Holiday season is upon us! And for many, it’s not just the happiest season of the year—it’s also the most hectic. There are parties to host or RSVP to, travel to plan, gifts to buy, food to make . . . all while trying to remember the real reasons we celebrate: whether as a recognition of religious milestones or simply a time to gather and be grateful for time with family and friends.
But here at Day Designer, we don’t think it has to be that hectic and harried.
Our goal is to live a well-designed life, so it might come as no surprise that we try to design and plan for a good life during the busy holiday season, too! After all, it should be a time of happiness and celebration—not stress and overwhelm. So we’ve compiled five of our favorite tips to help you (and us!) prepare for a stress-free holiday season:
1. Set Your Budget
It’s all too easy for holiday spending to get out of hand—and fast! How many times have you balanced your budget in January and wondered where all of your money went? Well, wonder no more! Start setting your holiday budget now, so you know exactly how much you want to spend in each category: gifts, travel, parties, and more. Then use a simple method to track your spending in each category—you might use your own spreadsheet or list your expenses in your Day Designer, or you might use an app like Mint or YNAB. Find a system that you’ll actually stick with, so that you feel comfortable with what you’re spending. And who knows? Perhaps the good habit of budgeting will stick with you long after the holidays are over!
2. Stay On Top of Your Schedule
There is so much going in your day-to-day life, let alone during the holidays! This is the perfect opportunity to use your Day Designer to stay on track. Start penciling in the important dates you know you need to reserve now: your daughter’s holiday recital at school, the extended family Christmas party, the travel time to your in-laws for Thanksgiving, your office holiday party. Get it all down on paper—and mark when you’ll need to RSVP, when you’ll need to start shopping, time you’ll need to cook, and more. Be sure to schedule some down-time, too! The holidays can be hectic (even when you’ve written everything down in your planner), so it’s nice to know you have a day or a whole weekend to spend quietly together as a family. Plan ahead now and you’ll be more than prepared by the time the holiday season arrives!
3. Share Household Holiday Duties
If you’re reading this article, you likely manage a lot around the holidays (or, always, if we’re being honest). Remind yourself that you don’t need to do it all; in fact, it can be fun to plan and participate in things as a family and let each member play a different role in a holiday tradition or experience. But don’t wait until the last minute! Decide ahead of time who will be in charge of what in your family—does your son like to watch you cook dinner? Why not recruit him as sous chef on Thanksgiving morning? If your partner likes to help but doesn’t know where to start, hand over a detailed list of holiday gifts to shop for. And remember to hold on to the activities and traditions you most enjoy! Love wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve, making your favorite dishes for every holiday dinner, or planning the office holiday party? Keep doing what feels fun and fall back on your community for help with the rest.
4. Plan Experiences Before Parties
Instead of letting your schedule get over run with get-togethers and potlucks and parties, why not focus on creating memorable new experiences instead? Sure, these could be created at another party—or they could be specific to you, your family, and the activities you love most. It might be chopping down a holiday tree together or forgoing lots of gifts for a Secret Santa exchange or making latkes for Hanukkah. You may even start a meaningful new holiday tradition! It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as it’s meaningful, memorable, and fun for you and your family. And you can still go to the parties, of course! Just be sure to prioritize the experiences over the parties as much as possible.
5. Maintain Your Daily Rituals
And one last tip—remember that you’ve already designed your life with intention and purpose. Don’t lose sight of that in the hubbub of the holidays. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you need to forego all of the daily rituals that make you feel good, and help you move through your day with ease. Don’t give up on your morning meditation, healthy lunches, or weekly dates with your spouse. Maintain space in your planner for all of the rituals and activities that you carry with you throughout the year to keep you happy and healthy. We guarantee that if you can do that (and follow all of the other tips we’ve listed above!) through the holiday season, you’ll make it to January relaxed, refreshed, and ready to design a beautiful new year.
Here at Day Designer, we’re releasing our first-ever, totally free Holiday Planning Printable Kit—a compilation of crowd favorites from years past and brand-new releases, all designed to complement your daily planning system during the busiest time of the year. You’ll find the tools to help you plan your season, shop for gifts, record thank you notes to write, and so much more! Access your FREE Holiday Planning Printable Kit right here.