By Deborah King
As seen in Wise Family Today
The holiday season is here! How do you avoid holiday stress and create happy celebrations and wonderful memories? The key is preparation!
Prepare your calendar.
Carefully consider your calendar and what holiday events are realistic to add to your schedule. Choose activities that are most important to you first, and then add other options as time permits. Remember, an over loaded schedule is guaranteed to create stress.
Prepare your budget.
Be realistic about what you can comfortably spend for gifts, decorations, meals and holiday events. Challenge yourself to make this holiday season credit free! If you do, you will ring in 2010 with joy.
Prepare your decorations.
Schedule one of your holiday events as the day you decorate. Involve the entire family, play your favorite holiday music and enjoy a festive meal. This is a great way to usher in the holiday season and create wonderful family memories.
Prepare your menus.
Plan your meals and shop in advance. This will ensure you have the items you need on hand so you are not rushing to the store at the last minute, saving you time and money. How often do you run to the store to pick up just one item and leave with several extra that caught your eye?
Prepare your guest list.
For those events you are hosting, it is best to select your guests and send your invitations out early. Remember, everyone is faced with balancing their schedule at this time of year.
For those events you are invited to attend, please R.S.V.P. promptly! It is an honor to be invited to any event and absolutely thoughtless to not R.S.V.P. If you are unable to attend the event, simply thank your host and let them know you have another commitment. If you said you will attend, then you must – unless there is a dire emergency. If there is, please call your host promptly and let them know. To say you will attend and then be a no-show is simply rude.
Prepare your gifts.
Select gifts based on your budget, relationship and desire – not pressure or guilt. The best gifts are often the most simple. Gifts should be personal – people may appreciate a gift card but no one ever forgets a gift selected just for them.
Prepare your attitude.
Stress and fatigue make it difficult to maintain a positive attitude. Eat healthy meals, get enough rest, exercise and keep a stress free schedule. A good attitude is far more enjoyable than a perfectly set table and beautiful meal served by a cranky person.
Prepare your memories.
Find a way to record the holidays. Take photos, videos, scrapbook, or keep a journal. Pause often and really take in the moments.
Prepare your thank you
Purchase a box of thank you cards in advance so you are prepared. Don’t forget the stamps! Look for opportunities to express gratitude to others. There is no better way to end the year and usher in a new one.