Hassle Free Holidays…are possible!

Hassle Free Holidays…are possible!

Bah Humbug!! Yes, the holidays can be a time of stress and frustration. We also know that this very special time of the year can be as hassle free we choose to make it. With a little planning you can have a more relaxed holiday time with family and friends.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

Priorities:
1. Travel: Do you really want to leave home to visit with extended family members? Can you even afford to this season? Or would it be best to stay at home where the kids can play and enjoy their local family, friends & events? If you chose the later, consider making a special holiday video/DVD to send to the extended family.
2. Traditions: Poll the family as to their favorite holiday traditions and agree to drop or postpone one or more this season. Or maybe add a new “tradition” to replace a long-standing one. Sometimes we outgrow long-standing practices or due to financial situations; just cannot participate in them this year.
3. Volunteering: Helping others might become a new family tradition to pursue.  Consider volunteering at a food center, serving the less advantaged. Baking holiday cookies to take to an elderly neighbor, a convalescent home, or a needy family can be a rewarding and fun group activity as well as a lesson in giving and sharing. This could be a great lesson for family members of all ages….as well as a new tradition.

Gifts:
1. Cost: Decide on a set amount to spend on each person’s gift. Discuss it
with the other extended families to help keep it within everyone’s budget. Most will appreciate this consideration.
2. Choose: Drawing names can help to cut back on spending and may even insure that recipients get what they really want or need. Ask each friend or family member you exchange gifts with to write 3 gift suggestions on an index card. Each person then draws a card and can shop accordingly. That way there is no question as to what to buy, size or color. You can decide to keep it a secret or share names chosen.
3. Kids only? : Within extended families, sometimes gifting only the little ones
(up to or through the teen-agers) may be the way to go. Most adults don’t really NEED anything they receive and it may help everyone with their holiday expenses.
4. Charity: Consider donating the money to be spent on gifts to a local charity, shelter or food kitchen. Encourage kids to save their money for a few months so they can also donate. You might make a trip to the chosen facility so they can see where their money is going and what it can do to help others. Set up special holiday chores at home to help them to earn the money.

Stress relievers:
1. Less is more: Accept fewer invitations to parties and affairs. Choose the events with most meaningful to you and your family. EG: a women or men’s shelter, an elderly care center, the American Veterans facility, a medical hospice or a children’s youth center. Remember your priorities. Many of these folks do not just want your help…they need it.
2. Spending: Stay within your budget. Seeing those credit card charges or a depleted checking account in January can cause major post holiday stress.
3. Relax & enjoy: Gather together with a holiday movie and popcorn, or read a Christmas or Holiday story together each night or perhaps get out the photos from last years’ holiday events and reminisce. Enjoy the holidays and most of all…each other.
4. Blessings: Each day take time to recall what your family is thankful for; family, friends, health and most of all…freedom to celebrate whichever holiday you choose.

Best wishes for a Happy & Peaceful Holiday to all.

© Hassle Free Holidays possible, Ann Gambrell 11/2012

Authored by: Ann Gambrell

Ann Gambrell is an organizational consultant, helping busy people to get organized since 1985. Ann is the originator of Creative Time-Plus, and conducts seminars, workshops and classes throughout the country. Ann is a founder and active member, of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. Her cassette tape and CD series relate to a variety of organizational topics including paperwork management, clutter control and kitchen organizing. View Ann's Profile on LinkedIn

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