The holiday season (and all of its craziness) is upon us! I am on a mission to keep things as simple and stress-free as possible this year. Really.
Last year I never sent out any Christmas cards, the ones I ordered were blurry and I didn’t have enough time to redo so I just decided to skip them. I was disappointed at the time because I had a really cute photo of the kids to send out, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Because guess what happened? Nothing. That’s right. It didn’t make that much of a difference! While I’m sure our family and friends would have loved the cards, both they and we went on to have a lovely holiday anyway.
So this year I am making a conscious effort to not over commit my resources—time, money, energy—so that I have enough left over to truly enjoy the holiday with my family! To help me with my mission I’ve partnered with SunTrust Bank for a series of posts to help keep the craziness in check.
Thinking back to when I was little my best holiday memories all have to do with the activities we did as a family, not the gifts I received. I remember the time spent decorating cookies, going house to house singing Christmas carols with my cousins and picking out our Christmas tree. Throughout the busyness those are the things that stuck with me and those are the types of memories I want to stick with my kids. And I’ve got a plan to make that happen!
Put on Your Oxygen Mask First
That safety warning you get before each flight applies to parenting too—at no time is it truer than the holidays. Making family memories sounds great in theory but it will be fun for no one if you are a stress ball.
Start now and figure out how you are going to allocate your resources this year. Doing it now is the key because when you are on the spot it’s easy to over commit to every school event and charity function that comes your way. By prioritizing what you want to say yes to it makes it easier to not end up giving up sleep or your mortgage payment to make it work. Just make sure to schedule in some down time for you and your family too.
Create a Holiday Plan
Make a plan for how you want to spend your time, your money, and your energy. SunTrust Bank has a free budget spreadsheet you can use to organize all of your holiday spending. We have a gift budget we follow for family and friends, but I love the idea of having all the extra spending that comes with the holidays organized in one place. It makes it much easier to decide what to say yes to.
Use a joint family calendar to keep track of events and schedule in some days off. Decide which events are must-dos and which ones you can give up if things get crazy. My kids love to decorate cookies and gingerbread houses, but the thought of baking tons of cookies does not excite me. We’re going to order some to decorate and chose some special recipes to bake. Same memories, less work. You may love to bake dozens and dozens of cookies, don’t give that up. Instead cut out something that isn’t as fun. The point is to be intentional.
Come up with a plan for how you are going to regroup when you start to get stressed—blast Christmas carols, go for a walk, call a friend and catch up—having ideas ready makes it easier to not let yourself get overwhelmed.
Make Time to Give
A couple years ago we decided to countdown to Christmas with 24 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness and it was the highlight of our Christmas season. Focusing on kindness for others each day, even if it was only for one small act, helped banish so many of the “I wants” and the “I should bes” of this time of year.
As you plan your holiday season I’d encourage you to make acts of kindness part of the plan, I bet you’ll find your stress level go down and your happiness increase with each one.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They want to help you reduce holiday stress through tools, advice, and inspiration that encourages you to make your holidays meaningful by spending within your means and focusing on meaningful experiences.
To get started visit suntrust.com!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.