It’s the middle of November and lots of people I know are already worried out about creating the perfect holiday. I’m not particularly concerned because I am relying on my top 25 secrets for a “Stress-Less” holiday to make this festive season a breeze. In part two of this series, I share another five secrets to help you reduce holiday stress.
- Buy Early: People often tell me that shopping for presents is their most stressful holiday activity. To make life easier on yourself and on your pocket, buy gifts early. I buy gifts all through the year. To make this secret work, keep a list of all the things you’ve purchased in a handy place. Better yet create a list of all the people you need to buy for and fill it in as you make a purchase! The other essential in buying early is having a single place to store all the early purchases. Find a drawer or a storage box and be rigorous about placing all your gift items in this one spot.
- Buy Late: You can nab great bargains for next year’s holiday immediately following this one. Provided that you have a place to store extra wrapping paper, tags and cards, you can get great bargains just after Christmas. However, if all these great buys are going to cause clutter and mess, skip the bargain shopping!
- Learn something new: To keep the family entertained, why not challenge everyone to learn and share a new skill? Card tricks, balloon animals and origami are fun for all ages. Have all the raw materials and how-to-books on hand and give everyone several days to learn their stuff. Not only does this keep people occupied, but it makes for a great show at the end of the learning period! You can add to the fun by creating silly awards.
- Use your Reward Points or Air Miles: Are you a stickler for collecting rewards points/air miles/loyalty bonuses? Why not put these points to good use. I save up my grocery points during the year to pay for all the special holiday goodies. Check your air miles, you might find that you can use these for fabulous gifts as well as flights.
- Set a budget and stick to it: Surveys show that over half of us spend more than we expect to on holiday gift giving. Setting a budget for the entire holiday season can help you conquer overspend. This should include gifts, food, clothes and travel. Keep the budget with you as shop and record the amount of your purchases so that you know when and where to make adjustments.