Happy Halloween. Are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?
Say what? I know it sounds crazy. But wherever you go, the pressure is on to jump headfirst into the holiday season whether you're ready or not.
My advice? Don't do it!
In my book, there is no rational reason for the Christmas season to start before the end of October, or even before Thanksgiving. All that rushing just adds stress to our lives and if you're like me that's one thing you don't need more of.
So here are my top five tips to head off holiday stress so you can actually enjoy the holiday season.
Set your own priorities
Just because the fake family on TV can do it all doesn't mean you can or that you should try. So don't even think about stacking multiple parties on the same weekend as the pumpkin festival. You and your family will get more out of a few choice events than you will if you try to cram everything in. Plus you'll be relaxed enough to enjoy the special moments when they aren't all piled on top of each other.
Stick to your budget
Money is a huge source of stress at the best of times. And the mad holiday shopping rush only adds to the stress. So don't let the early mall decorations and super sales lure you into spending more than you can afford. Be honest. Set realistic expectations for yourself on what you are allowed to spend and for your family and friends on what you can afford this year. And don't think wrapped presents are the only gifts you can give. The gift of time is often more valuable than anything you can buy.
It's not a competition
So what if your home won't be in one of those amazing photo spreads in magazines? Real people don't live in perfectly decorated homes. And if we did, we'd still have to dust and vacuum to keep up the image. So pick your own special touches. And don't feel like you have to compete with the neighbors for the biggest electric bill when it comes to decorations. Give yourself a break from decorating madness!
Save some for you
No, I don't mean pumpkin pie. I mean time.