It’s holiday season! A time to reflect, recharge, and spend time with family. At least, that’s what we expect, but instead, we get overwhelming stress, crazy shopping, and lots of expectations!
A recent study found that 88% of respondents believe that the holidays are the most stressful time OF THE YEAR!
What are the specific stressors?
💸 56% say that the extra financial strain (of the holidays) is the top source of stress
🎁 48% say that finding gifts are a stressor
👨👩👦 35% say that family events are stressful
🎄 29% say that putting up decorations are stressful
The cool thing about the holiday season is that it’s the same time every year, so a little planning and preparation can do wonders for your stress levels!
Here are a few tips to help!
Create Your Perfect Holiday
The most important tips we have for your perfect holiday season are twofold:
- Set Realistic Expectations
Prioritize what is most important to you and your family. Maybe you prefer experiences over material items. That might mean you have no gifts under the tree but an amazing vacation planned. That’s great and perfect because that’s what is best for you and your family!
Set your expectations but still give yourself A LOT of grace. Maybe you like tons of decorations in your house but you have toddlers who like to destroy them. That might mean your tree is only decorated with ornaments that are out of reach of little hands.
Leave room for rest, quiet time, and your normal day to day life. Just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean you don’t have to do laundry or grocery shopping. Normal life continues on.
If you go into the holidays with your priorities set and clear expectations, you have an easier time saying no to things that don’t align with them.
Preventing Financial Stress During the Holidays
Between traveling, buying gifts, eating out, buying groceries, decorations, and holiday entertainment, you can plan on spending a lot more mula during the holidays.
One way to stay aware of your spending is to set budgets for different things. Something like $250 for each kid’s gifts, $500 for decorations, $300 for holiday activities, etc.
Another great idea is creating a sink fund. This is more relevant to prepare for next year, since it requires some time to build up. What is a sink fund? It’s a simple way to save up for upcoming expenses little by little.
For example: Since you’ve already set your budget for holiday spending, now you can start saving starting January 1st. If you want to spend $2000 during December, then you can put aside around $167 a month from January to December. Then you will have all the money you budgeted for to do everything you want to do!
No need to stress about the money when you have worked all year to prepare for it!
Enjoying the Gift of Giving
Remember how we mentioned setting expectations above? This relates here. When it comes to family gift exchanges, work gift exchanges, or friend gift exchanges, you can make things easier by setting clear guidelines.
- Should we set a budget?
- Should we simplify and pull names?
- No gifts, just time together?
Figure out what works best with your gift exchange crew. We’ve all heard this, but gift-giving is really about the thought, not the price tag!
Other ideas for gift giving: if you are great at woodworking, sewing, or baking, why not give a homemade gift? Or instead of an item, gift an experience.
In this day and age, most people buy what they need as soon as they need it, so simplifying gifts can help everyone spend less time shopping and more time together.
And P.S. here’s a friendly reminder to start your Christmas shopping now, so you don’t have the stress of waiting until the last minute!
Taking the Stress Out of Family Events
Ahhh, family time can bring so much joy, and so much stress. Do you know what is the biggest cause of family stress during the holidays? Expectations (again).
We expect dinner to go perfectly, and conversations to flow, and everyone to love everyone, but that’s not always reality.
A few ways to deal with family stress?
- Rotate where you go each year. Take turns between in-laws and your parents. Offer to host it at your house. Whether you switch year by year or spend November with one family to December with another, you can (fingers crossed) hopefully keep everyone happy by making an effort to take turns.
- Offer to help and/or ask for help. There will come a time when grandma can’t handle cooking the massive feast for the entire family (and why should she do it all?). Talk to the family and divvy up who brings what! Everyone has a job and everyone helps clean up!
- It’s okay to say no. There might be some years where it just doesn’t work. Traveling is too hard or too expensive, or you had an exhausting year, or a brand new baby. Just stay home and celebrate with your immediate family.
- Friendsgiving, anyone? Don’t have family nearby? Celebrate with your friends. Have a pie day or find out what restaurants are open on Thanksgiving!
Be ready for some conflict. Bringing together in-laws and siblings and kids will come with some drama but hopefully something that can be laughed about years down the road!
Making Decorations Fun Again
Remember when you were a child and everything was magical during the holidays? Christmas lights, presents, snowmen. Then you get older and it becomes a competition.
A recent survey found that decorating is more about competition among neighbors than holiday spirit.
This same survey also found that some spouses wanted to spend more on decorations than the other spouse, and that storing them was another source of stress.
Instead of keeping up with the neighbors, instead focus on what decorations are most important to you. Maybe you skip the tangled Christmas lights, and focus on creating a magical experience inside the house.
Or maybe you put up the lights but simplify decorating inside.
Want some holiday decoration storage hacks?
- Store Christmas ornaments in egg cartons
- Stack rolls of wrapping paper in garment bags, shoe racks, or a wastebasket
- Wrap lights around pieces of cardboard (to prevent tangling)
- Store wreaths on hangers in a closet
If you’re still stressed, consider cutting down on the decorations!
Finding a Little Extra Zen for the Holidays
Want to know what else makes the holidays stressful? The fact that we tend to eat, drink, and be way too merry (lack of sleep).
Stick to your normal self-care routines. Continue to exercise, get enough sleep, and drink water. Also, make time for yourself (or for your family to take time together). If you are crammed into grandpa’s house with the rest of your extended family, take some time to go on a drive or go for a family walk.
Even with all of these tips, you might find yourself looking for some Zen. And we’ve got the perfect gift for you.
It’s also made with natural chocolate flavor and is non-habit-forming. It’s safe for children and adults (starting from ages 3+) so the entire family can benefit from a little Zen Drop!
You can take it straight or drop it into your favorite drink of choice. Eggnog anyone?
Stock up on Zen for the holidays and slip a few into some stockings to spread the joy of zen! Tis the season!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.