The holidays are a time for families and reflection, giving, and gratitude. The holidays also present ample opportunity to feel overwhelmed with planning. Unwrap the joy of the season with these five tips to relieve holiday pressure.
Make a list, check it twice. Why wait for an “official” start to the holiday season when you have a year to get holiday plans in order. Tackle your list in small, manageable chunks. If you send an annual letter, keep a notepad or Word Doc of highlights throughout the year, so you aren’t starting with a blank sheet of paper late in the game. See the perfect gift for someone on your list in March? Buy it or at least write it down, so you remember it later. Invest in giftwrap at the end of the season when it’s a fraction of the price; you’ll be all set for the next year.
Slow cook a smorgasbord. Timing a large sit-down meal can be daunting as your holiday guest list grows. Make it easy on yourself and your guests. Have grab-and-go foods prepared in slow cookers and finger foods prepped and ready to replenish. Meatballs, pulled pork, deli meats and cheeses, veggie trays, and olive or fruit skewers offer festive nibbles that keep guests happy. Serve on stylish recyclable plates, and everyone wins (especially the host!).
Give the gift of experience. The greatest gifts are not things…they are memories of shared experiences. Create meaningful moments with games and activities for everyone. The whole family can participate in this family trivia game: Have guests tell two truths and one lie about themselves, and others must guess which is the lie. Or, exchange names and have each person share a favorite memory or funny story about the individual whose name they received.
Create a mobile-free zone. In order for the previous tips to work, this one is a must—even for the teenagers who may be most unwilling to live without a phone for a few hours.
Start traditions. Traditions alleviate the need to fill time. Consider the annual baking of sweets, breads or candies. Plan a popcorn and movie night with a perennial favorite. Commit to a volunteer activity. Take a moonlight hike, cross-country ski, or campfire.
The holidays are meant to be a time of celebration. Keeping holiday plans in perspective allows the meaningful moments to shine.