked with easy meals and fun appetizer platters to save time and effort.

7. Take time for you

Falling into bed exhausted is not fun. Create a nightly ritual that will help you relax and ease the transition to sleep. Try a foot soak and scrub. Put on a face mask. Take a long, lavender-scented bath. Practice a little meditation or yoga in a quiet spot. You’ll unwind and sleep better, which in turn will allow you to wake well-rested—and ready for more holiday fun!

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