Hey luvs! December is often a very crazy and sometimes stressful time for many – including myself! I know I tend to take on way too much in December, especially in mid-December. That’s usually the time where I’m trying to tie up loose ends with work projects and rush to get all of my holiday shopping done. Honestly, a couple years ago I had a little bit of a breakdown right before the Holidays because I left everything to the last minute. I remember breaking down in tears to Kevin because I felt so overwhelmed. He let me sob while wrapped up in his arms and after I had good cry, he looked me in the eyes and said “Babe, we love each other and get to be together on Christmas. None of that other stuff matters.” He was so right. I vowed right then and there that I would never let myself get to that point again during the Holidays. So I started doing a few easy things that made a world of difference for me and relieved so much of my stress around the holidays and in life in general. So here are my top tips for staying “cool” this Holiday season.
How many of you have had to rush to the store on Christmas Eve to buy last minute gifts? I hate admitting this, but I’ve totally been that person. Multiple times in the past actually. And every time I do it, I feel so stressed out and tell myself that I won’t let it happen next year. And then, inevitably it happens again the next year. However, I’m happy to say that I’m on track for that to not happen this year! Ha. And planning ahead doesn’t just mean getting all your gifts early. I also like to do things like bake cookies or wrap presents ahead of time so I’m not doing it right before a holiday party or on Christmas Eve. Which brings me to my next tip…
Use Your Smartphone
If you’re reading this blog then you obviously know that I do a lot of my shopping on the go from my smartphone! And there’s a reason for it! Honestly, I probably do 95% of my shopping online. However, I will say I do like to shop small for some things because I think that’s important. But for the most part, I do everything online. Luckily Kevin and I have a shared family plan with Total Wireless that’s only $25 a month per line (with no contracts and no hidden fees) so I’m easily able to do all my online shopping on my phone, wherever I am,and can use the extra money I saved on my phone bill on more gifts for the people I love! You guys know how much I love this because I am OBSESSED with a good deal! It’s no joke, the best deal in wireless. Plus, we can add data anytime (just $10 for 5GB of 4G LTE carryover data!), so I can use all the saved data from previous months to do even MORE of my online shopping in December;) Total Wireless and my smartphone make my life so much easier and really helps me tackle the chaos that comes with this time of year.
It’s easy to say you’re going to get everything done ahead of time, but it’s easier said than done. I find that if I don’t write things down and make checklists, then I don’t get things done. I’ll find myself having a panic moment last minute remembering something that I forgot to do. So my number one tip for staying organized is to create a checklist. And don’t do it with a pen and paper. It’s way too easy to lose that. My smartphone has become my best friend because I’m able to use it to create lists of the stuff I have to get done, and I have it on me all the time to check things off as I get them done. How satisfying is it to check things off the list? Sometimes I like to create lists just so I can check things off. Ha! I’ve also noticed that having a shared calendar with my husband is really helpful – enter Total Wireless’ shared family plan! This way when he gets the date for a holiday party for his company he can add it to his calendar and then I can see it and know that I shouldn’t schedule anything for our family on that day. Again, technology for the win!
Don’t Blow Your Budget
Money stresses are often the biggest source of stress in many people’s lives. We all stress about money don’t we? And that’s why I feel like it’s really important that you watch your budget during the holidays! Look, I get it, buying nice things for the people we love makes us feel good. One of my favorite feelings in the world is watching someone open up the gifts I bought them and seeing the smile on their face! It brings me so much joy giving great gifts to others! That said, that great feeling is quickly taken away by regret and worry when my credit card bill comes in at the end of the month. That is, if I blow my budget. That’s why I feel like it’s super important to set a budget every holiday season and actually stick to it. What I usually do is come up with a number I can afford and feel comfortable with, and then I divide that number by the number of people I need to buy gifts for. So let’s say I have $500 to spend on all my gifts. And I have 10 gifts to buy. That means I can spend $50 per person. Keep in mind there’s usually a few people that you forget. So I usually always add a little extra to my budget for things I forget.
Learn to Say “No”
I can’t stress how important this tip is. During the holidays, we’re often invited to a lot of things. Whether it’s a holiday party, a work event, or get-together’s with our family. People always want to celebrate during this wonderful time of year! However, too many commitments often result in unneeded stress for you! Honestly, this December I didn’t do very great with this. I need to take my own advice! I said “yes” to so many things, the things that were supposed to be fun started feeling like work because I was stretched so thin. And if someone was gracious enough to invite me to their holiday party, I felt obligated to say “yes” since I was so grateful for the invitation. However, I very quickly realized this season that I need to learn to say “no.” And I need to keep telling myself that it really is OK to say “no.”
Focus on What Really Matters
At the end of the day, what the holidays are really about is spending time with family and friends and anyone you love. So try to let go of all the expectations of the holidays and what you think you should be doing and instead focus on the people around you. It doesn’t matter if your Christmas ham is perfectly cooked or if your gifts look professionally wrapped. Take some time to slow down, breathe, look at the people around you and feel grateful for all the blessings in your life.
I hope you all have the most beautiful holiday season and get to spend it with those you love and don’t get too stressed! Heck, don’t get stressed at all! And I can’t go without telling you guys how much I appreciate and love all of you! It might sound cheesy, but you guys are such a huge part of my life and I’m eternally grateful for all the love and support you’ve shown me, not only over the last year, but for many years before that. This blog is my way of connecting with all of you and sharing experiences with each other. Know that I read every comment (really I tried to respond to most of them) and appreciate every person that takes the time to spend a small part of their day with me here on Ali Luvs. I love you all to pieces! Looking forward to another year of positivity and love with all of you
And please share any stress reducing tips you may have for this time of year in the comments below! I really want to learn from what has helped all of you! Because that’s what we do here on Ali Luvs – help each other! Luv you guys!