Tips To Curb The Holiday Madness!!

November 7th, 2013

October was busy, busy, busy for me. Clients, a school fundraiser and of course Halloween had me spinning many plates in the air. I was absolutely psyched when November ushered in. Mmmmm…….now I can relax a bit or so I thought, but then I went into a store to buy paper towels and Christmas decorations were already up?!

Did elves sneak into the establishment on Halloween night? Were they so hopped up on sugar that they decided to spread tinsel everywhere? Did they completely forget about Thanksgiving?

Do we really need to hear Christmas music playing in every store we enter on November 1st? ARGHHHH!!!!!!!!!! The Holidays are here already!! Can’t a girl get a break? STOP.THE.MADNESS!!

Whew….glad I got that out of my system. Since the holidays come at us earlier every year, I thought now would be the perfect time to share my tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season.

Is it too soon? Maybe, but my next newsletter does not come out until the 1st week of December. By then some of you could be in full blown panic mode. I can’t have that. Plus, early is good. That means you’ll have more time to relax and drink eggnog.

Here are some Tips to Curb the Holiday Madness, but first say hello to the Artist Formally Known as Leo, The Kid, His Purple Majesty Himself – Prince.


He’s saying, “This is what it sounds like when doves cry.” or “This way to my candy stash.”


Tips To Stop The Holiday Madness

1. Create a Vision Statement for Holidays
What is the true meaning of the holidays for you and your family? What do you really want this holiday season to be about for you? Take some time to talk about this so everybody is on the same page.

Write down a detailed statement (just a few sentences) and post it where everyone can see it.


* It’s something that you can refer back to when the whirlwind begins to keep you on track/prevent you from over extending yourself.
* Make sure to work this out with your partner & kids. You may be longing for a quieter more intimate holiday and they may want to party like rock stars. Talk it out  and come up with something everyone can agree upon.


2.  Get a Holiday Calendar & Share With Family Members
* There’s so much going on in November & December so you’ll need a special calendar to keep track of it all. It can be a simple Google calendar or dry erase board.

* 1st thing to add is some time for yourself. Choose two days in December and pencil in a two hour blocks of time. Sit in a Starbucks & listen to music, go to lunch with friends, get your nails done. This is your time to recharge. We’re so crazed during the holidays that we completely forget about ourselves and wind up sick & tired by the new year. Adding just a couple of days on the calendar to take a break will prevent that.

* Next schedule family time to do fun holiday stuff. Can be an entire day on a weekend or maybe it’s 4 or 5 hours if that’s all you can spare. Do some fun traditions like get & decorate your tree. Watch holiday movies together or bake cookies. The goal is for you & your kids to really enjoy this time and not feel rushed. These special moments are the things your kids will really remember about holidays.

* Pencil in all parties, school functions (with all household members). Add in travel dates, etc. Take a step back. Feeling overwhelmed? Time to decline some of those invites.

* And schedule in this: My Big Fat Giant Prep Day


3. My Big Fat Giant Prep Day – It can be just a few hours depending on where you shop. One day where you gather everything you can possibly need as far as;
• Wrapping & tissue paper, tape, bows/ribbons, stamps, holiday cards (if you’re making them then this is the day for it), shipping boxes, etc.
• Do an inventory 1st of what I already have left over from the previous year.
• Everything goes together in one place – a box, bin, organizer or a gift wrap station.
*Why? Average person spend 4 hrs wrapping presents. Lots of that time is wasted looking for stuff you know you bought or running out in the middle of wrapping to buy more tape.


4. Gifts/shopping – Time savers
*Average person spends 10hrs shopping for gifts during the holidays.
Instant time shaver – Tuesdays & Wednesdays are quietest during holiday season. Shop during lunch or if must use personal day before end of year take one of those days off. Combine it with some personal pampering.
• Find your stashed gifts and take an inventory.
Make a list and check it twice – how you organize your shopping list is important.
– Start with general list (I do mine by families so I don’t forget anyone) List sizes, max budget and what they want
– Then I organize by store. My goal – shop at as few stores as possible.
– Have book with envelope attached & have store coupons in it or gift cards.
– Same goal even if shopping online – get all toys from same place to save on shipping. Online coupons codes listed.
– Try to do bulk of extended family in a couple of days- so you can spend a bit more time shopping for hubby/kids or other special people in your life.


5. Do Less – It’s OK to say no. This is key to help keep you from being frazzled.
Daily chores – How can you make some of these easier for yourself? Cooking -use your crockpot, cook on one day and freeze some meals. Simplify. Trader Joe’s & other stores sell marinated chicken tenders, buy things like frozen veggie burgers or salmon patties which you grab from freezer and can cook quickly on stovetop. Hire someone to clean your place before your big party.

Look at invites. Does this invitation fit within your vision statement if not decline.
Some holiday parties you have to attend for political reasons like you business/work function. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend numerous hours there. If it’s something you dread than put in an hour or so & make plans for after. Book a reservation for a restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Buy movie tickets in advance. Let the host know that you have a prior commitment – they don’t need to know that it’s watching George Clooney float in outer space.


6. Do Less– Buy less gifts.
Consider giving an experience instead of an actual thing. Take a niece or nephew out for pizza or to a museum. Buy a girlfriend a pedicure. Offer to babysit or dog walk a couple of times for a neighbor. If giving a physical gift is a must then consider the following:

• Large family – just purchase for kids, do a Secret Santa & choose one person or  buy one gift per family.
• Friends – rather than exchanging gifts put $$ towards a group dinner/night out.
• Go in on joint gifts with siblings for your parents. Do the same for your kid’s teachers.

Try to remember the true meaning the holidays. It’s about spending time with those you love. Creating new family traditions or keeping old ones alive. Giving to those less fortunate. The other stuff is simply not as important in the grand scheme of life.


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