December can be a magical month, filled with parties and school events and family get togethers. It can also be a stressful time for many, both in terms of time management and planning and your wallet. So, as we begin this month, we wanted to share some great tips to help you manage the stress and enjoy this special time of year.
Make a plan: Before anything else start with a plan. Divide your list into categories, such as shopping, cooking, invitations etc., and then work with what you have left in terms of time. Be realistic, compromise and be ok with that. So much stress comes from aiming for perfection and giving yourself more to do than time allows. This is a season of joy so make sure you allow time for it!
Gift giving: Set a budget and stick to it. Once you have the budget (per person) you can draw up a gift giving list. Shopping online can be a great way to reduce stress. You can shop in pajamas (immediate win) and cost compare quickly. Consider charitable giving in lieu of gifts for adults who have enough and ask them to return the favor. If you are travelling this season, simplify your packing and your lists with gift cards instead. The most important takeaway here is to stick to what you can afford. The biggest stressor this time of year can be a financial one.
Wrapping: Wrap as you go to save a last-minute panic. Keep it simple – use the same paper for each gift and give up fancy, expensive bows for string. (think Julie Andrews and her brown paper packages wrapped up with string). The end result can be stunning in its simplicity and save you on the hidden costs of wrapping.
Plan ahead: Whether it be travel, get togethers or cooking, planning ahead can save you a lot of headaches later. If you are having a get together at your home, delegate some responsibility to others. When it comes to baking and cooking, don’t shy away from pre-preparation and freezing. It doesn’t have to all be done last minute. On the day of the party, take 30 minutes to clean up the house. It doesn’t have to be perfect and getting caught up in attempts to make it so will always fail.
Decorating: Go for a monochrome look and use what you have on hand. Save Christmas cards and frame them, or fill bowls with simple ornaments. A few clipped berries from the yard can add festive cheer without the expense of fancy decorations. Christmas music and some cinnamon heating on the stove in water will do wonders.
Make time for you: Routine is important and can keep you grounded, so don’t throw out your usual morning cup or an afternoon walk because it’s December. Those moments will keep you sane. Be sure to schedule breaks amongst the madness.
Know when to stop and be satisfied with good enough. And then stop! Know when to say no and what you can and can’t do. Gift giving can be difficult and sometimes thinking outside the box can get you to that great idea. Some of our customers buy a season of mosquito service for their family and we love the creativity of that. Their family love it too when they are outside the next summer. Sometimes stepping away from the commercialism of the season will help get those creative juices flowing.
Whatever you do this season, we hope that you are able to keep your stress low and your joy high. After all, that is what this month is about.