Are you wondering how to prepare for the holidays?
Better yet…are you looking forward to this year’s holidays?
If not, consider some of the reasons why.
Is it the stress from having to host the holidays or open up your home to friends and family?
Could it be the financial obligation of having to buy gifts for everyone?
Is it trying to compete with others in your family over who has the nicer home, the better gifts or the more expensive attire?
All of these issues are common, and the fact that you may be seeing friends and family that you haven’t seen all year can be just as stressful as it is exciting.
How to Prepare For The Holidays? Don’t Let Unrealistic Expectations Build Up
The problem with the holidays is that we start to build unrealistic expectations around them.
As November creeps up, we start envisioning the way we want the holidays to be.
Maybe you start to plan out an ideal holiday dinner where you’ll make each meal from scratch, serve everything on fine China and maintain a calm and happy demeanor the entire day.
Or perhaps you’ve dreamed about having your family walk into a holiday event, each person dressed immaculate from head to toe, with smiles and a great disposition intact.
These are the types of visions we cook up, and then we want to live up to them, impress others and fulfill our own expectations.
The problem with having unrealistic expectations is that we set ourselves up to fail and experience a lot of stress along the way.
If you tend to have idealistic expectations over work, your family and your home, then you’ll be more likely to have them over the holidays.
But it’s not just perfectionist women who tend to have high expectations for the winter season but women in general.
We want our families to be presentable and show others that we have things under control. We want approval from others and to feel confident about our family’s presence.
But the truth is that there is little we can control, and the sooner you realize this, the happier the outcome will be.
How to Prepare For The Holidays? Change Your Expectations to Lower Stress
What you must remember as we head into the short and hectic days of the holidays is that you want to set yourself up for success.
Start from the bottom and work your way up, keeping realistic about your goals.
For example, begin with the things you want to get out of your holiday and then decide how you will accomplish them, realistically.
If having a home-cooked meal is important to you, then decide how you will fulfill this vision.
Could everyone bring a dish to the meal?
Simply gift these perfect potluck containers to your guests. They are perfect for taking a hot casserole to any dinner!
If they need to travel as far as 25 miles to your home this year they can transport a delicious meal in it.
Perhaps you could prepare foods ahead of time?
Could your spouse take over the main dish while you handle the sides?
Next, think about ways you can decrease stress over the holidays.
You can’t possibly do it all, no one can. So you must cut from somewhere.
If you need time to cook for your holiday meal, put $10 away each week so you can order out during the holiday week.
Or, cook meals in the crock and freeze them to have on hand.
Keep your gift list organized, adhere to a strict budget and take advantage of online shopping.
Don’t overdo yourself, and certainly don’t overextend yourself.
If you know your obligations for the holidays, you know where you can give your time and where you can’t.
Remember, it’s okay to say no. Trying to live up to others’ expectations will only add to the stress of the holidays.
How to Prepare For The Holidays? Build Your Expectations around Your Potential
Finally, as you plan out your holidays, think of yourself and your own abilities.
We’re all different, which means we handle stress differently.
If you try to compare yourself to what others are capable of doing, you’ll end up feeling disappointed or inadequate.
Instead, focus on the things you can do to the best of your ability.
If you enjoy crafts for example, making some of your holiday gifts can be a fun, relaxing and budget-friendly activity.
But if you’re not a crafty person, taking on this type of activity will leave you feeling stressed.
There is plenty of time after the holidays to pursue new activities, so in the meantime, focus on what you can do and what your schedule allows.
Never be afraid to reach out for help.
We all have varying expectations of what we want the holidays to be like, but we can’t do them on our own.
You must let go of a perfectionist attitude and put your trust in others. Actually, this is great practice for the future.
Delegate holiday chores – wrapping gifts, cleaning the house, changing the linens, decorating the home, planning for a holiday meal – to each member in the family.
Not only will the help allow you to accomplish your holiday goals, but also it enables everyone to contribute to a successful outcome.
And of course, remember to have fun.
Turn on some invigorating tunes, bake gingerbread cookies or play back old family videos.
This time of the year only comes once, so use these tips on how to prepare for the holidays and then take the time out to enjoy it.
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