Happy late Thanksgiving! I have been out this morning doing a little Black Friday shopping. Every gift except for three on my list was purchased, and I was back home by lunchtime. I thought I’d share some tips for a stress free holiday.
Stress Free Tip 1
I don’t know about you guys, but we have a large Mexican family! Gift giving is my favorite thing in the world to do, but it would be incredibly stressful trying to find the right gift. Not to mention, very expensive. What we do is a name draw. All of the adults enter the name draw (even my parents), and that way every couple only has two gifts to purchase. Everyone buys for the children of course. This not only saves your wallet, but allows for each gift that you buy to be super specific and meaningful. Sometimes when you are trying to buy too much, it can really lead to stress. We spend Christmas Eve together and we open our gifts one at a time and really relish in what each person received! It’s joy tenfold here!
Stress Free Tip 2
The cooking. As I mentioned earlier, we host Christmas Eve at my house. I know that everyone says this, but the focus really is family time. Last year was the first time that we tried a buffet style dinner instead of cooking a whole meal with sides. Everyone brings 1-2 dishes, of the finger food variety. It was super delicious and there was plenty to eat. We had everything from desserts, meat and cheese tray, wings, chicken fingers, dips- you name it. A lot of this stuff can also be store-bought. It doesn’t get more stress-free holiday, than that.
Stress Free Tip 3
The drinks! AAAAH, figuring out a festive punch to make, buying all of the ingredients, trying to keep it cold, making a new batch every time the punch bowl gets low. This is not a stress free holiday. This year I have decided to buy liquor bottles, tonic water, fruit juices, and soda and load up the bar cart! I will probably make out a little menu sign and people can just mix and match what they like, when they like. I can drink my drinks and enjoy quality time with everyone.
Stress Free Tip 4
Decorating. We have a small house, and I don’t have room to store multiple strands of garland or trees. Obviously, I have a few bins with our stockings and ornaments, but that’s it. I love the smell of fresh-cut trees and garland. Every year I stock up on Poinsettias, fresh garland, and a real tree. We enjoy it all month, and when it’s all over we can just get rid of it. Real trees are not as much work as most people think, plus there are no harsh chemicals used like when making fake trees (if that’s your thing). I absolutely love the look of the fresh red poinsettias inside and outside of my home. You can also find them at hardware stores on Black Friday for $0.99!!! SCORE! This is a look at how my home looked last year
Stress Free Tip 5
I have done this the last two years in a row, and it has really been one of my favorite things to do. I order my wrapping paper in September from the local elementary school. Everyone has a niece or nephew, or a neighborhood kid that sells this stuff. It is a bit more expensive than your local dollar store, but this stuff is of incredible quality. I order 3 rolls, they are reversible so now I have 6 coordinating prints. Everything gets hand delivered to your doorstep and you are ready to wrap before Thanksgiving if you choose. This also helps to fund your local elementary school, and we know they really do need that money. If you don’t know any children, just call your local school. They sell it online now too.
I hope that some of these tips will help you feel a little more relaxed about hosting this year. Christmas can really make people feel stressed and as a result a bit down. There is so much pressure to do things that are beyond our reach. If you are hosting, remember to make it a family affair. I open my home, buy a few dishes, buy the drinks, but we make it a family group effort. Keep it simple in the gift department, and remember, a gift from the heart is a gift indeed.