The holiday season is once again upon us, and that means all sorts of festivities, fun and family time. After all, they don’t say “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” for nothing.
The only thing that could make this season better is if everything just simply fell into place seamlessly all by itself.
But c’mon. We live in the real world. And, unfortunately, crushing the holidays like a boss requires some level of effort, planning and, most of all, good timing.
This doesn’t require you to start moving mountains, though. You just need to think a little bit about when to set out to accomplish certain tasks and get some of the big-ticket items out of the way early. Honestly, if you just get these three things right, you will be well ahead of the game.
1. Travel Planning
Some (lucky) people may be able to skip this step. If that’s you, congratulations. But many of us will be on the move at some point this holiday season. Whether visiting relatives who live across the country, going on a well-deserved vacation or just driving a few hours round trip for a dinner, the actual travel element of it all is never fun. But it will definitely become easier if you plan ahead. Lock in your travel dates and times as early as possible to make sure everyone in the family — and especially those you’re visiting — know what to expect.
2. Gift Shopping
The same advice for travel largely applies to gift shopping: start early. Even if you’ve only crossed one item off your holiday gift list, you’re doing absolutely great. And, if not, get out there! Go knock a few items off your list early just, if for nothing else, to say you did. This is obviously difficult for anyone living under a tight budget (and who isn’t these days?).
Just getting a few small things — like some chocolate candies, stocking stuffers or even wrapping paper — will start the process of lowering your stress level. At the end, who are we kidding, you’ll probably still be rushing around a little bit. However, getting as much done as possible now will make a big difference on your stress levels when it’s really time to relax.
3. Holiday Cards
Next on the to-do list is your holiday cards. These are one of the best parts of the holiday season, as they don’t come with the same pressure-to-splurge factor as gifts. Anyone who receives your holiday card simply gets a symbol that you care enough to think about them, along with some sort of update about your year.
To make it even better, give them something to see with holiday photo cards. Let’s be honest: A nice image is worth at least a thousand words. The key is to get the photo taken and order the cards in time. Fortunately, modern companies have digitized the process, so it can all be done online rather quickly.
Just put it on the schedule now so you have the lead time to get it printed and mailed before the holidays hit.
Getting Ahead of the Game
The best advice for the holiday season is to stay as stress-free as possible. You may have had a difficult year and it’s now time to relax and reflect on everything. But rather than simply putting your feet up, getting to this point will actually be easier if you’re proactive.
You don’t even have to do that much. Just by planning your travel early, getting a jump on shopping and kickstarting the holiday card process, you will be able to breathe a lot easier once the celebration days arrive.