Holiday Survival Kit

Holidays are stressful. No matter which holiday you celebrate there is so much to think about, so much to plan, so much to do… can be overwhelming, especially when we want our holiday celebration to be perfect. In reality, as long as we are surrounded by the ones we love, our family and friends, our celebration is truly perfect. But for those of us who worry about finding the right gift or making the best pie, here are a few thoughts to help survive the holidays.

Time Management

Most of us think we have so much to do and so little time. We become stressed by the shopping, preparing, wrapping, decorating, baking, cooking etc. I get tired just thinking about it. The key to it all is time management. The earlier you start the better you will feel as the holidays approach. Anything that can be bought and prepared ahead of time will make life easier and less stressful. When you make a list of what you need to do to get ready, break the list down into manageable tasks…..2 or 3 things at a time. Do not overbook your time or your errands. You will be overwhelmed and not accomplish as much.

Keep it Simple

Gift giving is wonderful for the giver and the receiver and it can be a big stress producer. I have spent many holidays trying to think of the perfect gift for each person on my list and although I have always been happy with what I found, the stress that I created for myself was enormous. Now I buy gift cards and certificates to restaurants, favorite stores, spa treatments etc. My family is pleased with their gifts and I am much less stressed. Of course the little ones in the family still get presents to unwrap, and I can concentrate on getting each of them something that they really want when I don’t have to think about what to get the adults. Some families do a grab bag gift where each person picks a name from a hat and buys a gift for that person. Everyone gets a gift, and you only have to buy one. I have tried to get my family to do this, but not everyone likes this idea. You have to do what works for you.


I think one of the hardest things to do is to ask for help. I have learned over the years that people are more than willing to lend a hand at a holiday. Let your guests contribute to the meal with their favorite appetizer or dessert. It will make it easier on you and they will feel like they are contributing to the celebration. Have a “decorate the house” party and let the little ones put up the decorations. It may not be perfect but your kids or grandkids will love that they “decorated the house”. Utilize the talents of your family and guests and you might be pleasantly surprised how much more time and energy you have when the holiday arrives.


Enjoy means to put joy into. Most of all enjoy the process of coming together with family and friends to celebrate all of life’s blessings. The company, the food, the gifts, the laughter, the tears, the smiles on the children’s faces, makes it all worthwhile.


Linda West

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