The Holiday season is supposed to be about joyful times being spent with family and friends. Instead, nearly a quarter of Americans report feeling “extreme stress” at this time of year.
According to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, women are more likely than men to experience increased stress levels during the Holiday season, and they’re less likely to take the time to relax or manage that stress in constructive and healthy ways.
With just a few, short weeks between now and Christmas, we have put together an emergency survival guide that we hope will help our women clients cope with the overwhelming challenges of budgeting, planning and cooking for big Holiday parties and family get-togethers, while keeping their anxiety under control, their health on point and their sanity intact. Read on for some very interesting ideas and tips that will help you organize and enjoy the season to the fullest this year:
# 1: There Isn’t `Plenty Of Time’
Don’t leave your Holiday planning for later, buoyed by the false notion that there’s still “plenty of time”. It’s November and there really isn’t. Amazing how time just seems to fly during this last quarter of the year, and you can’t afford to sit back and wait for Thanksgiving to be over before you shift gears to Holiday mode. Do it now, start shopping now, so you can really enjoy a stress-free December.
# 2: Get Over Thanksgiving
Before you can see Christmas in the horizon, you have to close the Thanksgiving chapter — fully and finally — for this year. That means cleaning out the refrigerator, putting away your Thanksgiving dinner paraphernalia etc. Empty your living space and your mind to make room for Christmas because — like you well know — it’s going to demand all of it!
# 3: `Feel’ The Meaning Of Your Holiday
Know what you’re planning before you actually start planning. What do you want from this season? The answer’s pretty easy because most of us want the same thing — to feel elevated and overjoyed in the renewed connection with our community, family, friends and ourselves. That’s the true magic of the season and visualizing this state of mind empowers our Holiday planning with so much positivity, enthusiasm and anticipation.
# 4: Peg Down Your Holiday Budget
Credit cards are a great thing, until the bills come flooding in to replace all the Holiday joy with payment worries. Nearly two-thirds of American families overshoot their budget because they didn’t make one in the first place. Have an amount in mind that you’re comfortable spending, and keep it pegged down by a few hundred dollars of grace space. That way, if you overspend, you’re still okay.
# 5: Make Your Cards Post Office Friendly
Help the Post Office help you with speedy greeting cards delivery. With the automated mail delivery system, the 3 Golden Rules of writing addresses are these: use capital letters; don’t use any punctuations like periods or commas; include the long, 9-digit postal code if possible. The USPS website has a Zip Code Locator that will spew out the full zip code of an address in a jiffy.
# 6: Here Is Santa’s Canadian Postal Code
H0H 0H0. For all moms out there, this is Santa’s official postal code in Canada. Any letter sent to him with this postal code will be opened and answered by Santa’s busy elves at the Canadian postal office. Remember that the `0′ is the number zero and not an alphabet. The full mailing address should read: Santa Claus, North Pole, Canada H0H 0H0.
# 7: Did Santa Write To Your Kids?
You can get “authentic” handwritten letters from Santa for your kids to find under the tree on Christmas morning. The little ones are so smart these days, but they cannot possibly doubt Santa’s favorite font and the official North Pole postmark on their letters, right? Visit HandwrittenSantaLetters.com to request Santa to write a personal letter to your family this year.
# 8: Start The De-Clutter And Say “No More Clutter!”
Daily life brings daily detritus of clutter that pile up in spite of our best efforts. Starting now, look around the house and plan to de-clutter a little bit at a time even while you’re going about your daily chores. Do it by room or just pick up as you go. When the time comes to start heavy-duty pre-Holiday cleaning, so much will already have been accomplished without even trying. Keep an eye out for new clutter build-up possibilities, and just say “No!”.
# 9: Take Away All Decorative “Extras”
Before you start decorating, take a moment to think if you really need all the usual decorative pieces that do not support the Holiday mood. Make room for Holiday inclusions by removing breakable and other portable stuff that don’t belong in the December decor scheme. Not only will your living room look less overloaded, there will be so much more space for your guests to put down their glasses, plates, platters and other entertainment paraphernalia you want them to enjoy.
# 10: Do A Pre-Holidays Closet Check
What will you wear to the office Christmas party or family gathering this year? How about all the unexpected social engagements that invariably creep into your calendar as December draws closer? With so many chores occupying our mind, planning outfits becomes a hurried, last-minute decision we aren’t fully satisfied with. Now’s the time to do a closet check for the entire family.
# 11: No Home-Cooked Dinners? No Problem!
Time is a finite thing and you only have so much of it. The week or two before Christmas, you may well not have time to cook dinner for the family. Explain the situation to them, shop for ready and frozen meals, and don’t feel guilty. You’re putting up the show of the year here. You cannot get bogged down with daily cooking duties as well, if you’re short on time!
# 12: How Many Gifts Will Santa Bring?
Too often, parents are unsure of their surprise Santa choices and end up spending too much money on too many gifts. Instead of frittering away their attention on a bunch of knick-knacks, a simple practice may be to limit Santa’s gifts to only 3 things per child. One gift to read, one gift to wear and one gift to play with. Remember that you can make each gift as special as your budget allows, and grandparents, aunts and uncles will be adding more to the loot under the tree in the evening!
# 13: Don’t Do Guilty Add-Ons To The Original Gift
More than 69% of Americans worry about gift budgets during Christmas. So, we buy a gift on sale, and then have guilt pangs about how it simply isn’t good enough. Then, we set about undoing the mistake by buying more stuff to support the first one. Result? We actually end up spending a lot more than we ever intended. Get it right the first time by not giving in to the temptation of a deep discount. Be confident that the gift is worthy on its own, and you won’t have second thoughts afterwards.
# 14: Think Of Non-Messy Stocking Stuffers
Candy is a popular choice to fill stocking with, as are dinky cars and other small goodies that get strewn about the house on Christmas morning, creating yet another clean-up chore in an already busy day. Instead of expecting the kids to set aside their excitement and tidy after themselves, it might be a good idea to not include any small, mess-prone stocking stuffers to begin with.
# 15: Pack Gifts With Airport Security In Mind
If you’re traveling home for the Holidays, wrap your gifts in such a way that airport security can look inside. A simple idea is to use lidded boxes and wrap the two pieces separately. Remember that security will be beefed up in all airports and luggage scrutiny will intensified. You absolutely don’t want anything among your Holiday gifts to look remotely suspicious.
# 16: Plan For Holiday House Guests
If you have friends or family staying with you during the Holidays, take some time out to think of their comfort. How you will prepare the guest room or which bathroom will they use or which sofa bed they will sleep on? Consider beddings, towels and other home stuff they will use from your closet. It’s always fun to prepare a simple “welcome basket” with some night snacks, toiletries and books/magazines that make guests feel less guilty about “imposing” and more assured of their welcome in your home.
# 17: Plan A Time-Out Just To Pamper Yourself
Book a massage or promise yourself a treat of mani-pedi – anything that makes you feel good about yourself. But don’t use it just yet! Save the break for later — much later — when you’re knee deep in Holiday preparation. As you’re mucking out the fireplace or looking at some serious carpet cleaning to be done, know that you’ll soon be pampering yourself with this special treat. It will make the ordeal of housework so much more bearable.
# 18: Get Enough B-Complex
B-complex vitamins help to calm frayed nerves, improve mood and relieve symptoms of fatigue. Get plenty of B-complex in your diet by eating vitamin B-rich meals like spinach omelets and three-bean salads.
If you’re strapped for time, an IV therapy fortified with B-complex will quickly take care of the vitamin shortfall in your system.
Even while you’re preparing for the Holidays, real life does not stop happening and you need to be physically ready to multitask like a pro.
# 19: What’s Cooking For Christmas Morning Breakfast?
If you want to start off Christmas day with a festive breakfast, you can still save time by choosing dishes that can easily be prepared ahead. We found a wonderful set of Christmas Morning recipes that will not have you slaving in the kitchen and missing out on all the family fun. From potato and kale frittatas to over-sized breakfast muffins and lox, eggs and onion quiche — find the most delicious and simple recipes here.
# 20: Wake Up Before The Kids On Christmas Morning
Don’t stay in bed until the kids come to wake you. Get a head start on all the excitement ahead by preparing breakfast — and a trash bag to immediately collect all the torn gift wrappers, tissues, ribbons and empty boxes before they explode all over the house. Play a Christmas CD to set the mood for the morning and have hot chocolate ready to greet everyone with on this rather memorable day.
# 21: Call Or Face Time Your Family Overseas
Calling or face timing with members of the family who are abroad is a great way to include them in your celebrations. As hostess, it is a very thoughtful gesture on your part and the people you call will feel so touched that you remembered them in the midst of hosting a party.
# 22: For People With No Holidays
Bake a few batches of cookies with your children and take them to distribute the cookies at your local fire station, police department or among staff at the local hospital — all people who don’t get to spend Christmas with their families because they are busy keeping us safe.
# 23: Release Christmas Wish Balloons
It’s a very therapeutic practice for both adults and young. Fix a time when the whole family sits together to think about one wish they want to come true for the family in the New Year. Discuss the wish, enjoy a session of group positive thinking, and then write the wish down on balloons. Release the balloons and watch the winds carry them away. This simple activity will ground your anxieties and put you in a very optimistic state of mind.
# 24: Help Your Pet Help His/Her Own Community
Involve your pet in the Holiday spirit of Giving Back. Make up a goody bag with inexpensive toys, treats and food. Take your pet and the kids to donate it at a local dog/cat shelter or sanctuary, so some homeless animals can also have something to celebrate this year.
# 25: Notice The `Sensations’ Of Holiday Preparation
When monotony sets in with a chore, take the time to actually notice how the cookie dough is squishing under your fingers, how the wreath is taking shape with each piece of greenery you add to the circular frame. Smell Christmas in the crisp, wintry air. Engaging your sensations in the job at hand will remind you of the reason why you’re doing it — and the pleasure will all come flooding back again.
# 26: Expect Your Man To Annoy You
Men rarely understand the stress of hostessing. The fine nuances of great party-giving are often lost on the male population, as long as food and drinks are plenty. So yes, your man will annoy you, get in your way, question your concerns — basically be of no help at all. Take that as a given and move on. Find clever ways of engaging him with elbow grease chores and show him your appreciation by not being ornery at other times.
Hard, we know, but he will be so grateful…and maybe more useful… 🙂
# 27: Be Prepared For Extra Guests
You better be because unexpected guests are a phenomenon that visits your home when you’re least expecting it. Imagine the possibility of extra seating at the table, prepare two people’s worth of extra food and put together a couple of small gifts, just in case. People feel so embarrassed showing up at the last minute, your thoughtfulness will definitely put them at ease.
# 28: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
It is so easy to fall behind on self-care when you’re in charge of a major event like throwing a Christmas party. Hydration is crucial at this time. If you’re feeling dehydrated, lackluster or low on energy, call us or email us and let us know. We’ll find just the right IV therapy cocktail to get you back in the saddle and charging ahead with your Holiday plans in no time!
# 29: Reduce Appetizers To Nibble-Size
Cut your appetizer recipe quantities by half at least. Make them toothpick or cocktail size for the simple reason that guests always show up hungry and platters of beautiful appetizers are so irresistible they overeat without meaning to and cannot do full justice afterwards to the wonderful sit-down meal you have slaved over.
# 30: Break Up The Tedium
Take frequent breaks while you’re doing all the heavy-duty preparation stuff. Step outside with a cup of chamomile tea or pop some crackly, air-popped snacks in your mouth. These actions really help in breaking up the tedium. Instead of music, listen to an audio book or a favorite radio program, news or an online speech. Keeping your mind occupied will make you forget what your hands are doing.
# 31: This Is A Good Time To Try Cryotherapy
Fortify yourself with a rush of adrenaline and feel-good, happy hormones by treating yourself to a Cryotherapy session. Just 2-3 minutes in a chamber cooled to temperatures between -238°F to -274°F with liquid nitrogen will help you relieve muscle and joint pains, reduce anxiety and stress levels and help you sleep better at a time when you’re probably awake half the night, making to-do lists in your head.
# 32: Don’t Panic If Some Guests Show Up Early
As any accomplished hostess will tell you, early-bird guests are the bane of last-minute preparations. Don’t get tripped up or caught with half your make-up on by completing all essential prep jobs at least 30 minutes before guests are scheduled to arrive.
# 33: Avoid Fights With A Smart Seating Arrangement
As hostess, seat planning is a right you can exercise to make sure the meal progresses smoothly with no warring family members starting an embarrassing fight. Think about the politics among people on your guest list and place the volatile ones as far away from each other as possible.
# 34: Assess The Alcohol Intake
Christmas parties are never complete unless Aunt Agatha gets tipsy on the aperitif and Uncle Bob is inspired by excess wine to finish an unsettled dispute with Uncle Barry. Keep your guests hydrated with lots of water, and confiscate car keys if necessary. They will all thank you the day after.
We’re thinking an IV therapy at one of our Hydralive clinics may be a good idea too! Uncle Bob could certainly use a quick hangover cure!
Contact us, and we’ll help you set one appointment up. Or two, or half-a-dozen depending on how many Uncle Bobs you have in the family… 🙂
# 35: Finally, Let Perfectionism Go
You have worked really hard to create a magical Christmas experience for your friends and loved ones. The deed is done, the guests have arrived. Now is the time to let down your guard and let the energy of the party carry things along. After the first few minutes, nobody will notice small things going wrong here and there. The camaraderie will have taken over, and as a seasoned hostess you job is to join the spirit. Go on, have fun! You’ve so earned it!
# 36: Treat Yourself At A Hydralive Clinic
Once the Holiday season is over, there is a shiny, new 2020 waiting just ahead with new hopes, new ideas and new resolutions for a whole new YOU. Step into this New Year feeling on top of the world!
Check out our list of therapies and cocktails that promote weight loss, diffuse anxieties and fortify your body against diseases. Control a variety of ailments via transfusion of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that don’t get spitted out by the digestion process but absorbed fully by the body because of the intravenous delivery system.
At Hydralive, we’re committed to helping you be the best version of yourself, and we’re walking every step with you.
Enjoy your Holidays!
We’re right by your side, if you ever need some extra help.