This holiday season, don’t miss out on all the fun by trying to be an overachiever. You know what I mean – spending all your time in the kitchen while everybody else enjoys the party you worked so hard to pull together. Having every family member, even the difficult ones, over on the same day in an effort to please everyone. Trying to mirror Martha Stewart by worrying about every last detail as you decorate your home. Instead, use our stress-free holiday tips and enjoy the season.
Stop Trying to Be Perfect
This is one of the most important tips we can recommend to you. During the holidays, there’s the pressure to have a great time and to make it memorable for everyone around you. Most of us carry high expectations this time of year, trying to make everything perfect. Worse, if everything doesn’t go flawlessly, we beat ourselves up. Instead, accept the fact that life is a bit messy at times, so have fun, make popcorn garland with the kids and if the gravy doesn’t turn out perfectly (you know – those darned lumps), just “let it go”.
Map Out Your Priorities
When it comes to setting priorities, set aside plenty of priority time to spend with those you love should be at the top of the list. This also applies to the events you attend, where you shop, the rules you want to follow when it comes to gift giving and the food you feel like serving. The most important thing to do during the holidays is to focus on activities that give you and your family joy.
No Fuss – No Muss
When it comes entertaining during the holidays, “quality” tops “quantity” every time. Have fun by trying out a few new appetizers (test them out for yourself first), come up with a cheery holiday playlist and a couple of tasty signature cocktails and sparkly water for youngsters). Not of fan of hitting the malls? Shop online for everyone on your Christmas list – you’ll probably save money too, an added bonus. You don’t even need to go crazy decorating. You know, trying to display every last piece from 20 boxes brimming with decorations. Just pick out a few of your favorite pieces and have your family to choose some of their favorites as well.
This may sound like a crazy suggestion during what is usually a hectic time of year, but exercising helps reduce both anxiety and holiday weight gain. This doesn’t mean you need to go to the gym every day – just make time for a brisk walk, take a few extra laps around the mall, have some outdoor fun with the kids (just bundle up).
Have a Cookie Party
Hosting a cookie party is a fun, low-stress way to spend time with family and friends during the holidays. Have each guest bring some different colored icings, sprinkles, etc., and bake or purchase undecorated cutout sugar cookies (some bakeries supply them) for everyone to decorate. Just set up tables and cover them with wrapping paper, or inexpensive tablecloths that you can gather up after the party and throw away.
Avoid Over Indulging
Most of us over-indulge during the holidays. The good news is that there are several ways to “slim down” holiday meals and ways to prepare yourself before you attend an event. Before you go, eat a healthy, light snack. If you’re invited to dinner and are asked to bring something, take along a low-calorie dish and a healthy non-alcoholic beverage.
Savor the Moment
Last but not least, it’s important to make time to “savor the moment”. Thanks to the hustle bustle of the holiday season, we often miss out on the simple pleasures. Take time to appreciate the smell of the Snickerdoodles baking in the oven and to snuggle up in front of the fireplace, reading your child their favorite Christmas story. The most important part of taking the time to enjoy the holidays is to put things into perspective. As you feel the stress taking over, ask yourself if what you’re worried about is really that important, or that urgent. You’ll find that the answer is probably “no”. Instead, create special memories with those you hold close to your heart.