Okay, okay, there is probably no such thing as a stress-free holiday, simply because we insist on packing so much activity into such a short time. Shopping, baking, cleaning, mailing packages, writing Christmas cards, entertaining, attending parties. Whew! It's enough to make anyone dizzy. So, if we can't elimiate stress entirely, here are five ways to reduce stress during the holidays.
1) Make a plan. Instead of running around to several different stores, decide what you're shopping for and where best to find it, then head out. Try to stick to one geographical area at a time - the mall on Friday night, the local shopping center on Sat., etc.
2) Shop during off hours if possible. Take an early lunch one day and get a few things done, or come into work extra early and take off at three. Of course, it helps to have a flexible work schedule and an understanding boss. If you can't swing that, several stores open as early as 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. on weekends and stay open late during the holidays.
3) If you do get stuck in a long line, take a deep breath. Try to use the time productively. Enjoy the lovely music, think of the fun you're going to have with your kids, reminisce about your favorite Christmas, people watch. You're stuck in line anyway, why be miserable? Same thing goes for the cookies that burn or the gelatin that won't set. Don't sweat the small stuff and lose sight of the important stuff.
4) Prioritize. As the holiday draws nearer, you may not be able to get everything on your list done. Decide which items must be done and focus on those. Christmas will still come if you don't get every decoration up or make that extra batch of fudge.
5) Remember why we're celebrating. It should be a time of joy, of love, of opening our hearts to those around us. Don't let little things get you down. Enjoy the time we are given to spend with our loved ones. It's priceless.