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This week is Thanksgiving…like in three days. Instead of running around screaming (although I may do a bit of that in my mind where nobody will notice), I’m determined to stay calm and enjoy the season. To help, here’s Ten Tips for Stress-Free Holidays: Easy Snacks, Checklists and More!
You’re probably thinking ‘no way can you have a stress-free holiday!’ But you can! Believe me, if we can find ways to avoid the stress between hosting Thanksgiving dinner, dance lessons, half our family being sick, all of our work and the blog, plus church commitments, I bet you can at least lower your stress level with these tips!
1. Keep Easy Snacks On-Hand
With all the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to put off going to the grocery store. It’s important to keep yourself, and your kiddos fueled for all the activities, though! Between errands, family visits, shopping and whatever else we do, you need your energy. You also don’t want to be hearing ‘I’m hungry’ every five minutes! Whether we’re needing a quick mid-afternoon pick-me-up between all the driving around, or at the end of a long day the kids are begging for something to fill up their tummies, you need something quick, but also that tastes great.
Just head to Walmart, hit up the frozen snacks section, and grab a few 12-packs of delicious HOT POCKETS® sandwiches! Keep them in your freezer, and you can just pull out however many you need, warm them up quickly in the microwave, and you’ve got a great snack even when you’re in a hurry!
There’s so many different flavors to choose from, and they even have a variety of crusts! Our new favorite is the Garlic Butter Crust…super good, and you can even smell the garlicy goodness when you pull it out of the package. They use quality ingredients like premium meats, real cheese and freshly baked crusts, of course. Each sandwich has 9 grams of protein or more, making it a delicious snack with serious staying power. I love that it helps keep my kids going with our busy schedules!
2. Keep Yourself Organized
I know, easier said than done, right? Life NORMALLY has lots of things that need to be organized, and the holidays add a whole mountain more! For me, the best way is to break it down into sections and have sheets for each thing. Two of my favorites are this Free Printable Christmas Planner from Crazy Little Projects and this Holiday Planning Binder from iHeart Organizing. Make sure you write EVERYTHING down in your calendar, so you don’t forget things or overbook yourself.
3. Don’t Clean More Than Necessary
So many of us think our homes have to be pristine for the holidays, in case of guests or visiting relatives. This is great, until we take it to the point of spending TOO MUCH time cleaning. Which would you rather remember: a perfectly clean home, or more fun conversations?
I don’t mean forget it all. Try to do one deep clean at the beginning of the holidays (enlist the help of your kiddos, if you can!), then you can just spend 20-30 minutes each day tidying it up to maintain the good look. Everyone knows our homes aren’t normally perfect, so why waste our time and energy pretending?
4. Purchase Your Gifts Early
I remember a couple years when I waited until the last few weeks of the season to purchase our gifts. Big mistake! As it gets closer, the crowds get worse, as does the traffic, people tend to be LESS than merry, and even inventory can run dry. Plus, when you’re under pressure, you’re more likely to spend more money than if you’d planned ahead. Make your lists, think about it, then get it done.
Even better, purchase them early AND shop mostly online! You can find practically anything online, and it saves you time AND money having to run out to the stores, deal with the masses of people, and potentially end up buying a lot more than you intended! This leaves much more time and energy to devote to the more fun activities (like wrapping, my favorite thing!)!
5. Keep the Dishes to a Minimum
I know it’s fun and exciting to get out the nice china every time someone comes for dinner, but think of all the time you spend cleaning up afterwards. I’d rather be chatting, doing a movie night, or playing games! Ask guests to help bring dishes or use paper products. Looking back, what do you remember more….the nice dishes at a meal, or the company?
6. Prune Your To-Do List
I bet we ALL try to fit more in than is realistically possible. Or maybe it’s possible, but our stress levels are sure going to pay the price! Look at your list of to-dos. Is there anything you can save for later, or remove entirely? Think ‘if I don’t do this right now, what will happen?’ I bet there’s at least some things that are worth putting off.
7. Scale Back Your Decor
Does every room in your home, your front porch and complete back yard (and mailbox, of course) REALLY need to look as festive as can be? I love decor, and it’s easy to overdo it. When decorating, really think if it’s enough to make YOU and your family happy. If so, don’t keep adding more just so you can beat the neighbors.
Few things are more stressful than worrying about the upcoming bills! Take time to set a budget for everything…presents, food, decor, cards, parties, etc. Be realistic, and stick with what you won’t be kicking yourself for come January. Then STICK to your budget!
9. Limit the Invitations
You may get a dozen party invitations, or feel like you need to host every friend for an evening. This is SO NOT TRUE! If you can only handle a few, that’s ok. Be picky which invitations you accept and give out…they’ll understand. It’s more important for you to stay sane than to try and please every single person you know.
10. Breathe and Enjoy!
The holidays are a wonderful time, and you should be able to enjoy yourself, too. Accept that not everything will go perfectly, there will be bumps, but try to take time to ENJOY the time you have and really soak in all the memories. Plus, sometimes the bumps can make the funniest memories!
Now go print the checklists and planners you need to get organized, and make sure you’re fully stocked on great, energy-providing snacks like tasty HOT POCKETS® to keep yourself and your family going through all the fun of the season!
Want more ideas? Check out Flavorful Moments by Nestle to see lots of delish ideas and fun snacks!
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