Are you in the midst of holiday stress?
Last year was my worst holiday season ever. I waited until the last minute to do everything which meant busting my budget on gifts. Plus since I was shopping online, I ended up having to pay extra for expedited shipping. This year I vowed to make a plan and ease my stress during the most wonderful/hectic time of the year. More on my plan below. First I want to address stress around the holidays.
As I write this a week before Christmas, I’m still sitting here with a sneaking suspicion that I forgot something and that I may have to go back out and do more shopping (gulp). Sound familiar?
I read a piece by David Sedaris years ago about how in Europe, people don’t go so crazy with gifts during the holidays. For them, the holidays are all about celebrating and having low-key fun with your friends and family. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
My experience during the holidays has been quite different. I am usually running around like a maniac trying to create the perfect holiday. I’d love to just be able to give people the gift of my time, but I have more expectations on me.
I spend hours shopping for the perfect gifts, baking the perfect cookies, finding the perfect hostess gifts and setting the most beautiful table. And if you’re a mom? Well if you’re a mom you have do all of that PLUS also shop for your kids, and give gifts on their behalf. it’s a lot of work, but thereis a better way!
Here’s my plan to help you beat holiday stress in 3 steps:
1.Find a go-to store.
I like online shopping, but I also like the flexibility of being able to jump in my car or on the bus and get what I need quickly that day and in person. BJ’s Wholesale Club recently conducted a survey that asked moms their preferences and stresses when it comes to holiday meal shopping and gift giving. 65% of survey respondents were are stressed about staying on budget, 58% were stressed about long checkout lines and 57% were stressed about the time it takes to go to several different stores.
My advice? Find a go-to store where you can get all of you food, decor, and gift shopping done at the same place.
I like BJ’s because you can buy everything there in one shot. If there was ever a time for bulk shopping, it’s the holidays. If you’re entertaining, you’re buying food, wine, and beer in bulk. If you’re giving gifts, you’re buying cards, wrapping paper and ribbons in bulk. If you’re decorating your home, you need ornaments and lights–you guessed it–in bulk.
Imagine walking into one store and walking out with everything you need in one shopping trip.
You only have to find parking once!
You only have to wait in line once!
2.Make a list of everything you need to buy–including ingredients, cards, new clothing, decor, etc.
The next step is to go in armed with a really detailed shopping list. Normally when I make a shopping list and budget for the holidays I think of three general categories: gifts, wrapping paper, food. But it goes so far beyond that. I always forget to account for hostess gifts for any parties I attend (this year I’m giving a bottle of prosecco) or the supplies for the homemade gifts I give to my coworkers.
Here’s what to do:
First make a list of all of the projects you need to complete, then create a shopping list by project.
Here’s a sample of what you may need to buy, broken out by project:
Shopping list: cards, stamps, pens
Shopping list: gifts, wrapping paper, gift tags, new scissors, tape, bows/ribbons
Shopping list: padded envelopes, boxes, shipping take, big marker
Neighborhood Cookie Exchange or School Holiday Mixer/Bazaar
Shopping list: ingredients, servingware
Decorating Your House
Shopping list: Chirstmas tree, ornaments, twinkle lights
New Year’s Eve Dinner Party
Shopping list: food and booze, servingware, decor
Homemade Gifts for Neighbors/Coworkers
Shopping list: I’m making moisturizing peppermint hand scrub so my list was half-pint jars, coconut oil, sugar, peppermint essential oil, gift tags and ribbon
Now go through this process for your holiday. other things to consider: do you or your family members need new clothing or shoes? Add them to the list. This should be all-encompassing of everything you need to buy.
You can either write out your list, type it up on a computer and print it out or keep it on your phone. Do whatever is easiest for you.
3.Create a go-to meal plan and delegate.
Unless you’re Ina Garten who seems to have all the time in the world to prepare males and entertain, if you’re hosting a holiday meal, your goal should be to eliminate as many dishes as you can that you actually have to make yourself.
Eliminating dishes is always the first step in meal planning so start figuring out which dishes you can delegate to a guest. I like to use the “whoever said it, makes it” rule. If a guest says they love pumpkin pie, that’s the dish they’ll bring. You can even pre-order food from BJ’s deli and bakery and pick it up at the store on your schedule. How much easier would your life be if someone else prepared the deli platter and baked and decorated the cake?
Whether you’re the type to do your shopping in early December or at the very last minute, having a one-stop-shop like BJ’s nearby can you help you get everything you need within your budget and without the stress of paying for shipping or running around to several different stores.
This is a sponsored post. I received compensation from BJ’s Wholesale Club in exchange for writing this blog post.