The holiday season is upon us, and during this festive time come assorted tasks we set out to accomplish. Because some of these expectations can occasionally lead to a measure of stress, the following tips might be helpful in keeping the joy in this joyous time.
- Make Lists. Lists bring structure to otherwise fragmented thoughts and help us to remember what we want to do. For example, if you have multiple presents to buy, put the recipients’ names on a list. As you purchase the gifts, check the names off. A second “list” must? Holiday cards. Write down everyone you wish to include and check the person off as you go along (you will never have to wonder if you remembered to include Aunt Janie). The same holds true for grocery lists. Jot down the food, beverage, and paper items you need. As you buy them, check them off. If you can’t find everything you are looking for, fold the paper and place it neatly in your coat or purse (you can easily pull it out at a future date and know exactly what you are looking for). NOTE: You can always add to the list, or even change the list. The important thing is you will have a point of reference.
- Decorate in Stages. Some people put out a few decorations to celebrate the holidays, while others have a storage room full of items. For those in the latter category, it might be wise to take the decorations out in stages (so you don’t overload). Another thought? If you ornament different rooms, do one at a time. If the items are not segregated to accomplish this task, then retrieve only manageable amounts. If it works out that certain decorations remain stored for the season, so be it. The main thing is, you take pleasure in doing what you are doing (and feel cheerful about why you are doing it).
- Plan Holiday Meals in Advance. Most people have a general idea as to what they will be serving on special occasions, but some individuals wait until the last minute to purchase the ingredients. To avoid deadline pressure, buy ahead. A number of items can be kept fresh in the refrigerator or cupboard (be sure to check for expiration dates). Other groceries can be easily frozen (like ravioli). Buy only the food with a short shelf life “last minute.” NOTE: You can also cook certain dishes ahead of time. A pot of sauce, baked ziti, some desserts, etc., can be made a day (perhaps two) before without compromising freshness or taste.
Other ideas? Wash your hands frequently (and carry hand sanitizer), wear weather-appropriate clothing in the cold, and enlist family members to help out with chores. Staying organized this season could help make the holidays both merry and bright!