Tips to Reduce Stress and Exhaustion During the Christmas Season
How to enjoy the Holiday Season without becoming unglued
Christmastime should not leave us feeling stressed and exhausted. Unfortunately, the days leading up to Christmas can do just that. The shopping frenzy and the increased financial pressure can bring on stress, readying the house, baking, decorating and entertaining family and friends, while enjoyable, can also place an enormous workload on the person who juggles that end of it, leading to exhaustion.
How can you truly enjoy the wonderful holiday season without becoming unglued?
Do Not Leave Everything to the Last Minute--Start Oct. 1st
Many people leave everything to the last week or even the last few days before Christmas--a sure-fire recipe for pressure, stress and exhaustion. Start Oct. 1st. It's that simple. No matter how busy your daily schedule, take 5-10 minutes each day and devote that time to preparing for Christmas.
My friends think it is rather funny that I start so early each year but last year, I had a crowd in and a visitor marveled over all the baked goodies and the meal and was surprised that I wasn't tired and stressed out. She asked "However do you manage it? I always get so stressed having a crowd in." I explained that I did everything well ahead of time so that I could truly enjoy the Holiday Season. She then remarked, "But still, even the meal you put on tonight looks like so much work." I explained that I had cooked everything ahead of time and only had to reheat it. She looked surprised. "Really?" she asked. "I've never thought of doing that."
Use the tips below and do one or two things each day to prepare for Christmas. You'll be amazed at how much more relaxed you'll feel.
Tips to Reduce Stress and Exhaustion During the Christmas Season
Prepare Goodies Ahead of Time
Tried-and-True Recipes to Fall Back on
It helps to have some tried-and-true recipes to fall back on for Holiday entertaining. This takes the headache out of wondering what to make.
Getting a Head Start on Your Baking
By starting your Christmas baking two months early, you'll have enough time to bake treats such as cookies, bars, and squares and tuck these away ahead of time.
I find getting the baking out of the way reduces enormous pressure. Print off and use the recipes I've included in the capsule. These recipes are tried-and-true and are truly delicious.
Decorate Your House in Stages
Decorating does not have to be done in one marathon session that leaves you exhausted. It can be enjoyable to dig out your Christmas decorations and arrange them around the house in short sessions. When you have enough time to do this and are relaxed, arranging your decorations can be very enjoyable. The house will start to take on that Christmasy feel in a gradual manner.
Tidying up Problem Areas
Clean in Short Sessions
Many people feel overwhelmed at the thought of making the house shine in preparation for guests but by breaking this task into 15-minute sessions, it becomes a breeze, which means you aren't exhausted by the time Christmas arrives. A person can get much done by working in short sessions in a consistent fashion.
Tidy up Problem Areas
Now is the time to check your home and tidy up any areas that need attention, well ahead of when Christmas visitors will come a-calling
Ready Your Guest Bedrooms
Why not launder any sheets and pillowcases now and make up the guest beds so that you don't have to worry about it later? Rooms can be vacuumed and dusted and doors closed, so they will be clean and in good shape for your overnight guests.
Cook Your Christmas Dinner Ahead of Time
Cooking Meat and Slicing it
This might seem a bit odd, but bear with me. I cook all of my Christmas meat in the week or two before Christmas. Ham and turkey can be cooked, cooled, and sliced ahead of time, then it only needs reheating on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. (Having all the meat sliced shaves time off last minute preparation.)
Making & Baking Casseroles
Cooking things ahead of time is a sure-fire stress-reducer because you will know if everything has turned out and it is such a simple matter to turn on your oven and elements and reheat everything and use your microwave, as needed.
By doing this, about the only thing you will have to prepare will be cheese balls, dips or cracker and cheese plates.
Cooking Extra Food
While I'm at it, I also cook extra food so that that there is almost no cooking after Christmas, so that my time can be spent resting, relaxing, sampling all the goodies and good food, visiting, spending time with family and just enjoying this special time of year.
Set your Christmas Table Ahead of Time
Hours before everyone arrives, I actually set my Christmas table: cloth, centerpiece, cutlery and plates, protective heat pads or trivets, serving dishes and platters I'll be using, serving implements, such as large spoons and meat forks, etc. I then fill my napkin server, check my salt and pepper shakers, set out my cream and sugar sets.
There's good reason for doing this. When you are busy in the kitchen heating your Christmas meal you will not be distracted by running back and forth trying to attend to all of this at the last minute.
Setting the Christmas Table Ahead of Time
Reducing Stress for Next Year's Christmas
Planning Ahead--Buying Christmas Cards, Wrapping Paper, Bows and Tape After Xmas When These Items Go on Sale
If it is within your budget, another neat trick to reduce hassle is to pick up boxes of Christmas cards, tape, name tags, ribbons, bows and wrapping paper, after Christmas, when these items go on sale. You save money and you save time the next year because you have these items on hand.
Keep Your Wrapping Paper, Tape, Scissors, Ribbons and Bows Together
I keep all of my wrapping supplies in a large gift bag, so that when I go to wrap presents, I don't have to stop and try to hunt up missing scissors or tape, which can be very frustrating.
Reducing the Chore of Preparing Parcels for Mailing
Getting parcels ready for sending in the post can be a real chore. Throughout the year, I save boxes that are good candidates for sending gifts in. I also keep a supply of brown paper, sturdy packing tape in a dispenser and a roll of string on hand. Another neat trick is to store a supply of address labels in with your parcel materials and then when you go to send a parcel, you attach a label, instead of having to write out your address each time.
Save Time Writing Christmas Cards
Type one master Holiday letter, updating your friends and family of happening throughout the year and print off copies. Slip these into all Christmas Cards, thus saving much time in writing out your year's worth of news in each card.
Christmas Tree Trick for Faux Trees
If you have a spare room or roomy porch on your main floor, leave your tree fully decorated and place it in there. Cover it with a blanket to protect it from dust. When Christmas comes around the next year, "setting up your tree" is as easy as sliding it into place. It doesn't get much easier.
Buying Presents for the Coming Year
If your budget allows for it, take advantage of post-Christmas sales and other sales throughout the year to pick up items for next year's Christmas. Buying presents throughout the year means far less running around when Christmas comes around again.
Christmas Tree Can Be Left Decorated & Stored in Porch
Do You Start Your Christmas Preparations Early?
Good Planning Means Xmas is a Joyful Time
Christmas can be a time of true delight, sharing good times with family and friends and creating memories that last a lifetime.
You can reduce stress and exhaustion during the Christmas season by planning and preparing ahead.
© 2011 Athlyn Green