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jca's avatar

People who do the "holiday thing" (i.e. decorating, gift exchanges, parties, shopping, etc.), what are some tips you can offer for avoiding stress during this busy season?

Asked by jca (27898 points ) December 8th, 2012

Every holiday season I am busy with work and trying to shop, decorate, go to parties, visit, etc. Working full time makes it an extra busy season for me, as it does for many people.

People who do the holiday season thing: How do you handle the holiday season and what are some tips you can offer for surviving this busy, stressful time?

I specifically aimed this question at “people who do the holiday thing” because I am trying to avoid answers like “I don’t do it” as they would not be helpful.

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10 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Can you prioritize?

What matters most?

Gifts…coming in and going out?
Food…ditto?
Socializing…ditto?
Decorating…let’s keep this to your digs only?

jonsblond's avatar

Shopping can be stressful and hectic this time of year, especially in the parking lot of the stores you are visiting. I’ve found that I can get in and out of the parking lot quicker when I park far from the entrance. This way you aren’t waiting in your car for all the other people who are looking for that close spot near the entrance, and the people who are coming in and out of the store. The extra exercise you get from walking is also a good stress reliever. Who doesn’t need a little extra exercise this time of year?

YARNLADY's avatar

I shop all year long, or make my own gifts. This year I printed out pictures of the Mario characters from the computer, cut them out, and glued them to magnets.

Our garage entry door holds magnets, and they spend hours playing with various magnet toys. I bought them four sets of magnet alphabets and a magnetic drawing slate, so they have a lot of fun.

We made a Menorah yesterday, for the Chanukah candles, and the boys each wrapped a toy for each other. They give toys they find in their toy closet.

I don’t try to do everything on one day or weekend. I put up some door and wall decorations yesterday, and I will put up some indoor lights today. I might get the Christmas tree set up later on this week.

I’m going to do the shopping for the family meal next week. I tend to buy more ready to serve things for special meals, such as a fruit platter and canned or powdered gravy.

We

jca's avatar

I think what screwed me up this year was the hurricane and being out of the house for 8 days. Halloween was non-existent, and then all of a sudden Thanksgiving was upon us, and my head was still spinning and then now it’s going to be Christmas. My job sends me to a few parties, for which I get to stay overnight at the hotel where the events take place. That is a wonderful benefit, but it just compresses the rest of the weekend into Saturday morning and Sunday evening, since Saturday afternoon check-in to Sunday afternoon check-out is taken up by the hotel and parties. Add to that the packing for the overnight stay, and it just makes the weekend that much busier.

I have done very little shopping so far, because last year I just shopped and shopped without a clue, and had so much stuff left over. This year I decided not to do any shopping until I make a list and check it twice. I am taking of next Friday so I can decorate and shop or do whatever has to be done. I just lost something important, so now, before I pack and get down to the hotel for party #1, my hope for the day is that I find what I lost, so I can get that off of my mind.

Coloma's avatar

Shop online
Simple decorating ( I haven’t put up a tree in the last 10 years ) I “decorate” modestly and creatively with 15 minute put up, take down.
Don’t focus so much on quantity of gifts as quality.
Realize it is but ONE day out of the year and is it worth it loose your marbles over attempting to create the fictitious Norman Rockwel limage?

Brian1946's avatar

What I used to do, was take a week of vacation the week after Thanksfornothing, and the week before Xmas.

If that’s not an option, can you skip any of those parties?

jca's avatar

@Brian1946: Next year, I am definitely skipping the party I am attending today, so that’s a great idea and one I was thinking of earlier today when I thought about my holiday stress.

@Coloma: Before I had a kid, I would maybe put up a tree, maybe not, but now with a 5 year old, she would like a tree. I am going to let her decorate it, though, with the cheap ornaments. That way she will get the feeling of accomplishment and I’ll get to take a load off.

Luckily with my job I can do shopping online and do some stuff at work, like cards, so it’s a trade off – the parties that I try to attend to represent them, vs. the time I get to do some personal stuff at work.

Coloma's avatar

@jca Of course, Xmas really IS, mostly for little kids unless you are religiously inclined.
I have decorated a Palm tree in my house with metallic Duck ornaments and last year I strung lights on a carved Japanese screen in my living room, hang the adult kids stockings from that, put up a miniature 18 inch tall red glitter tree and put out some candles. Good enough!
Oh, and of course…..gotta dress up my goose for his annual holiday picture. haha

gailcalled's avatar

Here we often use a large freshly-pruned pine bough with lights and decorations for the indoor winter holiday greenery with glitter. The three little guys, aged 9,7 and 3 are fine with that. It doesn’t have to be a triangular shaped green thing that used to be alive.

geeky_mama's avatar

My tips for sanity sound a lot like Coloma’s -

- we have 4 kids who expect presents (plus nieces, nephews and a couple of friends’ kids we exchange with) and I do the vast majority of my shopping for these online. (Yay for Amazon Prime!) I also manage our kids’ Wishlists online (because our family is all over the country). Easy peasy – no fighting the crowds.

- I cut corners where it doesn’t matter as much to me. I decorate very simply and only in places where we can appreciate it..a few well-chosen pieces and we don’t do it all at once..
The nativity set may not make it out on display until next week, but who cares?

- I simplify things like our Christmas Cards – I print the labels to speed up addressing them, for example.

- Stuff that really ENJOY (like baking & decorating Christmas Cookies) we do as time permits and we do more than one time.. (like today, tomorrow and a few more times this week…)

FWIW.. we both work full-time and we travel for work, too. Until this past Friday night neither my husband or I were even home for more than 48 hours at any point from Thanksgiving until Dec. 7th at 10pm. (My sainted MIL watched the kids because we were BOTH gone all this past week)—and yet, my Christmas shopping is all done (much of it was done in a hotel room, on an airplane or at an airport—but it’s pretty much done!), and the baking has begun..the decorating is nearly done & we’re getting the tree this afternoon. Not feeling stressed out at all so far.

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