Tips to De-Stress Your Christmas
Christmas is just a few days away, and I’m sure some of us are feeling crunched for time. I shared a few thoughts on my blog about adjusting our attitudes so that we’re not putting the image of a picture-perfect Christmas ahead of actually taking the time to enjoy special moments with our families. I’m back with a few more tips on how to cut a few corners to save some time and stress this weekend and for the big day.
Last minute shopping: Think gift cards. Seriously, just go to Giant Eagle with a list of the remaining people you need to buy for, and pick out some gift cards that they’ll enjoy. You could earn fuelperks, they’ll get something that they can enjoy, and you won’t have to fight the crowds or spend hours searching for a gift. If you have some extra time, hit up Pinterest for some creative gift card wrapping ideas. Otherwise, just tape ‘em to a candy bar, wrap, and give.
Another great last-minute gift card option is Amazon–$50+ gift cards are available in a gift box with FREE One-Day shipping. You can also get one right away with a printable option, or you can even email it if you need a gift for someone far away. Easy peasy, and they’ll definitely find something to use it on.
Food: Think simple and make ahead! Unlike Thanksgiving, Christmas doesn’t center as much around the meal (at least not when there are little kids around!). On Christmas Day, we’re doing a package of frozen cinnamon rolls that I got on sale weeks ago, and we’ll do Christmas Breakfast for brunch (a make-ahead egg casserole). Dinner might be lasagna…not exactly traditional, but easy to make ahead and just pop in the oven when I need to. Because let’s face it, on Christmas afternoon, I’d much rather be playing with all my kids’ new toys than slaving away in the kitchen.
Gift Prep: It’s working out kind of nicely that we have two weekend days, then Christmas Eve and Christmas. It gives most of us a little more breathing room with some of those last-minute tasks after the work week wraps up. Do yourself a favor and try to get as much of your wrapping done early this weekend as possible. The past few years I’ve underestimated how long it would take to wrap, and I was up way too late Christmas Eve finishing…and tired mama equals stressy mama, at least in my house!
One more thing about wrapping – keep it simple! Paper plus label works just fine for almost everyone (or in the case of some of my gifts this year: Paper plus Sharpie-markered name when I didn’t feel like hunting for my missing labels). Skip the fancy-schmancy bows if you’re short on time…they end up in the trash like everything else, and take a bunch of extra time to make!
Once things are wrapped, get it organized – a bag/box of gifts for your side, a bag/box for the in-laws, a bag/box for any other gathering you’re attending, and a pile for under your tree. You’ll be ready to just grab the gifts and go, rather than scrambling to find Aunt Mabel’s present as you’re rushing out the door.
Clothes: Get everyone’s church/party clothes ready Saturday morning so they’ll be ready when you need them. Right down to tights, socks, dressy shoes, hairbows…all the stuff that drives you nuts when it’s missing at the last minute and makes you grouchy when you should be feeling the Christmas spirit. Lay it out or hang it up somewhere safe, and if something’s missing or dirty, you have time Saturday morning to take care of it before things get super busy over the next few days.
Have fun! Make time to make memories and get goofy with the kids. Put on Christmas music and have a dance party. Eat too many cookies. Snuggle and watch Christmas movies. Tell dumb Christmas joke. Nothing busts holiday stress like the sound of giggling kids, and that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Post co-authored with Megan Frederick, Assistant at SistersShoppingOnAShoestring.com.