Folks, the holidays are right around the corner.
In a perfect world, the holiday season would be filled with tons of merriment and zero Christmas stress am I right?
But, the reality is that the holidays can get overwhelming for most people. Once Thanksgiving rolls around it seems that time moves fast and before you know it Christmas creeps up on us.
Whether you’ve got holiday parties to organize, gifts to buy, menus to plan or a house to keep clean for visitors – it can feel like too much if you aren’t prepared.
Today I’ve got a special post about managing and hopefully preventing Christmas stress that can make the holidays a burden rather than a joy.
These same ideas apply to all major holidays friends. So, keep Thanksgiving in mind too!
Here are 8 proven hacks to prepare for a stress free holiday season!
8 Hacks To Minimize Christmas Stress
1. Sign Up For My Mailing List
If you haven’t already signed up for my mailing list, you should.
I’m regularly posting holiday content including recipes, DIY projects and money saving tips that can be a great help to keep Christmas stress levels down this holiday season.
If you’re interested in receiving updates from me please don’t hesitate to sign up for my mailing list using this convenient form.
You should also follow me on social media to stay in the loop.
2. Finalize Your Guest list
If you’re entertaining this holiday season you’ve got to know exactly how many guests you’re having over.
If you’re buying gifts this Christmas you need to know exactly how many so you can budget appropriately.
See where I’m going with this? Yup, you gotta make a list. A few of them actually.
Knowing how many people you’re going to be feeding or buying gifts for is really the starting point when reducing holiday Christmas stress.
Lists are important folks. And, an organized detailed holiday list will make keeping on top of your holiday obligations a breeze.
So, take a minute and make a list of how many adults and children you’ll be having over (or buying gifts for) so you can start the planning process early. The last thing you want to do here is leave it to the last minute.
So, make a list. Whether you’re the host or you and your family are the guests you should make a holiday guest/gift list just the same.
3. Start a Holiday Fund
If you tend to bust your budget every year during the holidays you might want to start considering creating a holiday fund.
Creating a holiday fund well in advance really helps reduce Christmas stress folks. It allows you to save a little more and plan for the increased expense that comes with the holidays which can make the financial burden of the holidays a little easier on your family.
So, tucking away even few dollars every week starting in the fall is a great way to save some extra cash and reduce the financial obligation that comes from hosting holidays and buying gifts.
Tucking away even a few dollars can be tough if you’re living on a fixed income or very tight budget. I totally get that.
If you’re in this situation you can always look at picking up a side hustle to make a little extra before the holidays, cash in on some clutter or even find an online gig to score a few extra bucks.
My favorite way to save a little extra in anticipation of the holidays is to collect all our loose change in a jar. Change adds up pretty quickly and if you start collecting right now I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see how much you’ve saved by Christmas!
4. Plan Your Holiday Meals
If you get stuck when it comes to setting a menu for your holiday gatherings you should absolutely look for some inspiration.
Creating a menu well ahead of time allows you to get the menu planning portion of your holidays plans out of the way to free up some time for other tasks.
When it comes to planning a holiday meals it’s important to consider who you’ve having over for lunch or dinner. Things you need to be asking yourself include:
- How many people will I be feeding?
- Are there any dietary restrictions I need to consider?
- Will my guests be bringing any food?
Once you’ve got the answer to those questions you can easily start planning a delicious stress-free meal that will wow your guests.
You’ll notice that one of the questions is about what food guests will bringing to your holiday gathering.
More often than not, guests will offer to bring “something” to your party. Rather than tell them “bring whatever you want” use their generous offer to your advantage and ask them to bring something specific.
My go-to request is usually an appetizer or a dessert because I like to plan my mains and sides myself. But, don’t be shy to ask for exactly what you feel will round out your meal the best.
When I’m invited to a party and I offer to bring something I always prefer when our host tells me exactly what they’d like me to bring. It makes the process easier for all parties involved ya know?
Here are a few recipe posts you might find helpful as you meal plan
- 23 Ways To Cook A Delicious Perfect Holiday Turkey
- The BEST Holiday Sides Recipes ( Over 70 Recipes)
- 15 Delicious Holiday Alternatives To Turkey
- 35 Best Stuffing & Dressing Recipes
- 65 Best Delicious Holiday Cookie Recipes
5. Shop Sales For Food
Now that you’ve got a guest list and a meal plan in place it’s time to start getting savvy about food shopping.
Food is expensive. So, planning a lunch or dinner for 5, 10, 15 or 20 people can easily set you back a small fortune.
When it comes to shopping for holiday food I like to plan ahead and take advantage of sales.
So, whether you’ve settled on making a traditional roast Turkey or opting for a turkey alternative this year you can easily save money by shopping sales.
Keep an eye on those circulars and be prepared to buy food items that freeze well way in advance.
Turkeys and other meats tend to go on sale right after Thanksgiving. So, buying the cut of meat you’re planning to serve for your Christmas holiday dinner well in advance is a great way to save some money.
Other items you might want to consider buying in advance include sausage for stuffing, gravies, pie fillings and baking ingredients. The more you buy in advance the better!
If you plan your meal this way you’ll only have to buy fresh produce in the days before your planned holiday feast.
6. Do An Inventory
Hosting holiday meals requires stuff.
If you know that you’re having 20 people over for Christmas dinner it’s important to do an inventory of what you’ll need to help you manage that Christmas stress.
You do not want to be frantically searching for extra dishes, drinking glasses, napkins or cutlery on Christmas Eve folks.
So, do an inventory of things you’ll need to host a successful holiday celebration. Once you’ve got a list handy you can check things off that you already have so you know what’s left to buy.
Household goods that should make your list:
- Dishes – for appetizers, entrees and dessert. Paper is a good option when you’re dealing with especially large gatherings.
- Cutlery – do you have enough spoons, forks and knives to accommodate appetizers, entrees and a dessert without having to wash? Again, plastic is a great option when you’re dealing with large groups.
- Drinkware – are you able to provide enough wine and water glasses? Do you have enough cups to accommodate coffee, tea or other hot beverages for your guests? If the answer is no you can always buy disposable options.
- Linens – do you have a suitable tablecloth and napkins? Something to keep in mind is the size of the tablecloth friends. Often, we pop out our table by inserting 2 or more leafs to accommodate our guests which requires and extra large tablecloth.
7. Make Appropriate DIY Decor in Advance
A gorgeous holiday table might not be necessary but it does create a festive mood doesn’t it?
Holiday decor does not have to cost a fortune.
Sure, you can drop a ton of cash by buying premade holiday inspired decor items. But, if you’re getting super organized about the holidays this year and starting to prepare well in advance you have every opportunity to create some gorgeous DIY decor in advance.
If you’re looking for some cheap dollar store holiday DIY projects here are a few posts I wrote
- 25 Best Cheap DIY Holiday Tablescape Ideas
- 50 Best Cheap Wreath Ideas
- 35 Stunning Dollar Store DIY Decor Ideas
8. Start and Keep a Cleaning Schedule
Nothing stresses me out more than knowing I’ve got to keep my house tidy and clean for the holidays.
My Christmas stress doesn’t come from preparing food or hosting large gatherings. Instead, it comes from wanting to have a super clean house when guests come to visit.
Keeping your home tidy and clean during the holiday seasons can be easy. Yup, it can. I promise.
I’m a former messy momma that would leave it to the last minute and be frantically dusting, vacuuming and cleaning in the wee hours of the morning to get my home holiday ready.
I vowed to never have to do that again and I’m happy to report that my simple strategy to keep things neat, clean and organized works.
Tackling your clutter and tidying up a little as you go can really help combat the Christmas stress that comes from needing to clean up for guests. If you’re looking for more details or are curious about how I manage to stay tidy and keep things clean this post about Keeping A Tidy Home When Your Messy is a great place to start.
Final Thoughts On Managing Christmas Stress
Hopefully you found these hacks useful and plan to implement them starting now!
The holidays don’t have to be stressful. With a little careful planning you can guarantee yourself a joyful holiday that you’ll enjoy with those most important to you.