Ready for the hustle and bustle that Christmas seems to bring? Started your shopping, your endless errands, your rush to get that bargain? You need some Christmas stress relief, My Sweet Friend! Here are a few ideas to help save you time and alleviate some stress for your Christmas holidays.
1. Write lists: Rather than try to remember all the people you need to shop for, all the errands you need to run and all the festivities you are to attend, take the time to write it down and organize it into lists. You could have lists for gifts, lists for errands, lists for festivities. Don’t forget to organize your family calendar with all family members to avoid any last-minute need-to-dos that could put a crimp in your holiday style.
2. Shop online: Black Friday seemed so much more restful without waiting in line, rushing to get that last toy on the bargain bin, and getting pushed, shoved and overtaken by bleary-eyed shoppers who dared to brave the malls. I saved time, gas and strain. I especially love sites which give me a great price and free shipping. Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over with, there is still time to shop online and have your gifts delivered by Christmas. Check your favorite website for delivery deadlines.
3. Eat with paper plates: Before you go on thinking that this is not good for the environment, let me just say that you are actually saving the water that you would have used to wash the dishes.
4. Buy takeout: It’s worth it. I’m a big fan of the drive-thru or the phone-in-my-order-before-I-pick-it-up techniques. Even better, pizza delivered to your door is a great time-saver, too.
5. Buy pre-made dough:Feel the need to give homemade baked goods this holiday season? Save time and save yourself from the extra mess by buying some really good pre-made dough. Cookie dough, cinnamon roll dough, monkey bread, or whatever you so wish. Add a personal touch to the baked goods to make it your signature dish. For instance, drizzle chocolate or caramel syrup onto your cinnamon rolls. Or, sprinkle red and green candy onto your cookies.
6. Turn your holiday chores into a party: You want it done, but you also want to use the time for celebrating? Host a party! What kind of party? Well, here are a few awesome party ideas: Tree trimming, house decorating, cookie baking, gift wrapping…all those Christmas to-dos can be turned into a fun get together, making great memories for those you hold dear.
7. Make semi-homemade meals: Still want to keep that personal touch with family dinner time during the busy month? Still want your children to have great Christmas meal memories of your homemade meals? Buy it frozen and heat it up. The market is filled with a lot of delicious frozen meals which, when heated properly, will make you look like Emeril played Santa and cooked for you tonight. Frozen lasagnes, chicken cannelloni, gourmet pizzas, even pre-made stir fry will allow you to put in a little bit of work while you take all the credit when your loved ones ooooh! and aaaah! at your magical creation.
8. Exchange babysitting time with your friends: I have a group of friends who do a great job at exchanging babysitting days with each other. Let’s face it, shopping for Little Junior’s Christmas gift would be a whole lot easier if he weren’t there to see you make the purchase. Exchanging babysitting time with a friend will give you a chance to have a little “me” time while getting all your holiday errands done.
9. Use gift bags: Gift bags revolutionized the gifting industry. They are to presents like the microwave is to heating food….they just make it go so much faster. This is a personal preference, of course. I find it so much easier to put a gift into a bag with some tissue paper as opposed to measuring out my wrapping paper, cutting, folding, taping…then measuring, cutting and tying the ribbon.
10. Take time out for cocoa:Yes…this is a must in my book. What is more relaxing and more stress-relieving then a really good cup of cocoa? All that steaming chocolate wiping away every memory of holiday chaos from your busy day. Get a great brand. Or, get a regular brand and add your own personal flare with a melted piece of chocolate, some cinnamon, some vanilla and whipped cream. Need I say more?
As the Christmas season begins, holiday stress increases. Take these measures to make your Christmas a less stressful, a truly joyous and a merry holiday occasion.
Merry Christmas, my Sweet Friend!