Avoiding Holiday Stress!

by Dorothy “Dotty” Dutton
(Chicago, USA)

Last year’s celebration was great. But this year, you want to make it even better. While there is nothing wrong with this, you risk overdoing everything that nothing seems to suffice. This can increase stress.

Holiday stress can be attributed to lack of time, gift giving obligations, expenses and unrealistic plans for the upcoming festivities. And while the solution for these problems may seem to be obvious, people tend to give in to the holiday spirit and start early.

Start early

After Halloween, you are left with very little time to prepare for the holiday. And since you have so many things to do, prepare, and buy, you should not pack all your activities into a few days before Christmas.

Decorate your house in November, buy holiday foods in advance, buy gifts before the Christmas rush, etc.

Make a list and check it twice.

If you plan to give gifts like Santa, then adopt his system too. List down all the persons you need to buy gifts for.

Then on the same list, write down the gift items you plan on giving. Consider gifts you can buy for multiple people to make the task easier. Shop for gifts online if it is much cheaper and more convenient.

Set a budget and stick to it

Keeping up with the holiday spirit by making sure that everyone in your list receives a gift and is happy with it can increase stress especially if in doing so you are trying to make ends meet.

If you feel obliged to give gifts, do this without putting a lot of stress on your financial standing. Before buying gifts, set an amount that you have to spend on each person and stick to it.

It is fine to use your credit cards as long as you do not overspend. Also consider (if it is cheaper) making homemade gifts or setting up gift exchanges.

As with gifts, you should also have a budget for food and decorations for the holiday. If possible, organize a party where you invite friends or relatives over and ask them to bring food. This is much cheaper and less stressful than taking care of everything.

Be realistic and forget about perfection
When setting excessively high expectations, you naturally tend to overdo things. This will likely result to nothing as you find it hard to finish a task or if you do finish a task, you are not really satisfied with it because you expected something better.

So remember that your goals should be realistic without banking on perfection.