By Patty Gardner
The holidays can be tricky for people who are already on a tight budget with their time, money and stress level. I know I already have more to do than I can possibly do during the rest of the year and the holidays just about push me over the edge.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things we can do to survive and even thrive during this holiday season. So without further ado, let’s get started:
1. There are SO many things you could do during the holidays, and most likely, your schedule won’t allow you to do all of them. So before you get started, CHOOSE what activities are most important to you and schedule them in. Decide which activities are the LEAST important and mark them off the list. You can’t do everything so decide ahead of time what you will do.
2. Skip what you can. Just because you’re invited to something doesn’t mean you have to go. Since there are more than enough activities to choose from, skip what you can so you can focus on the things you really want to do.
3. If you like shopping for Christmas presents at the stores, then schedule shopping time. If you don’t, do as much shopping as possible on-line. But do it soon so you’ll be sure to get your gifts on time.
4. If you’re attending or hosting parties, don’t be ashamed to buy food pre-made. Yes, homemade is usually better but you can only do what you can do. If you’re short on time and energy, buy it at the store! There’s no shame in that.
5. Do the minimum on the house. Yes, I actually said skip the housecleaning – but not all of it! Straighten, vacuum, keep the bathroom(s) clean and clean the kitchen as you go. If you spill something, clean it immediately. If you get something out, put it away. But if time is short, don’t worry about a lot of cleaning. Just do the minimum. You can catch up when the holidays are over.
6. Cook easy meals. Use your crock pot whenever you can. Here are some ideas:
- Spaghetti & meat sauce w/frozen garlic bread
- Deli sandwiches with chips
- Pancakes, Fried Eggs & Bacon
7. Don’t pack your activities in too tight. If you already have an event for one evening, don’t try to plan something else that day, too. It’s tempting to schedule events back to back, but don’t do it. That will definitely stress you out.
8. Allow down time. You want to get through the holidays with your sanity so schedule time just to relax. It might be hard to fit it in, but it’s important. It can be time for just you or time with the family. But don’t go, go, go – unless that’s what you like.
9. Don’t start something new! If you’re thinking about making big changes to one of your systems (planner, cleaning schedule, etc.), DON’T. Wait until January when things are slower. Even if your life is busy all the time, January will still be slower than December.
10. Don’t skip the things that are important in an effort to save time. I’m talking about basics like your spiritual life, your sleep, good food, time with family, exercise. You think you’ll save time by skipping these but in the end they cost you much more than you gained.
So which one of these do you need to put into practice in order to thrive this holiday season?