I know it seems too early to be talking about Christmas already, but November will be here by the end of next week! I’ve said it before and I will say it again, time seems to fly by lately. I feel like the holidays are always notorious for being a stressful time for everyone, especially us moms! We always have a billion things to do and as soon as we start making a dent in our to do lists, a billion more things get added to it. I still find myself having moments of feeling overwhelmed, but I have learned how to calm some of the craziness over the years by getting myself organized. Check out some of my tips and tricks below- hopefully you will find them helpful and be able to enjoy yourself a little more during the chaotic months that are about to approach us.
Plan and Make Lists
Is anyone else a list maker? Being a busy mom of three, my brain can sometimes feel like mush when it is on overdrive. Sometimes I forget to do things I need to get done or buy things I need at the store. I find making lists takes a lot of pressure off of myself to remember every little thing. I personally love to use my phone to make and store all of my to do lists. This lets me keep them all in one place and I never leave home without them this way. If making lists on your phone isn’t your thing, just grab a pen and notepad and get to it. Some of the most helpful lists during Christmas for me are the following:
-Who am I buying presents for this year?
-What traditions do I want to plan for my family and do I need to do anything in advance to prepare (i.e. buy movie or concert tickets, reservations at a favorite restaurant, arrange travel arrangements, etc.)?
-What stores will I need to visit over the next couple of months to get everything I need?
Set A Budget
Planning a budget can be one of the most stressful parts of Christmas. I always want to get my kids most of the toys that they ask for, but I don’t want to go overboard. I also love buying for the rest of my family, kids teachers, friends, etc. With that said, the cost of all of the gifts can really start to add up. Start planning a budget and trying to save as early as you can every year. I know it is really hard, but once you have a budget planned, try to stick with it! Christmas should be about making memories with your loved ones and not stressing yourself over how much you are spending.
See What You Already Have
I like to take a quick inventory on what leftover items I have from previous years. Sometimes I find myself buying more wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, cards, etc. that I don’t end up needing. I love to stock up on wrapping paper the day after Christmas because it goes on sale for super cheap. By taking a quick glance at what I already have, I can avoid spending more money on things I do not need.
Set Up Alerts for Sales
You can go onto most of your favorite stores websites and join their email lists. Not only do a lot of stores give you a discount for singing up with them, you will now be alerted when they are having sales. I love being able to go through the weekly ads on my phone or computer and see what the deals of the week are. This is also helpful when comparing prices from store to store and lets you find the best deals!
There are some days that I feel like I am going 100 mph the entire day trying to get last minute details done. On these days, I find it so much easier if I don’t have to worry about what I am going to cook for dinner. Before the craziness of the holidays is upon us, try to take a day to meal prep. Make as many meals as you can and freeze them. This will be a huge time saver and stress reliever for those days where you are dragging and need some extra time to get other things done (or some time to just put your feet up- you deserve it)!
Ask For Help
I feel like we sometimes forget that we do not have to do everything by ourselves! It is always ok to ask someone to give you a helping hand. Get a close friend, family member or babysitter to come watch your kids for a day so you can run errands by yourself. Ask your hubby for an hour of alone time so you can destress and regroup for the next day. If you are having a get together, make it a pot luck and ask everyone to bring something. If everyone helps to pitch in, it takes the pressure off of yourself and gives you more time to spend with loved ones, relax or focus your energy on doing other things.
Keep it Simple
You do not have to have every square inch of your house covered in lights, a new holiday doormat, holiday dish towels, linens, multiple trees, a runner, etc. to be festive. If you want to decorate, pick out a few fun things to put up in the rooms that get the most traffic. Hang a wreath instead of worrying about putting up all of those strands of lights. You will have just as much fun during your holiday season regardless of how much time and money you spent on decorations. Plus, it will be quicker to take everything down and put it away if you have less out- win, win!
Be Prepared for the Unknown
I definitely do not think anyone should feel obligated to give someone a present just because they give you one. However, I do like to have some extra things in my house or car that I can give out if I need to. The dollar store sells boxes of cards that are perfect for anyone. I like to grab some small candles, bubble bath, soaps, or gift cards throughout the year as well and keep them on hand as just in case gifts. Homemade goodies that are wrapped up in cute tins or bags are also always a big hit!