(BPT) - Less than a month separates Halloween from Thanksgiving. And, this year, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are all within a day of each other, and the two multi-day holidays both end on New Year’s Day. With end-of-year celebrations coming one after another, transitioning from holiday to holiday can ratchet up your stress level.
If you really want to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest, it’s important to find ways to create calm in the chaos of party preparations, gift shopping, meal planning and other forms of busyness. Here are some tips to remain calm and in control as you move through the hectic pace of the holidays:
Have a plan
The holidays are busy and stressful enough without adding uncertainty and last-minute challenges into the mix. Plan ahead for holiday celebrations so that you know well in advance what you’ll need to make a memorable gathering. The further ahead you plan, the more time you’ll have for preparation, so go ahead and create your Thanksgiving menu while you’re sneaking treats from the kids’ Halloween stash. Start your Christmas shopping list at the same time.
Establishing a budget can also help ensure you stay calm during the holidays. Overspending is one of the most stress-causing experiences of the season. Planning how much you’ll spend for gifts, decorations and entertainment can help remove the stress of watching the bills pile up.
Relieve stress with renting
The amount of clutter you need in your home always seems to increase with the holidays — from Halloween costumes and decorations, to dishes and silverware for meals. Trying to gather everything in time can be stressful, and figuring out where to store it all after the holidays are over can be even more frustrating. Renting holiday-related items can be a hassle-free way to get what you need without the expense of buying, the logistical challenges of borrowing and the headache of storing stuff after the holidays. Local rental stores carry everything you need to move quickly and calmly from holiday to holiday.
You can rent Halloween costumes; chafing dishes, silverware, dishes and linens for a big Thanksgiving meal; and decor for Christmas and New Year’s. You can find tables and chairs, lighting, centerpieces and even portable dance floors for New Year’s parties. Visit www.rentalHQ.com to find an American Rental Association member store in your area, and remember to reserve items early as the holidays are a busy time for rental stores as well.
Your guest list probably changes from celebration to celebration. The big Halloween party might include friends from the neighborhood or co-workers; Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are for spending time with family; and your annual New Year’s Eve party involves practically everyone you know. Trying to make different dishes and entirely unique menus for every one of those holiday celebrations could drive you crazy.
Try repurposing recipes and reusing dishes that are easy to make, impressive to eat and work for you and your budget. For example, the punch you made for Halloween could also be great for New Year’s, especially with a grownup flare. The pumpkin cheesecake that was the perfect ending to your Thanksgiving menu can be just as delicious for New Year’s. Since each event will probably have a different guest list, it won’t look like you’re repeating yourself.
Soothe your senses
Gaudy store displays, flashing holiday lights, blaring TV and radio commercials — the sights and sounds of the season can sometimes get to be too much. Soothing your senses can help create calm amid the chaos. While it may not be possible to completely unplug from the sensory overload the holidays can become, certain tactics can help relax you.
Try using aromatherapy at home and even in the office to create a scented oasis of serenity. Scented candles, potpourri or room spray in popular holiday aromas like pine, cinnamon, peppermint and vanilla can subliminally create calm. Music is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of the holiday season. If you love holiday music, playing it in the background while you tackle chores like meal prep or gift wrapping can help relax you and put you in a festive mood. Or, if you’re feeling overloaded with holiday music, put on something else that you find soothing — classical music, jazz or hip hop. Whatever works for you is the right background music to help you enjoy the season!