It’s already November, can you believe that? The year is almost over and now everyone is gearing up for the most wonderful time of the year – the holiday season. In case you’re not already busy enough, life is about move even faster. From trying to finish projects at work before everyone takes vacation, dealing with relatives that may or may not be a little crazy, to finding just the right gifts for your family and friends.
The holiday season is a lot of fun, but it can also be very hectic. To help you navigate this busy season, we gathered a list of tips and asked our Junior League of Collin County (JLCC) members to share some tips to surviving the holidays.
Plan Ahead (At Least a Little)
A little planning goes a long way. If you’re not a planner don’t tune out this suggestion. Making a plan can be easily done and prevent a lot of stress in the future.
- Make a list of who you’re buying gifts for and what you’re considering buying
- Order early enough to get free shipping. Keep in mind though, online retailers are very busy during this time and a 2 day turnaround time might slip to a 3 or 4 day delivery time.
“Plan now!!!” – Ingrid B.
“Make your ‘buy for’ list now. Carry it with you and keep your mind open while shopping. I’ve already bought eight gifts.” – Cristie J.
Do Something Special for Yourself
You know that list of people you’re buying gifts for we mentioned earlier? Make sure YOU are on that list. We could all use a little down time and a chance to relax. Meet a friend for coffee. Go for a jog on your favorite trail. Sleep in. Buy those shoes you’ve been wanting. Do something for yourself to remind yourself that you’re special, you’re worthy and that it’s OK to not be perfect.
“Schedule now at least two outings/dinners with your closest circle friends. Make that commitment to stay connected with those that support you every day so you don’t fall silent for the next two months.” – Cristie J.
Manage the Tough Stuff
The holidays are also a time when many people experience sadness and depression. For some it’s missing a loved one during this special season. Others might be anxious over paying bills or it could also be the pressure to be perfect and get everything done flawlessly. Know that you’re not the only who feels this way. Remember that very few people have the picture perfect lives that are shown on holiday TV shows. If you’re feeling down, call a trusted friend for a chat or seek help from a professional counselor.
“Don’t forget to check on your friends, even the ones who seem to have everything together. All of us can use a kind word or a simple thinking-of-you.” – Tammy L.
Cooking and Hosting
Whether you’re a master chef or someone who rarely cooks, there are many recipes for any skill level online. Pinterest or a simple google search are great resources.
- Leverage online grocery shopping to avoid long lines in the grocery store. Many grocery stores offer the option to order your groceries online and pick them up at the store. In most circumstances you’re in and out in less than 10 minutes. Checkout Kroger, Walmart, Target for their various services.
- Cater from your favorite restaurant. More and more restaurants offer holiday meals that can be ordered ahead of time. There’s no shame in that game. Plus you can order a whole meal or just a few sides.
“Keep extra candy, chocolate and wine around for unexpected company…Oh, and stick to the budget!” – Kitty J.
Give Back to Your Community
Here at JLCC we’re all about serving our community and chances are you feel strongly about this too. Consider volunteering with a local charity as a fun activity for your family, friends or coworkers. The good thing is that you don’t have to commit to a long period of time. Many charities have volunteer shifts that last 1-2 hours.
- Trinkets to Treasures Drop Off: Donate gently used clothes and house goods on December 1st from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information can be found on our website or by emailing email@example.com.
- Women’s shelters can use gently used clothes and shoes, as well as gifts for kids in the shelter.
- Get creative: You could donate to your alumni association, religious organization, or buy lunch for the person behind you in line.
“While you’re shopping for everyone else, don’t forget to give back! Grab a child to sponsor from an Angel Tree, grab a toy or two for Toys for Tots, grab extra canned food for the food pantry. Look for ways to help those who are not as fortunate as you so they can have an enjoyable holiday season too!” – Amy J.
“What’s worked for us is buying on CyberMonday, and giving on Giving Tuesday to local nonprofits. Supporting small businesses, and emptying closets and pantry for donation drop-offs all during the first week of December.” – Kitty J.
Prioritize and Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
You might feel like you’re being pulled in multiple directions during the holiday season. If you’re asked to do something and your first thought is, “How on Earth will I get all this done?” That might be a sign that the best answer is “no”. Pause and revisit your priorities; that can help guide you when life gets overwhelming.
“When you get busy, make a list and prioritize. I often say that if something is number 5 or further down the list, it can wait or not get done at all”. – Donna I.
Get Creative and Non-Traditional
Looking for something unique to do this year? Checkout this list for taking a different approach to the holiday season
- Go to a cultural event you wouldn’t normally go to. Perhaps you could attend a Kwanzaa celebration, a Chanukah service, or a band you wouldn’t normally see. There are a lot of events going on this time of year and many of them are free or low cost. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
- Serve non-traditional food for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. You want to know what my family had for Christmas dinner last year? Mexican food. Yup, that’s right. We skipped the traditional fixings and enjoyed our favorite Tex Mex/Mexican food. It was different, delicious and a nice way to mix things up.
- Show gratitude to your partner or a good friend in a way that would make them laugh. That could be putting Post It notes on a mirror that spell out “I love you”, or making a gift basket out of their favorite candy and snacks. Do a chore that they normally do, or simply tell the how amazing you think they are.
“I’m more of a homemade gift giver so I do things throughout the year. My fave go-to holiday gifts are homemade treat baskets which often surprise people.” – Emily M.
The holiday season can be fun, stressful and hectic all at the same time. Use these tips to manage your stress, try something new and enjoy the holiday season. Happy Holidays!
Written by Athena Thomas, First Year Active, with input from current JLCC members.