Stop the Holiday Season Meltdowns

No matter how hard I’ve tried, historically I have some level of “meltdown” at some point between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. These meltdowns came in all sorts of shapes and sizes and I never knew what would be my tipping point in any given year.

I just always knew it would happen. And knowing this, added to my holiday stress. So I have intentionally made some simple changes.

A few years back, I made a conscious decision to cut down on the number of holiday-related activities that I agree to attend. There are just so many days for the holiday traditions I love – socializing, shopping, decorating, and baking – so I manage my calendar very closely and prioritize.

Also, I ask myself a simple question – if I don’t socialize with certain people throughout the year, why would I socialize with them during one of the busiest times of year? This question alone is usually the only filter I need.

The same goes for the email and snail mail I receive. It seems like every day, multiple messages for not-to-be-missed holiday specials enter my inbox, and catalogues full of not-to-be-overlooked merchandise pour into our home courtesy of the US postal service.

I handle both of these in a similar fashion.

If an online retailer emails me more then once a week – I automatically mark them as junk. This way, future emails stay out of my inbox and if I choose to take a peek at my junk mail folder when I have a few available moments, I can.

As for the catalogues, I only keep the ones from which I am at least 90% sure that I will place an order. If not, I put them directly into the recycle bin without even flipping through them. I’ve become so good at this, I can sort and decide which catalogues to keep as I’m walking back to the house from the mailbox. The ones I don’t want, never even make it to my “to review later” pile.

When it comes to decorating – again, I prioritize. Over the years I’ve accumulated small collections of Nutcrackers, Santa figurines and Snowmen (although my family would not call my snowmen collection small!). Each year, I select one of these collections to highlight and I rotate every three years.

By rotating, I change things up, and don’t even unpack the other two collections. The last thing we all need during the busy holiday season is more clutter. When I finally realized I didn’t have to display EVERYTHING, every year, my holiday decorating routine was simplified.

When it’s time for my cookie baking day, I have it down to a science. In a spreadsheet I track family favorite holiday cookie recipes and list the ingredients needed to make them. So each year, I just pull out the shopping list when it’s time to bake. A few modifications may need to be made here and there, but it’s better then starting from scratch!

These are just a few examples of what I do to avoid my infamous holiday meltdowns. But they all illustrate the same principle: Keep it simple, especially during this very overcrowded time of year.

During the upcoming holiday season, start by deciding what this time of year means to you. Ask yourself what’s most important, and figure out ways you can simplify and streamline your family traditions to match.

How will you clear the way for joy to shine through this season?

I would love for you to share your ideas below.

TA DA Tip of the Month

It’s easy to get overwhelmed during the busy holiday season. There are so many fun activities to take advantage of, and so many traditions to uphold. The pressure can multiply very quickly. Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Create a quick list of all you would like to accomplish this season. Afterward, decide if the list is in alignment with what is most important to you and your family. If there is anything on the list that isn’t in alignment – cross it off.
  • Keep an updated calendar with you at all times. Share the calendar with family members so no one is caught unprepared. Planning ahead is the key to reducing stress.
  • Take out all of your decorations before buying anything new. From one year to the next, it’s hard to remember what you have. Reviewing what you already have before buying more reduces duplication. Once your decorations are up – take pictures so it’s easier to recreate again next year.
  • Keep track of your gift buying. Look at your gift list and make sure it’s within your budget before you start your shopping. If you can’t resist a sale months before the holidays, make sure you keep track of your purchases in a little notebook. Hold onto the notebook so you can refer to it in future years.
  • Ask for help. If you don’t like to wrap gifts, ask someone else who does to do the wrapping for or with you. Or if someone offers to make a pie for thanksgiving – say yes.
  • De-clutter before the holidays. Clearing some space before the holidays will make organizing afterward much easier.

The key to a joyful holiday season is to remember the true meaning of the season, and create memories with family and friends that’ll last well beyond the New Year. Ta Da!

What do you do to simplify during the holiday season? Share below.

1 comment to Stop the Holiday Season Meltdowns

  • Thanks for the great tips. We all have holiday melt-downs but with adult children spread all over the country the expectations have changed. I like to plan a special outing, not necessarily on the exact holiday but sometime during the season, when we can all be together. Letting go of how it “used to be” can help alleviate a lot of stress.

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