Most people these days maintain their schedule on a digital calendar that they share between their computer, their mobile phone and perhaps a tablet. The key to making the holidays manageable and enjoyable is to actually schedule your activities. Spend time with your calendar and schedule every action and event you can think of. Allot time for shopping, gift wrapping, baking and schedule all of the events you think you will attend even if you don’t know the exact day yet. Creating a schedule will give you an idea of how much you have on your plate and give you time to say no to things that are not a priority.
Negotiate a smaller list
Perhaps the biggest source of stress for people during the holidays is the gift list. Buying gifts can be fun, but many of us leave it to the last minute and that actually causes us to spend more because we grab items without paying attention to cost, just so we can finish. And the cost is a source of stress for many of us. A lot of families have agreed to limit or eliminate gift giving among adults, like brothers and sisters, and just buy gifts for their own children. Another popular practice is the gift exchange or swap where everyone in the family gets the name of one other person and only buys one gift with a maximum value of, say, twenty dollars. In the swap version everyone involved buys one gift with an agreed maximum and then one by one the gifts are handed out. As each person opens their gift they can then choose to keep it or give it to another person and “steal” the gift they have. It may sound a bit aggressive but is actually a lot of fun and it will drastically reduce your gift list and your cost. And that is really fun.
The basic idea is to look at all of your holiday commitments, reduce them as much as you can and then schedule every one of them so you know what’s coming. Some holiday surprises are wonderful, but not the ones that stress you out.
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