Christmas Calm: Ten Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season
This year, you're hoping to cut the crazy out of Christmas: to trim the celebration back to one that is sustainable and calm. Question is, just how do you do less--and enjoy it more--during the Christmas holiday season? Try these ten simple strategies to calm holiday chaos and rein in the seasonal overkill this year.
Prune the to-do list. Ask, "If I don't do this, what will happen?" Aim to knock down the list of chores to the rock-bottom necessity.
Cut the gift list. Rein in gift exchanges that have been outgrown or lost their meaning. Limit gifts to children only, draw names, or organize a gift exchange.
Wrap as you go. Who needs to spend Christmas Eve catching up on wrapping chores? Sticky notes will help you keep track of gift contents.
Buy, don't bake. Turn your back on the oven this year. Supermarkets, bakeries and the freezer department of the discount warehouse are a great source for delicious, pre-baked holiday treats.
Don't mail cards. Online greeting cards are easy, inexpensive and fun to send. No more lines at the post office!
Scale back décor. Focusing holiday decor on the Big Three--front door, tree and focal point--can bring a festive feel to the house without day-long decorating sessions.
Cut the clean-a-thon. Focus cleaning attention on kitchen and public rooms; private areas can slide til season's end. Better to schedule deep-cleaning chores like carpet cleaning until after the wear-and-tear of the holiday season.
Downsize dish washing. Hand-washing fine china is nobody's idea of a good time, so move to everyday stoneware. Simpler still: paper plates!
Finger food, not feast. A smorgasboard of tasty tidbits is easier on the cook and kinder to the waistline than a sit-down dinner. Share the work by hosting pot-luck events.
Stay home! A holiday "stay-cation" allows for evening drives to see the lights, family camp-outs in front of the Christmas tree, and evenings spent with carols and popcorn.