Holiday Stress: Tips to ease the stress this holiday season

TimeWise is pleased to be an Affiliate Member of the Hampton Roads Realtor® Association.  This article can also be found in the HR Realtor® December Magazine. 

Well, it’s officially here.  Tis’ the season to be jolly.  It’s time to deck the halls, get to shopping, send some cards, and the list goes on.  For many, the joy of the holiday season is diminished due to the stress that can come along with it, and the pressure we put on ourselves to get it all done.

Here are a few ways you can ease a little of the stress:


No time to decorate?  Who says you have to?  The year I decided I was going to put some lights and ornaments on my Ficus tree in the corner was absolutely liberating.  My kids are grown and do not have children of their own yet, so they could really care less if I’ve pulled everything out of the attic to deck the halls.   

If decorating is a non-negotiable for you, maybe just scale it down a bit.  Instead of three trees, put up one.   Enlist the help of your children or a friend or neighbor.   Put up some of your favorite decorations and leave the rest.  Let this year be the year you give yourself permission to do less.

Holiday Gift Giving

It can be quite stressful trying to find the perfect gift.  This year, look at gift giving a little differently; it might just ease your stress, while also keeping your well-meaning gift from causing stress for the recipient.

I spend a lot of time with my clients going through their belongings whether we’re organizing, downsizing, or cleaning out a home after the loss of a spouse or parent, there is a common theme: “So-and-So gave me that for Christmas (Birthday, Mother’s Day, etc.), so I have to keep it.”  Never mind the fact we just discovered in the back of the closet, in the bottom of a plastic tub, that most likely hasn’t been opened in years. 

We are overwhelmed with stuff, which is known to cause stress.  Instead of buying one more candle, gadget, or tchotchke, I encourage you to consider giving the gift that everyone treasures: Time.

I once met a couple with their two grandchildren on a riverboat in Pennsylvania.  We started talking and they were telling me this was the “Experience of the Month” they had given their grandchildren for Christmas. Of course, I was intrigued and had to know more.  

Since their grandchildren were old enough, they’ve given them a calendar for Christmas, and each month has an experience they will do together.  Some months were more elaborate than others, but some of the ones they had planned were a baseball game, apple picking, museum, national park, a trip to Washington D.C., and a trip to NYC to see a show.  Don’t you love this idea?!

Take that idea and put it to work with your spouse, parent, children, or friends.  Your elderly parents would love to have something to look forward to each month.  Having a year’s worth of pre-planned time with your spouse or children is priceless.  You can tailor the experiences to meet any budget. 

Another stress-free gift giving idea is consumable gifts.  I always tell my family, I really don’t need anything, but I always LOVE to get massages, pedicures, or go out to dinner.  Those are all things ease my stress.


All The Rest

Bottom line is a lot of times the stress we bear is of our own doing because we feel we must do it all.  Do what you can, and if you have the resources, outsource what you can’t.   Hire a cleaning service before company arrives, or an organizer to declutter the guest bedroom.  Hire a teenage neighbor to help you decorate or wrap presents.  If your cards don’t get mailed, the world won’t come crashing down; I promise. Prioritize what must be done and leave the rest.  Be kind to yourself and enjoy this holiday season.

Of course, we’re here for you if you need some assistance checking some things off your holiday to-do list.

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