Christmas Hacks

“Christmas is my favorite holiday,” you say. But then you really think about it. The hustle. The schedules. The spending. 

I think we’ve all been there. The moment childhood joy turns a little darker. Gift giving is no longer fun because you’ve been given a “buy me” list from everyone. Receiving gifts is sad because they’ve asked what thing you want. Seeing family is hectic and everyone wants all of your time. When did Christmas get stressful?

Well, we can’t fix Christmas for you, but we can help make the holidays a little less stressful.

First, figure out what part of the holidays is the most stressful for you. Is it the shopping? The ping-ponging from house to house? The need to have the perfect gift for each person? Whatever it is, figure it out. When you pinpoint the problem, you can plan ways around it.

Shopping stresses me out. One thing I like to do around October or early November is to sit down and think out what gifts I’d like to give everyone for Christmas. Once I have my list, I stick to it. This time frame allows me to look for coupons and deals on each item and spread out my budget over 2-3 months, rather than overpaying and buying a ton all at once. And then I don’t panic buy a gift because I ran out of time.

Another good thing I’ve started doing is writing down my non-negotiable things in my planner first. Do you require 4 hours in the morning with your kids alone? Do you want to go to dinner at your grandma’s because she makes the best pies? Do you want to be home by 8pm on the day of? Write these things down. The rest of the holiday can be built around these, but having these non-negotiables set allows you to say no to things that aren’t important to you.

Next figure out where the holiday falls in your budget. If you can’t afford to get everyone three gifts, don’t. If you can’t afford to make the fancy dish your mother-in-law has assigned to you, then don’t. If you can’t afford the plane ticket, don’t buy it. There are other ways to celebrate and some are much more cost effective.

Let’s take back Christmas this year. Let’s minimize stress and increase the joy. What’s one thing you’d like to do different this year?