‘Tis [almost] the season . . . to feel stressed out and overwhelmed. Hopefully you’re reading this in time to adopt a few of our sanity-saving suggestions for savoring – rather than stressing over – the holidays. A lot of this boils down to giving yourself permission to ditch the Martha Stewart aspirations and replace them with achievable, realistic goals.
Corner-Cutting Savvy: Sorry to say, but no one really cares if you spent added hours in the kitchen the night before Thanksgiving or Christmas chopping up four different kinds of veggies and baking a Buche de Noel or a Dutch apple pie. Your guests will care about spending time with you (we hope), and the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. If baking isn’t your strong suit – ugh, recipes – then order dessert from a local bakery. Have hubby or an older child go pick it up. Stick with just one veggie and keep it simple. Lightly steamed green beans are your best friends on the day of.
Shop Local AND Shop Online: Yes, shopping local is crucial to the local economy. Yes, those handmade crafts at the church fair are charming, but your teenaged nieces and nephews don’t want them. This is the cold hard truth. Rather than feeling guilty about hitting up American Eagle for the aforementioned teens, or Amazon for relatives who live too far away to be expected to exchange things you purchased at a local shop, try splitting the difference. Shop local for your spouse, the dog-walker and babysitter, and any nearby artsy-craftsy neighbors, and click your way to “serenity now” for the rest. But by all means, when it comes time to buy a new fridge for your home, or your fave pair of black leggings finally gives up, please visit your neighborhood purveyor.
Holiday Cards via Minted: Holiday cards are, thankfully, the one hold-out in the world of snail mail. But if tracking down addresses and then hand-addressing envelopes puts you into Scrooge mode every year, try ordering your cards from Minted. They will, at no extra charge, beautifully print the address on envelopes for you. And the best part? Once you’ve entered the addresses, they live forever on the Minted website. With all the time you’ve saved, you might even spend a few minutes jotting down a personal note with each card. Minted tends to be pricier than many other custom card sites, but the quality is worth it, and there are always coupons floating around in cyberspace.
Christmas Wrapping:No, not the fab song by the Waitresses, actual gift wrapping. Wait until you have your shopping pretty much done. Bring everything – all the presents and wrapping supplies – into your living room or den. Plop yourself down in front of the TV and have yourself a little wrapping party. Wondering what makes it a party? We’re glad you asked. Binge-watch your favorite holiday season movies: the good, the schmaltzy, the classic. No judgment! By the time you’re done, you may have made it through Elf, Love Actually, Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life, and Scrooged, but your gifts will be wrapped, and you’ll have enjoyed your first movie marathon in years.