Three Steps to a Stress-free Holiday

My mother-in-law is amazing! Every Christmas for the last 30 years, she has prepared an assortment of holiday treats for her family. The family that once consisted of 5 children has grown to over 30 family members. And even after all these years, each family member still receives a box of holiday goodies. The key to her success is PLANNING. My mother-in-law’s preparation starts weeks, if not months, before the distribution of the delicious goodies. She gathers recipes, makes shopping lists, buys vast quantities of sugar and flour, sets aside time to chop, roll and bake, and delivers or mails goodie packages to her loved ones. And we are blessed with her holiday goodness!

The magic formula to a stress-free holiday is PLANNING. Here are three steps to help you execute your perfectly-planned, stress-free holiday:

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Step 1 – Make it a magical holiday

We get so caught up in the tinsel, lights and advertisements that we fail to plan for memorable family experiences. Take a few minutes to decide what special events you would like to include in your holiday schedule, then write them down. Here are some my holiday must-do’s:

  • Go to the Christmas Village at Bayou Bend

  • Host a gingerbread cookie decorating party

  • Play board games with my kids

  • Take my grandson to The Grinch movie

  • Eat apple pie

Step 2 – Make a list and check it twice

Are your hosting family or friends for holiday celebrations? If so, plan your meals in advance and make a list of the groceries you will need for each recipe. If your celebration includes gift-giving, make a list of the gifts you need to buy. Save time by shopping on Amazon, Etsy and other online sources. Getting Amazon Prime is worth the investment if you want to avoid long lines and cranky customers. These lists will help you to avoid impulse shopping, saving both on your budget and space in your home. Buy “experiences” rather than “stuff.” People love movie tickets, zoo and museum memberships, restaurant gift cards, trips to wonderful destinations and concert tix!

Step 3 – Your calendar is your best friend

Now that you have an experience list and a shopping list, schedule each of these activities on your calendar. Do not overload each day – one activity per day is just fine. For example…

  • Dec 13 – Grocery shop for cookie ingredients

  • Dec 14 – Church Christmas Party

  • Dec 15 – Carol of the Bells in Town Square

  • Dec 16 – Gingerbread Cookie Baking

  • Etc.

With planning, your holiday season can be stress-free and full of yummy treats and lasting memories.