Here they are:
1. Do plan, and do make up a budget. When you've reached the budget: STOP. I know, I know, this is especially hard with the little ones. If you have to, save some of what you've purchased for his/her upcoming birthday. (That's what I did for one of my granddaughters this year). I use a small notebook to organize names, gift ideas, budget, and the actual amount spent and carry the notebook in my purse during the holidays. Who knows when an idea will come to me.
Spending more than your budget may not mean much to you in December, but come January, you're going to wish you'd stuck to your budget.
2. Take some time to watch an old Christmas favorite. Mine? It's a Wonderful Life.
3. Read a good book or listen to a good book on audio. Something positive and uplifting and preferably short. There will probably not be a lot of time to read, but you want to make sure that the read keeps you reading or listening through the season.
4. Don't over-schedule. Hard not to do I know, but get in the practice of saying no when you need to. You'll never be sorry. Make some time just for you as well as for your immediate family; extended family gets the next shift, followed by church and friends. (At least that is how I work it). I try to eliminate those things that really don't make my heart sing, and that may include the work party.
5. Wrap gifts as you purchase them. Waiting until Christmas Eve to wrap everything is perhaps the biggest stress-er I know; only second to shopping at the last minute. So try not to do either.
6. Give gifts of the heart. Notice I didn't say hand-made, although you can do that if it's not a stress-er. Gifts from the heart have little to do with your head (how you will look to the other person if you give them this gift) and more to do with the heart (expect tears, hugs, and a thoughtful smile instead).
Heartfelt gifts may also mean that you simplify your list. You may not give a gift to every Tom, Dick, and Harry on your street, but you can make sure that you share your heart through service such as Christmas caroling or shoveling a snowy driveway.
7. Take time to think of Christ, the reason for the season. Play Christmas music like it's going out of style; it will calm your nerves and help you to re-focus your Christmas resolve. Attend church. Be open to various charities gathering help for the holidays.
What do you do through the holidays to remain stress free?