12 Ways to Survive the Holidays

If getting ready for the holidays is beginning to feel like a job, start rethinking your holiday plans, and scale back your activities.  The following holiday survival tips might help you save time and money and preserve the joy in your heart.

  1. Start addressing your holiday cards as early as possible. Complete five cards a night, or, don't send cards in December this year. Instead, send New Year's cards. You can do them at a more leisurely pace after the holiday, and the recipients will get a post-holiday lift.

  2. Shop early in the month and early in the day. Take advantage of free gift boxes and free or low-cost wrapping services. Wrapping presents can take as much time as shopping for them.

  3. Shop by mail or online and have the mail-order, or online company, wrap and ship gifts directly to recipients.

  4. Simplify gift-giving by choosing a theme. For example, buy a book or sweater for everyone on your list.

  5. Call a family meeting or arrange a conference call to discuss gift-giving. You're probably not the only one who wants, or needs, to scale back on gifts. Strategies to discuss could include drawing names so each individual buys a gift for only one person, giving one gift for each household instead of gifts for each person, or giving gifts only to the children.

  6. Include quiet time for yourself on your "to-do" list.

  7. Establish a spending limit and stick to it. If you're strapped for cash, make gifts or think of creative ways to give of your time.

  8. Keep your priorities straight. Take time to think about what's really important to you. You may value the season's religious aspects, the time you spend with family or friends or the many parties. Setting priorities will help keep your schedule manageable.

  9. Scale back your entertaining. Plan potlucks instead of dinner parties for which you're responsible for preparing all the food.

  10. Simplify your plans. You don't need to decorate every room in the house.

  11. Be sure and do something for someone outside of your immediate family. Give gifts to a needy family, or prepare them a holiday dinner. Many churches, or the Salvation Army, can put you in contact with people in need.

  12. Don't stop taking care of yourself just because you're busy. Continue to exercise for 30 minutes three to four times a week, and eat and drink in moderation. Take time to see a movie or walk around your neighborhood to enjoy the holiday decorations.