Stress No More: Four Easy Ways to Simplify the Season

There are four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, and in those 28 days you need to find gifts for everyone in your extended family, perfect your pie crust before the holiday party you’re throwing, mail cards with thoughtful notes in them to your entire address book, put up perfect decorations and more. No wonder 90 percent of Americans feel anxious about at least one aspect of the season. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, keep your days merry and bright by cutting out what makes the holidays hectic. Here are four ways to help skip the stress this year:

  1. Skip the holiday cards. Tidings of comfort and joy can be just as festive when delivered to an inbox versus a mailbox. If emailing a card seems impersonal, think of ways to make it special. For example, you can include a retro picture of your family from a long-ago holiday party and write a funny note about how things have changed. Another idea is to donate the money you otherwise would have spent on cards and stamps and attach a link to the nonprofit in the message.
  2. Rethink the traditional Christmas tree. Creating a peaceful, festive setting can be costly and time-consuming. Instead of going all-out with a tree, go minimalist with garland, wreaths, poinsettias or candles. They will still set the scene for the season, but are far easier to set up and take down. If your children really want a tree, decorate one in your yard with outdoor-safe lights and bird food garland.
  3. Embrace gift cards. Battling the crowds at the mall can squash the merry spirit in even the bravest soul. Give yourself a break and your loved ones the joy of shopping by purchasing gift cards, either online or at your local grocery store. You’ll avoid overspending out of guilt and can give it a personal touch by pairing the card with a heartfelt note.
  4. Keep your kitchen calm. If prepping the holiday feast falls on your shoulders this year, feel free to cut corners unabashedly. Go for the refrigerated pie crust or gussy up the pre-ordered food by presenting it on your prettiest platters. It’s also okay to turn dinner into a potluck. Make it memorable by asking your family and friends to bring their favorite dish and to email you the recipe they used. Create a master document with the recipes and send them out to your guests as a fun reminder of a wonderful holiday meal.



Photo credit: Hannah Sorensson

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