Let me start this post by saying I do not do well under pressure. I have never been an individual that lived to procrastinate. It makes me nervous and gives me bad anxiety. When I am down to the last minute, my mind goes blank and it is almost like I can’t function. Hence the reason I try to be organized. My stress level is a lot lower if I organize everything.
The holidays are no exception. There are a few things that I do to make the holidays enjoyable, memorable, and less stressful for my little family.
#1 – I start shopping early.
Every year, I usually start shopping in August. Yes, August! My husband and I now get paid twice a month, so we usually try to purchase a couple of gifts every paycheck starting in August. It keeps us from having to use our credit card and ensures we will get the presents we want for our loved ones.
Honestly, stores are having sales all the time. I know Black Friday is a major shopping day full of discounts, but, sometimes, you can get even better deals if you start early.
I will have a list of items I want to purchase for my family and wait until the sale is right for me. Sometimes, I may only have to wait a day and other times, it may be a month or two.
#2 – I purchase wrapping supplies after Christmas day.
This has been a tradition of mine for almost 10 years now. I will hit up the retail stores after Christmas and purchase ribbon, wrapping paper, boxes, and tissue paper at big discounted prices. Plus, I have learned that the big bundles of tissue paper are hard to find after the holiday season.
So, by the time Christmas rolls around, I don’t have to run out and purchase these things.
One other tip…
I like to purchase wrapping paper that I can use for other holidays as well. Even though it may be intended for Christmas gifts, some paper works all year long.
#3 – My husband and I set a budget.
We will sit down and decide how much we want to spend on each family member. We may want to spend more, but our budget may not allow for it. It is good to have an amount to shoot for because it keeps me focused.
And, we even do this for each other. We are not individuals that feel like we have to go out and spend thousands of dollars on each other to show how much we love one another. Christmas is not about that! This year, our budget for each other was $100.00. You may not think that isn’t a lot, but it is perfectly fine for us. Plus, we are getting a new house and that is a pretty big expense right there (insert smile).
#4 – We think of ourselves, first!
This is one that we had to add this year. Usually, I am the person that attempts to please everyone. If you want me there, then I am going to try my darndest to make it happen. Well, then we moved… And, things got complicated.
I was going to attempt to drive to my hometown (a little over an hour) Christmas Eve to attend church at 5pm and eat dinner at my aunt’s house after (a family tradition) and then drive back to Paragould afterwards. That would’ve put us arriving home around 9pm. To head to bed, wake up, have Christmas at our house, and head back to my hometown again.
Then, I had to stop and think about my kids. Remember, they are one and five. And, that would’ve been too much for them. They would’ve been wore out and not able to enjoy their Christmas.
So, I told my mom we couldn’t attend the Christmas Eve events. When you move, things change and we have realized that.
#5 – We stop and remember the reason for the season.
Christmas is not about how much money you can spend or what presents you purchase. It is about Jesus’ birthday and sometimes we can easily forget that with the hustle and bustle of the season.
Jesus doesn’t care if you spend $1.00 or $1000.00. He just wants you to acknowledge his birthday! One of the amazing ladies I follow on Instagram stated that one of her family traditions is making Jesus a birthday cake. I seriously think I will make that one of ours too! Everyone else in our family gets a birthday cake, so Jesus should too. Maybe that will help the kids remember the importance of the day as well.
Honestly, I enjoy giving gifts a lot more than I enjoy receiving them. Don’t get me wrong, receiving is great. But, it makes me so happy to see a smile on someone else’s face.
I would love to hear how you and your family keep the holidays stress-free! Please share in the comments below.