Ask anyone who’s had to bear the brunt of the work in preparing for a holiday season— it’s 1 part stress, 1 part anxiety, and 2 parts pure joy. In a season that’s got a reputation of making people feel good, feel thankful, and feel at peace, it can seem a bit ironic that so much planning and consideration can go into something as seemingly simple as a family dinner. There are ways to balance out the stress (even eliminate it— well, to an extent) if you’re mindful— and that’s why we’re here. We know the ins and outs of preparing for the holidays, and hope our advice helps you find peace in this season of joy!
Remember— the stress isn’t necessarily about the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years— they’re all periods of time that are meant to bring the family together and evoke happiness, joy, family, and tradition. These are things we love to surround ourselves with, but when you factor in the heavy planning, cooking, gift wrapping, and back-and-forth communication with potential guests, we forget all of that and resort to a ba-humbug perspective that the holidays themselves are the source of our stress.In lieu of all of this, remember to take a breather and remind yourself that the holidays are not supposed to be a time of stress. Ask yourself what you can eliminate from this holiday workload altogether, or what you can delegate to your spouse, children, or other guests— because deep down, you know that they don’t want you to stress out the way you are!
Curate your holiday. By this, we don’t mean you have to add to it, per say— less can be more. Keep your decorations simple, tasteful, and easy, delegate your tasks to others who are happy to help (you’d be surprised how many little helpers you can find if you just ask for a hand!), and cultivate a holiday guest list that you’re happy with. There will always be family members you might not care to spend time with, but if you’re dreading the entire dinner because of one or two people, you may want to re-evaluate your invitation list!
Do things with your kids. It can be hard to feel the magic of the holidays the way you may have felt it as a child, but that magic comes back when you’re spending time with children who still see that magic. Holiday activities with the kids— gift wrapping, hot cocoa, movies, and the likes— are great ways to reduce the stress, remember the magic, and even get a helping hand with the tremendous to-do list you’ve accumulated. These are some of the best memories you will ever make.
Give your time. This may sound crazy and impossible in the frenzy that is the holiday season. You’re preparing food, shopping for gifts, budgeting, planning… we understand. But when things get tough, it really does feel good to get out and take a breather, and give your time to a cause that you’re passionate about. There is no better time to get involved in charity work than during the holidays. Any help you want to give will, as always, be received with the utmost gratitude, but the sense of joy you get from seeing others benefit directly from your actions in a season where many may not be as privileged is one that you’ll hold with you throughout the year. And the experience is so humbling— it will help you remember the true spirit of the holidays.
Don’t feel guilty declining an offer to a holiday party— especially if it’s from distant friends or relatives that you just aren’t that close with. The holidays are about spending time with your loved ones, creating memories that will prevail throughout the years. Those memories are strongest and most cherished when they’re made with the people you want to focus your time on. This is also a good time to set your focus for the new year— be mindful of those who matter most to you, and be cognizant of including them in your plans wherever possible; while realizing that it is okay not to pay as much attention to relationships that you’re not interested in strengthening. It’s a very easy way to reduce holiday stress for years to come!
This season does only come once a year— but that doesn’t mean the stress is any less frustrating than that of your day job. We’re here for you, all-around, whether you need our help cooking, our advice with food or preparation, or just need some more advice on managing the planning! We hope that you enjoy your holiday season to the absolute fullest extent, and receive the gratitude and thanks you deserve for all you do to get your family together for the holidays.