The holidays will forever be a stressful time of year, between gifting, dinner, and decorating. A pandemic is just the razzle-dazzle we need to make this holiday season complete *stale face*. 

Regardless of what the commercialized world says your holiday should look like, here’s a quick guide to remaining grounded during the holiday season so you can stay cool, calm, and collected into the new year.

Gifts are about the gesture, not the monetary value.

It’s Christmas time, you know what that means, time fight the masses for that last smart tv. Maybe you’ve been to 3 different stores shopping for the most fantastic toy. Or, you could be the person literally on the verge of breaking the bank to avoid being the “gift card lady.” Okay, so hear me out; it may sound corny, but gifts aren’t the reason for the season. No matter the present you give, once we all go back to work, it will be a memory of the season past. Once the tv is plugged in, the toys unwrapped, and the gift card spent, there is nothing left to remember the holiday season’s joys—this season, with so much going on, try and make memories and gift experiences. Check out 6 Gift Alternatives for the Not So Shopper for some ideas on making the season memorable.

Family comes first…if they follow the rules.

Family visits are the highlight of the holiday season; for many, it’s the one time of the year you get to see your extended family. Unfortunately, family visits aren’t always the easiest. In my case, my husband and I both have parents that live out of state, which comes with difficulties. Which family will visit during which holiday? Where will that stay? How long are they here? The list goes on and on. Being a newly married couple with a new baby we end up either entertaining or at the very least spending quite a bit of time running between functions. The key to keeping your sanity is setting clear boundaries, especially in a time with COVID. Letting our family know how late we’re willing to be out, especially if we have to work in the morning—asking guests to wear masks in our house if they want to be around the baby—requesting family to remove their shoes when they come in. Simple boundaries we set for our peace of mind during the holiday season as we learn to maneuver as a new family is a key to avoiding stress and family squabbles.

To decorate, or don’t, it’s up to you.

Decorating for the holidays is truly a SKILL! To those that change their home decor between seasons, I salute you. For some, it’s a relaxing holiday tradition or hobby. For others, your thinking, “put up a tree for what.” If you’re like me, you’re a happy medium; you enjoy home decor on a minimalistic level because it’s probably going to stay up longer than the holiday season…whoops. Some simple decorating hacks to try include: changing color elements in your house to reflect the season. For example, in my home this year, I picked up some holiday covers for my throw pillows (check them out here: Christmas Throw Pillow covers, Red Plaid Throw Pillow covers ), swapped my pumpkin spice candles for peppermint mocha, and put up a miniature pre-lit tree to add some holiday flair to our small space.  

Holiday brunch, anyone?

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to realize preparing a holiday dinner for a family gathering, large or small, is a chore. As you all know, I don’t pride myself on being an expert homemaker…yet…but what I’ve learned so far is that preparing breakfast and brunch will always be more comfortable than a full menu dinner. Whether you’re celebrating with your immediate or extended family; even just your friend group, everyone loves a good brunch! Preparing brunch is money and a time saver. It’s easier to grab a fruit tray than a Honey Baked Ham, and if you enjoy cooking, there are so many more recipes for fun brunch dishes rather than the typical green bean casserole and dressing. Want to give brunch a try? We linked some of our favorite brunch recipes here: Christmas with Love: Brunch Menu.

Relax!

I can’t reiterate this enough, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season can quickly become draining, but regardless of your livelihood, you’re bound to get one day to yourself during this time. Don’t make a “plan” or “to-do” list. Take a day or even just 30 minutes to do whatever you want to do. Take a walk, read a book, sleep, eat, drink and be merry…. IT’S YOUR TIME! That little bit of time you spend recharging your batteries will do wonders for your mental and physical health and make the holiday season that much more enjoyable. 

Merry Chrisma-Hanna-Kwanza!