5 Tips to a Stress-Free Holiday Season in 2021

As the past two years presented a lot of challenges for families, especially in their finance, many people are facing the aftermath as the holiday season nears. Did you try to make any big purchases 2021? If so, it may be no surprise to hear about the impact on the recent changes in the global supply chain. With many categories facing a lead time of over 12 weeks, its’ undoubtedly a concern for those who want to exchange gifts during the holidays. With Christmas less than 50 days away and employee shortages hitting record highs, many shoppers are preparing for the road blocks ahead in an attempt to get their gift list going. While the season is known for its stressful loom, from family drama, to hitting end of year goals, you can decide to take control and have a stress-free holiday. It may sound impossible, but with these tips, you’ll be surprised to the impact they can have on your mental health. 

Decide Your Values 

When you begin to hit that chapter of independence and realize who you are and what’s important to you, you start to develop your own desires around the holiday. This discovery can be tricky, especially when it comes to merging your old life with your new one. While it may have always been the tradition, culture, and dare I say, family pressure that has us begrudgingly buying certain gifts. We are often left complaining about the budget, the number of people on our list, who is coming or not coming and don’t forget the skyrocketing prices we’ve all had to deal with the last couple of years. The reality is, at the end of the day, it is our choice how we move forward. The answer to the question, what do you value, will dictate how you proceed this year with the holidays. This is a good year to really ask yourself why you exchange gifts. Is your or your family member’s love langue Gifts? If not, what are some alternatives to exchanging gifts with them? You may want to think about spending time together, taking them to lunch or dinner. Shared experiences can be meaningful to those whose love language is quality time.

Plan Early 

The saying the early bird gets the worm is almost always accurate but most certainly true in this case. Waiting for Black Friday sales is not an option this year if your recipient has a hard-to-find gift on your list. If exchanging gifts is something that you value, this is not the year to wait until the last minute to decide who you are shopping for and what goodies you will get. Make your list and check them twice. Start ordering now, create a plan on how you will package the gifts. Will you be wrapping them or using gift bags? Do you need personalization, because even they have a backlog? How? Think about this: they have machinery issues that need repair – quality worker shortage means backlog on finding a good repair shop. What if the machine needs replacement? Again, a low-quality worker rate means a delay on the machine. Even outside of that, if the shop has to shut down due to Covid exposure, you are left stranded. 

Prioritize Self-Care 

While this concept is extremely popular, not enough people aren’t taking part in the overall benefits it can have on your body and mental health. Many families may experience a year of unwelcome guests, overwhelming stress, and disassociation. This time of the year also presents a dizzying array of demands — cooking meals, shopping, baking, cleaning, and entertaining, to name just a few. In an effort to combat these symptoms or even avoid them entirely, it’s imperative to take of yourself, whatever that means for you. Take your calendar out and pick a couple of days in November and December to practice self-care. Is it saying no to a party you don’t really want to attend? Is it ordering take-out instead of cooking dinner? It might mean taking your kids to daycare/school on your day off. You are the only person who can answer the question: what is self-care? Whatever it is, do it and feel absolutely no guilt.

Use Resources  

Thankfully, technology has allowed us to be able to indulge in the beauty of outsourcing. We take advantage of it wherever we can, from Ubers, to maids, tutors and much more. The same can be applied for buying gifts. Some options include buying boxes from the many gift box companies available. Another option, if you want more personal options, is to hire a gift expert to assist you. A gift concierge can assist you with all or some of your gifting needs. The best ones will ask some questions to help understand the receiver and your relationship with them. You give them the budget, and voila! Your perfect gift is wrapped and delivered to the location of your choice. If you decide to do your own shopping, you can outsource the wrapping. Anything to help make the process stress-free.

Enjoy the Season 

It truly only comes around once a year and while we may find ourselves pulling out our hair or wishing for it to be over, it’s important to remember to have fun. Similar to the act of self-care, schedule some fun time with the people you love and enjoy spending time with. The holidays are a time for family and friends. They are supposed to bring joy and peace, but many of us have dropped both joy and peace. We swapped them for stress, gifts, and unhealthy choices. This year, give yourself and your family the gift of fun. When you are happy, it affects others around you. Maybe this means watching Hallmark movies with your best friend with your favorite beverage and snacks. Maybe it means going to a ball game with some friends. Do not let this holiday drag you to the new year. Grab it by the horn and have a great time. 

Like many years before and probably several years in the future, the holidays are sure to present many of us with challenges beyond our control. Why not be proactive and take control over the things that you can feel confident in without hesitation or stress. You can decide what you value this holiday. You can make plans to help you succeed. You can outsource, practice self-care. Last but certainly not least, you can and should enjoy yourself this holiday season.

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