Holiday Stress, Part One

I know that for some, this is not the time of giving, but the time of being overly stressed out about all the thousands of things that need to be done.  As a mother of 3 young children, I am used to having a to-do list a mile long, so I don't find that my stress is anymore apparent than during the other months.  I have noticed though that I now have a lot more deadlines!  Packages to be mailed, cards to be ordered (DONE!), cards to be mailed (almost!), Christmas shopping to be completed, and presents to be wrapped. 

Some of the ways that I try to make this time of year less stressful (or perhaps that should say - ways that I try not to add to the stress already living inside me) are easy things to do, if you just commit.  And start planning a little early.

  • Create a budget.  By October, we had money set aside that we would use for Christmas shopping.  I also created an Excel spreadsheet that helps me keep track of the budget.  Working with cash is also useful because I can see what's left.  There were a couple of things that needed to be ordered on-line, but other than that, I used cash.  (And coupons!)
  • Make lists.  Early! I have to say that I start holiday planning in November. I have a list of what I am getting the children, where I can buy it, and how much it costs.  The toy catalogs come early these days, so I am able to do my pricing from home, which means I am not driving from store to store comparing prices.  One of the other lists I have in my planner is an idea list.  Anytime someone mentions something that they like, or things they want to do, I make a note and refer back to it at Christmas time. 
  • Plan ahead. A few days before Thanksgiving, I made a calendar of all the things I wanted to get done during Christmas.  This list included the gingerbread house Connor wants to make, when I'd make the cookies, Holiday Lights, Polar Express, etc.  This way, I know ahead of time what's going on and Keith can plan his schedule around me. *wink, wink*
  • Take a break. Things get hectic and busy.  Sometimes I forget about me.  I was looking for something new to read, and something Christmasy.  I found this:

A Christine Feehan Holiday Treasury

Now I should mention she is described as a romance-paranormal author.  No vampires though, so I was only a little disappointed. ;)  Actually I'm almost finished with the first of the three short stories and it was really hard to put it down after my lunch break was over.  After Christmas, I'm headed to the library to get started on her Dark Series (along with all the other books I'm itching to read)!
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