It’s the most wonderful time of the year—but also one of the most stressful, especially for those of us who somehow wind up with the job of shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, mailing cards and putting up the decorations. If the approaching holidays are giving you a feeling of dread, here are some ways to calm down, de-stress, and truly enjoy the season.
You probably already do this subconsciously, when you are out shopping and see something which you think someone would appreciate. Going forward, you can take it to the next level by formally assigning a month to every person on your Christmas list. Instead of shopping in cramped, crowded stores in December, you can have an easy, breezy browsing experience all year round—and distribute your budget more easily, too.
For decades, advertisers and marketers have been slowly-but-surely ramping up the image we have of the gift pile under the tree. It’s become customary to buy friends and family dozens of presents, instead of a just few. If your children are teenagers or young adults, they will probably appreciate a couple very expensive gifts, ones they can’t afford on their own, over multiple small gifts which they have to store, pack, and move from apartment to apartment. If everyone on your shopping list is over the age of 16, you can probably keep things simple and quick by prioritizing quality over quantity.
In the introduction we described an all-too-common situation wherein one family member winds up with the majority of the holiday chores. If you live with a partner, have older children, and will have visiting relatives, all of those people can and should help out with the festivities—and are likely more than willing to do so, as long as they know where that help is needed. Take some time to write down everything you do for the holidays, and see which responsibilities you can assign to someone else. Most of your loved ones should be happy to help take a load off your shoulders.
Chances are you’ll need some last-minute gifts, either for an unexpected guest or an acquaintance who slipped your mind (like the mailman or babysitter.) Stock up on a few items that would appeal to almost everyone (including you, should they still be in your care come January). Jars of locally-made preserves, gift cards to local coffee shops, and (non-girly) journals are almost always appreciated.
If Christmas stress is ruining the entire season for you, it’s time to take stock of outside resources that can help. Catering companies can make some or all of your holiday meal. A local bakery can make your Christmas pies, cakes and cookies—and even customize treats with your family members’ names. Nonprofit organizations often set up wrapping booths at malls and will wrap presents for a small fee. Take advantage of the services being offered around you, and consider the money well-spent, as it’s bought you something that can’t be found in a store: more time with those you love.
Sweet Cherry Bakery is a Raleigh bakery specializing in customized cookies, wedding cakes, party cakes, cupcakes and more. To request an order from us, click here.