Simplify your holiday season

pumpkin pieWith Thanksgiving only one week away, I can’t deny it anymore: the holiday season is upon us. And like every other year, I’m feeling a little unprepared. I know the holidays are coming. They happen every year at the same time. And yet, the holiday season always manages to sneak up on me somehow.

To help maintain my sanity, I’m pledging to keep things as simple as possible. Here are a few of the ways I plan to make that happen:

Take shortcuts.

Next Thursday, Tony and I are hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. His parents and sister will be coming to stay with us for the long weekend, and we’re preparing the Thanksgiving meal.

At first, I was gearing up to go all out with homemade everything. Then I realized, we’re cooking and entertaining. I’m sure they’d rather we have time to visit than hide in the kitchen all day slaving over homemade pie crust. So we’re taking a few shortcuts here and there to make meal prep easier, and give us more time to visit.

Ship gifts directly.

We live 800 miles from family, and we won’t be making the trip home this year. To save time and money, we ordered most of our family’s gifts online. We’ll have them shipped directly to them with free shipping. My mom has agreed to wrap all the gifts for my nieces and nephews to save us money on gift wrapping (thanks Mom!). We may spring for the gift wrapping on my parents’ gifts, but either way, it’s much easier to shop online. Just click, ship, and you’re done. No long lines at the post office, expensive shipping, or packing up.

Plan ahead.

With so much going on, it’s tempting to procrastinate holiday shopping and preparation. But it’s so much easier to plan a little at a time to get things done. We made our Thanksgiving menu and shopping list last week and bought a few things at the grocery store last weekend. Now we’ve just got to get the rest of our ingredients, clean the house this weekend, and prepare for our guests.

I also split Christmas shopping over several months. I finished shopping for Tony’s family in October, this month I’ll buy gifts for my family, and in December Tony and I will shop for each other.

Slow down.

Instead of rushing around to get things done, remind yourself that things don’t have to be perfect. This Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m taking the time to enjoy our last winter in the South. I hope to be pregnant by this time next year (!!), which means this could also be our last holiday season as a family of two.

In 10 years, you’re unlikely to remember the little annoyances and mini catastrophes in your planning. What you’re remember is the time spent with family. So make sure you enjoy it.

How are you preparing for the holidays?

Photo by deiru

3 thoughts on “Simplify your holiday season

  1. This Thrifted Life

    Every year, I have the same experience as you–I *know* the holidays come around at the same time each year, yet I always find myself surprised and mentally unprepared. And since I’m hosting the holidays this year for the first time, that’s not a good way to be!

    This weekend I’m going to start preparing by deciding on and shopping for some low-cost, healthy dishes for Thanksgiving. I did go to a holiday open house for a local gift shop last week, so I have a couple of great gifts already.
    .-= This Thrifted Life´s last blog ..Reusing =-.

  2. The Non-Student

    I am really excited to be sharing both Thanksgiving and Christmas with my partner for the first time! Instead of flying home to my place in Georgia, we’re going to take a road trip, which will save us money (no flights, no shipping presents) and will give us the freedom of going where we want while we’re there.

    I’ve also been gathering up small present-y things along the way this year, which I hope will make shopping a little less stressful.
    .-= The Non-Student´s last blog ..The Game =-.

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