Simplify your holiday season
This year, instead of hectic holidays filled with over-the-top decorations and expensive presents, give yourself a gift and simplify with these tips.
“Do whatever you can in advance so you can spend quality fun time with those you love,” said success and wellness coach Teresa Kay-Aba Kennedy, president of Power Living Enterprises in New York City. “Choose your priority activities and say ‘no’ to the rest. With shopping, cooking and all the preparations, pace yourself. … Most of all, give yourself and others the gift of being present.”
Do less, but better
“Rather than overdecorating with wreaths, ribbons, baubles and detailed nativity scenes all over the house, focus on doing fewer things well,” said Nicola Croughan, interior decorator at Blinds Direct. “Dedicate your efforts to one room to create a cozy Christmas vibe, and stick to understated and handmade pieces for that ‘less is more’ look.”
Stick to a budget
“Many consumers, especially parents who want to give their kids a perfect holiday, tend to overspend. This not only creates stress during the holidays, but it also creates stress during the new year as consumers struggle to pay off holiday debt,” said Beverly Harzog, a consumer finance analyst and credit card expert at US News & World Report. “It’s important to create a brutally realistic holiday budget. Set a budget for gifts, entertaining, travel and any other expenses you know you’ll incur during the season. Then set dollar limits for each person on your list. Use a phone app to track your spending to make sure you’re on target while you’re shopping. The key is to stay within your budget so you can avoid credit card debt.”
“Use a notebook, a spreadsheet, a note on your phone — whatever is easiest for you. Write down the people you are buying for and add a few extra gifts to the list to have on hand,” said professional organizer Lisa Dooley, owner of Your Organized Life, near Boston. “Once the item is purchased, update the list. Does it need to be wrapped and shipped? Add that to the task list. Getting all of this out of our heads and onto a list takes a lot of stress out of the holidays.”
“People too often give bad presents because they insist on buying something different for everyone. If you can find one sure thing, don’t be afraid to give it more than once,” said Lia Manea, author of “Find That Perfect Gift!”
“One way to avoid excess is to agree on giving a consumable $5 or less gift. This can be bath salts, a huge package of Top Ramen or hot sauce, ChapStick or unique foods. The more unique, the better,” said Victoria Vajgrt, professional home organizer in Asheville, North Carolina.
“It’s easy to get caught up in romantic perfection during the holiday season, but it actually just makes things a little less sweet. Add a dose of realism into your days and you’ll enjoy it way more,” said Zara Woods, United Kingdom-based success coach.
“Find three things every day that you’re grateful for. Big or small, this will keep your energy high and your vibe positive,” said Woods.
Laugh a lot
“Laughter — it’s pretty much the best stress-busting, face-enhancing, day-enhancing hack around,” Woods said. “Did you know it’s actually impossible to be angry while smiling? Next time your anger radar is activated, give it a go.”