The holidays are an exciting time of year, but they can also create busy schedules.
You might dread the idea of wrangling family schedules to plan the perfect visit or battling shoppers for the ultimate gift. The good news is that you don’t have to feel stressed about the next few weeks. Try these fun ways to prepare for the holiday season and enjoy every moment before it’s over.
1. Host a Family Meeting
You might dive into holiday planning when the first red and orange leaves fall to the ground. Making every decision by yourself is challenging, so remove the anxiety by hosting a family meeting. Ask everyone what they want to do for the holidays.
They might name an event or an activity that you wouldn’t usually think about on your own. Use their suggestions as a planning guide so everyone gets to do something they love.
2. Request Wish Lists
Encourage everyone to dream a bit by requesting their wish lists. They can write down everything they want for whatever gift-giving holiday your family celebrates and compare notes before tacking them on the fridge. Little ones could write their list in a letter to Santa or older kids could make a digital copy.
They’ll enjoy looking up the things they love and the rising anticipation of possibly opening them before the new year begins.
3. Start Online Shopping
Put life on pause when it gets stressful and do a little online shopping. See what your favorite stores are offering during the holidays and check out the latest sales that will maximize your gift-giving budget. If you start early, you’ll have more time to find ideas that might be out of stock at the last minute.
Mindless browsing is an excellent way to relieve anxiety and remain productive.
4. Research Upcoming Light Shows
You don’t have to strap everyone into thick winter coats to have a great time together. Forget the wet socks and cold fingers that come with sledding and find a holiday light show in your city. You can relax in the comfort of your warm car and see the lights fade in time to tunes on the radio.
Want to keep the fun going? Add your personal touch to your neighbors’ homes after finding inspiration around your city.
Your house can join the visual festivities with ground and fiberglass displays, plus string lights. It’s impossible not to feel the holiday cheer when your home greets you with stunning light arrangements.
5. Find Ways to Give Back
The holidays are about more than giving your family presents. They’re also about giving back to those in need. Communities often post events on their town website or social media page to raise awareness about opportunities for people who can support their neighbors.
It’s an excellent opportunity for kids to learn about the many lived experiences different from their own and empower them to make a difference.
Look around online or through posters near local stores to discover upcoming donation drives, holiday gift drop-offs or soup kitchens that need volunteers. No matter how your family helps someone in need, the holidays will be a more fulfilling experience for everyone.
6. Try New Baking Recipes
Many people have holiday traditions they started with their kids or borrowed from family members before them. You can still decorate sugar cookies or make a gingerbread house this year, but try something new too.
Test your baking skills by making a bourbon pecan bundt cake or white cranberry and nutmeg fudge. You might start new traditions if everyone falls in love with your latest experimental recipes.
7. Schedule a Photo Shoot
Whether you plan to send holiday cards to loved ones every year or never thought to try them before, schedule a photo shoot.
You can pick your backdrop and color scheme so everything looks picture-perfect when your local photographer arrives. After they finish editing, you’ll get a gallery of timeless pictures to put on your upcoming holiday cards.
8. Plan a Party
Celebrate the season by throwing the party of the year. Invite your friends, family or coworkers to your home and decorate before everyone arrives.
They can enjoy holiday-themed finger foods and drinks before the main meal begins. Maybe after everyone eats, they can enjoy a white elephant gift exchange or play holiday trivia in the living room. Don’t forget to play festive background music to add to the evening’s ambiance.
9. Explore Self-Care Habits
Holiday stress is nearly unavoidable for people with large families and plenty on their plate. I
f you can’t find a way to minimize your anxiety, try self-care habits. Taking a hot bath, meditating or practicing breathing exercises will slow your heart rate and make any holiday challenge an easy problem to solve. Your mental health will also thrive if you continue your new healthy habits into the new year.
10. Watch Seasonal Movies
Need to get into the spirit? Turn on the latest holiday movie.
They celebrate every holiday by following characters down a storyline that focuses on what really matters — surrounding yourself with loved ones and being grateful for everything you have. It also doesn’t hurt to watch characters fall in love over mugs of hot chocolate.
Prepare for the Holiday Season
These are just a few fun ways to prepare for the holiday season.
Think about what your upcoming schedule looks like and how these ideas could fit into your plans. Hanging festive lights, making new recipes and exchanging gift lists are the perfect ways to kick off the next few weeks and help everyone have a blast.