Posted on: December 8, 2008 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 0

The holiday season is supposed to be one that is filled with holiday cheer and family gatherings, but it also comes with the headache and stress of fighting through crowds of people at the mall doing last minute shopping. Many people try to plan ahead, but are unsuccessful in accomplishing this task or ends up leaving Christmas shopping to the last minute when their stress levels are already high. Christmas should be a time of rest and relaxation with your family and friends. What can you do to make this a reality? How can you get rid of Christmas stress?

Here are some tips to avoid the holiday stress and you can spend your holidays relaxing while sipping some hot chocolate by a cozy fireplace.

1. Plan ahead of time and write out a list.

Set some time aside to sit down and write a list of people you need to purchase gifts for. Beside their name, brainstorm some ideas on what kind of gifts you will be getting them and research where you can get these gifts.

If you are on a budget, by planning ahead you will be able to scope out the best deals and get your items for a reasonable price. Amazon is always a great place to find amazing deals!

By planning ahead, you are able to mail gifts and have the recipient receive your gift in a timely manner, or have the gifts you ordered online arrive before the holiday rush. You can also take advantage of beating the rush by avoiding the additional costs or fees of having your items shipped at a faster rate so that it reaches your recipient on time. There are plenty of advantages to plan ahead for gifts and what was just mentioned is a win-win situation!

2. Shop ahead of time.

Just because the holiday decorations are not up around the mall, this does not mean that you can’t have your shopping done a month or two before Christmas day.

People who plan ahead usually have their Christmas shopping done around November. This avoids the mad rush of the holiday crowd and there is a better chance of you tracking down the item that you wanted on your list. In particular, if you are shopping for a clothing item, the chances of finding the size that you want is more difficult when it is closer to Christmas time compared to if you went shopping for that clothing item a month beforehand.

3. Organize your money.

After you have an idea of who you will be getting gifts for, write their name down on an envelope and put the budgeted amount of money in the envelope. The next you go Christmas shopping, bring these envelopes with you so that you only spend what you have decided on.

This helps you stay on task and on budget. Your bank account and wallet will thank you after the holiday season is over.

If you have change left over from the amount of money that you put into these envelopes, do not spend it! Unless you have designated a certain amount to be fair among individuals, then spend within your limit. Do not spend over the amount or you will lose control of your spending. With the money left over, feel free to save it, or treat yourself to something nice as a reward for getting your Christmas shopping done early.

4. Shop throughout the year for your Christmas gifts.

Take advantage of the sales throughout the year and keep an eye out on sales for items that you may be purchasing for items on your list.

When you are shopping for gifts during the year, you will probably have the opportunity to look for the best sales for the gift items that you are looking to purchase. If you do find the same item at another store with a lower price, you have the time to return the item or price match your item (store policies will vary so be careful of this!).

5. Prepare what you can the day before.

When preparing the Christmas meal, try and do all preparations the day before or the night before. For those meals that can be heated up on Christmas day or needs to be marinated beforehand, it should be done ahead of time to avoid last minute hassles and to prevent any cooking disasters from happening.

By going out and getting your grocery shopping done ahead of time, you will have the opportunity to pick the turkey that you would like to bake. You won’t be stuck with the turkey that nobody wants or even worse…no turkey at all!

Get your baking done during your meal preparations, or even two days before while you are cleaning the house. You will be able to get your baking done and clean the house all at once, which will make your day a successful one. There’s nothing better than feeling productive by the time your day had ended. Especially if it means avoiding stress at Christmas!

6. Have your holiday party catered.

While it may be more costly, if you have your party catered by a company, that takes the food stress out of the picture altogether. All you would have to worry about is deciding on what type of food you would like to serve at your place and which food catering company you want. To avoid doing copious amounts of dishes, you can look into festive paper plates, napkins, table clothes, and most important of all – disposable cutlery!

7. Keep the house clean.

If you are expecting company to come over, do the house cleaning 2 days before you are expecting company. Keep in mind that the day or night before, you will be doing the food preparations for the actual Christmas day. Hire a cleaning company if you do not want to do this yourself, or if you are too busy to do this yourself.

Once you have the house cleaned, you might have to go a few days without making any sort of mess around the house. Keeping it neat and tidy until Christmas day should not be too much of a hassle, since it is a great opportunity to exercise cleanliness and good hygiene.

8. Don’t celebrate Christmas.

To avoid the headache and hassle of Christmas stress, why celebrate it at all? If you choose to not celebrate or partake in the holiday traditions of exchanging gifts, you don’t have to. Simple as that! Keep the curtains closed, snuggle in bed and sleep the day away.

Another option is to get away. Whether that is escaping everything altogether and traveling to some place you’ve always dreamed of or being a couch potato for a day, the bottom line is: do what makes YOU happy! Try a last minute vacation option, or go through a well-known company if you want to have a more structured plan in place.

“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.” – Donald E. Westlake.

Christmas is all about bringing the holiday cheer and picturing a tree filled with lots of presents underneath. However, getting to that point of purchasing those gifts and getting the family together can be a huge hassle. If you plan ahead of time, stay organized, and stick to your budget you should be well on your way to a better Christmas without the stress. Sometimes avoiding the traditional ideas of Christmas altogether can be the biggest stress reliever of all! Follow the guidelines and tips that were suggested above and all will be merry. Have yourself a truly merry Christmas this year!

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