7 Ways to Have a Smooth Sailing Holiday This Year ...

If you’re looking to take some stress out of your holiday this year, I have some ways to have a smooth sailing holiday season I’d like to share with you. I understand how crazy the holidays can be. We’ve had a large family my entire life, and bouncing around from house to house all day can leave you exhausted, especially if you’re hosting a dinner. I also used to work at a huge office, and gifts for everyone was another big cause of stress, even though the season is supposed to be one of enjoyment and happiness. Don’t let the holiday steal your joy. Just follow some of these ways to have a smooth sailing holiday season, and start now. Christmas is just a few weeks away, you know!

1. Make Some Lists

One of the first ways to have a smooth sailing holiday is to make some lists starting now. Not only should you make a list of gifts to buy, but also the food you’re going to need, wrapping supplies, and any decorating items. Seeing everything all down on paper takes some of the stress away immediately and helps you start a budget. Also, if you’re going to be traveling, write down everything you’ll need for that, including expenses and even your packing list.

2. Make a Budget

RIght now, you should make a budget for everything you’ll need to buy. Prevent putting everything on credit cards. If you have to, cut expenses down and just explain to everyone your low budget situation. I”ve been there and done it, and guess what? People don’t mind. I doubt anyone you know that really cares about you would want you to go into credit card debt just so they can have a gift. Trust me, making a budget keeps you from making mistakes you’ll pay for the rest of the year, and helps see how much you have to spend. Then, when you go to the store, you know what you can buy, and what you can’t.

3. Check Now for Deals

Many stores already have Christmas deals in place, or have already advertised when certain things will go on sale. You can also go online to start hunting for deals right now, along with finding coupons for many things online. In fact, many items are cheaper now than they will be in December because the Christmas rush hasn’t hit yet. Start researching now, after you’ve made your list of what to buy.

4. Be Frugal

When you start buying your decorating, wrapping, or even cooking supplies, be frugal about where you shop. You don’t have to buy everything at the name brand stores or from name brands at all. In fact, some of the best wrapping supplies come from the dollar stores, not Hallmark or even Walmart and Target. You can find generic items of almost all baking supplies and cooking supplies,and find many cute inexpensive gifts at superstores like Walmart and Target. Remember, frugal is not cheap - it’s smart!

5. Ask for Help

If you’re planning a holiday dinner and hosting it yourself, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Family members and even friends are usually more than happy to help out. Even if it means asking people to bring a small dish or dessert, asking for help doesn’t mean you’re not capable of being a good host.

6. Forget about Cards

I know Christmas cards are a tradition for many people, but they can be expensive, time consuming, and most people just throw them away. If you have a lot on your plate, don’t worry about sending cards to everyone. I promise people will not think you’re a Scrooge, or the biggest Christmas failure ever.

7. Implement a Drawing

If you belong to a large office, group, church, etc. that usually exchanges gifts with everyone, then implement an idea that you’ll draw names this year. Propose the idea that it will save time, everyone will save money, and it can even make things fun if you make it a “Secret Santa” drawing, where you don’t reveal names until later. Most people will happily jump on board and wish someone had spoken up sooner. Many people even do this in adult families, so don’t be afraid to bring up the idea.

The holidays shouldn't be a time of stress, especially when they don’t have to be. If you’re finding yourself stressed more than ever over the holidays, I hope these tips might help a bit. What’s the one thing you’re stressing over about the holiday season?