This is the time of year when we most need to take a step back, reevaluate what we’ve always done, and get back some sanity. Here are 7 secrets to lighten your emotional and financial load this holiday season.
1. Shop online, only.
Why waste gas and valuable time? Buy online. It’s quick, easy plus some sites offer free shipping. No crowds, no fuss.
2. Reconsider your decorations.
You don’t need to buy anything. Your child’s outgrown ice skates tied with a red ribbon on the front door or placed on a mirror on the dining table is original and charming. Same with small mittens. Teddy bears with red ribbons around their necks on the stairs or doorstep are adorable. Heck, just a big fat ribbon on anything is festive and fancy.
3. Use reusable decorations.
Fresh greens are a waste of money and a sticky hassle. Buy good-looking fakes and slap that wreath on the door every year. Same with the fireplace mantle. Change the ribbon for pennies each year. Done.
4. Buy no gifts for adults.
This seems radical but think about it: we all have waaaay too much stuff. Buy for your sibling’s children and other little cousins but not the adults. It’s a win-win—you both save money and hassles. Plus, kids toys are cheaper than adult toys. Of course, your parents or grandma can be excluded from this. But, don’t they have enough too? Our family has done this for the last few years and we’re all a little saner and happier.
5. Schedule at-home events.
You don’t need to say yes to every invitation. A simple, “we have plans that night” will suffice. Even if your plans are to stay home and watch a movie, that’s an important, sanity-saving event!
6. Entertain kids for free.
Drive into neighborhoods known for their light displays. Download free crafts to make.* Have them create new Christmas songs and film each other.
7. Christmas cookies made easy.
You can cheat. Buy pre-made dough, thaw it out and roll it out at home. Cut into shapes. (Don’t use every cookie cutter you own! Only select three). Or, just slice the frozen dough, sprinkle with red and green decorations. It’s still homemade! Even quicker, is make a pan of bars, not cookies. It’s a one-shot trip in the oven, not several.
8. Simplify your outfit.
Okay, this is eight, not seven. But I love this idea and use it every year. You don’t need a goofy reindeer sweater or a new expensive, sparkly outfit that you’ll wear once a year. Pick a simple grey or black sweater. Thread your favorite ornament on a ribbon or string as a necklace. Voila. You are now officially festive, and best of all, sane.
What are your sanity savers? Write and share!
* Here are two sites that lets you download a nativity set. Color in and cut out.