It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season will arrive before you know it. Have you made your list and checked it twice?
If not, starting early can prevent the last-minute rush — and the resulting stress. Here are ten ways to prepare for the holiday season so that you can enjoy the festivities instead of feeling panicked.
1. Make a Fall House Cleaning Schedule
Do you whirl like a dervish with a dust mop every November? Does it suddenly seem like you have more dust bunnies in your home than furniture?
Start by making a fall house cleaning checklist of chores you must tackle. Then, assign one family member to one or two tasks each week, starting now. By the time the turkey day arrives, your house will sparkle.
2. Stow Away Seasonal Supplies
If you live in a cold-weather climate, you probably have little use for your weeder or hoe once the snow starts to fly. Learn how to bundle up your long-handled tools to save considerable garage space.
If you whip out your credit card the second seasonal items hit store shelves, you should save the boxes for delicate items such as ornaments. For everything else, invest in stackable storage bins that seal tightly and keep insect pests away.
3. Start Shopping Early
Would you rather receive a hasty last-minute gift or one that took time and thought? If the latter, do your recipients the same favor by starting your holiday shopping early.
Make a list of everyone you want to delight this year. Set a budget limit for each recipient, and when you go grocery or clothes shopping, knock one or two off your list, depending on your available cash. You earn bonus points if you tackle gift wrapping soon after arriving home — you can use pretty bows instead of yesterday’s newspaper.
4. Agree on Gift-Giving Limits
While you don’t want to assign a dollar amount to expressions of caring, in a capitalist society, money can result in considerable stress. Setting a limit on the total each family member spends can significantly reduce your holiday stress.
If you don’t feel comfortable discussing figures, why not divide the gift-giving an alternative way. You could have each person draw a name out of a hat and buy only for that recipient. You could likewise limit the number of gifts each person receives.
5. Learn About Everyone’s Dietary Needs
When it comes time to cook for your crew, it can prove frustrating to create culinary magic and have Aunt Edna complain that she can’t digest anything on the menu. The solution? If you are in charge of the annual feast, communicate with potential attendees about their dietary restrictions sooner than later.
Often, you can find recipes that pull double, even triple-duty for those who avoid certain foods. Treats like savory mushroom and quinoa-stuffed mini pumpkins delight vegans and gluten-free folks alike.
6. Elevate Your Meal Prep Game
If you look up “holidays” in the dictionary, you’ll see one of the synonyms is “hectic.” Okay, that’s an exaggeration — but it’s tempting to hit the drive-thru when gift-shopping takes precedence over dinner at the end of the workday.
Get on point with your meal prep game. You might not feel like coming home to chop spinach and red peppers for a healthy salad, but if all you need to do is toss the ingredients in a bowl, it’s easier to resist french fries.
7. Adopt an Exercise Routine
Even though most Americans only gain one pound over the holiday season, the unwanted weight adds up as the years’ progress. Exercise is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight.
However, if you ever tried to start a new endeavor during a high-stress period, you know the challenge of getting it to stick. That’s why you need to get into a routine now so that it becomes more natural to turn to yoga or spin instead of the second glass of merlot when things get hectic.
8. Create a Safety Plan for Gatherings
It doesn’t matter how weary you are of social distancing and dire news broadcasts. The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t disappeared — you need a plan to keep holiday gatherings safer.
How? One way is to keep your HVAC filters clean to reduce germs circulating in your home. Another involves installing hand sanitizer stations. Invest in decorative, even holiday-themed paper towel holders for restrooms to keep guests from wiping their mitts on your bath towel.
Also, please remind attendees to stay home if they have a fever or other symptoms. While you may only see Uncle Bob once a year, waiting another 12 months is preferable to contaminating others.
9. Synchronize Your Technology
When distant relatives can’t travel to you, why not bring the festivities to them? You can do so safely with the help of the internet.
Reach out to grandparents and other family members who might struggle with technology and make sure their gear works. That way, when it comes time to Facetime at Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll minimize frustrating glitches.
10. Get Into the Spirit of Hygge
“Hygge” — pronounced “hue-guh” — is a Danish and Norwegian term for a feeling of cozy contentment. Bring this spirit into your home by upgrading your decor now.
Invest in tons of comfy throws and pillows for afternoons by the fire with a juicy novel. Buy some fall-scented fragrance oils for your aromatherapy diffuser. If you need to restock your stash of Sherpa socks, go crazy — maybe adding a fleece-lined robe for the ultimate in “aah.”
Prepare for the Holiday Season With These 10 Tips
The holidays will arrive before you know it. Get prepared for the upcoming season and ditch the rush with these ten tips.