Nov 3, 2015 · 3 minute read

By: Colleen Valles

We’ve just passed Halloween, which means we are entering what is for some, the busiest time of year. Holiday season can be filled with the joy of friends and family, the coziness of a warm fire on a cold night, and hot chocolate.

Many times, however, it’s filled instead with rushing from one store to another, frantic housecleaning in preparation for guests and parties, weekends taken up with obligations, and sadly, not enough hot chocolate. So much rushing can make this magical time of year whoosh by and leave you wondering on Jan. 2 where the time went.

We can’t shirk all of our holiday obligations. Those gifts won’t buy themselves, unfortunately. But we can do a little planning now to make sure we’re not rushing around at the last minute, trying to defrost a turkey on Thanksgiving morning or find the perfect gift with every other procrastinator in a 100 mile radius at the mall on Christmas eve.

  1. First and foremost, remember to be thankful. With so much busyness, we can easily forget the reason why we’re going to all that effort.

    Frantic cleaning to prepare for arriving guests means you have people who love you who want to be with you. Having to say no to some parties because you have too many to go to means people enjoy your presence and want to have you around. Having to prepare big dinners means you have loved ones to break bread with.

  2. Give yourself some deadlines. Start with what you need to accomplish and by when and then work backwards. Need to cook a turkey? How long will it take to defrost? Once you know that, you know when you need to buy it by. Need to order a gift or flowers or something that’s coming from far away? Look for it now, figure out the delivery time and plan your order date. Do the same with plane tickets if you’re traveling this holiday season. Buy now, and you’ll get better options and better prices.

  3. Set a budget: Part of what can make this time of year so stressful is overspending. You often need to spend money on food and drinks if you’re entertaining, Christmas presents, hostess gifts, plane tickets … the list adds up pretty quickly. Plan now what you’ll need and do your best to stick to it. It seems like there’s always something unexpected, like a car repair or a broken phone, but figure in a little contingency, and you won’t be sweating it out.

  4. Say no. You don’t need to go to every party. It seems like the second weekend in December is THE time for parties, doesn’t it? Well, I guess you could go to every holiday party, but that would be an amazing feat of logistics that seems like more trouble than it’s worth. Sometimes you just have to send your regrets and hope to attend next year’s gala. If possible, and if it doesn’t cause too much extra stress, see if you can schedule some special get-together with the host or hostess – maybe meet for drinks or lunch in the middle of the week. You’ll get better catch-up time that way than at a party where the host will be too busy anyway.

  5. Take care of yourself. All this busyness can be overwhelming and can make us susceptible to getting sick. Remember to take some time, have a cup of hot cocoa and relax. Maybe do some yoga or go for a run or, as we like to say here, do what you love – knit? paint? write? make music? Indulging in your creative outlet can help keep you calm and centered.

    Above all, sleep! All those things you’re rushing to take care of won’t be any easier if you have a fever and stuffy nose and feel like your hair hurts. Give your body and you mind some downtime to repair, and you’ll enjoy your holidays instead of being miserable.

A little planning goes a long way, and getting some stuff done every day means your holiday season won’t be a frantic mess of rushing and stress and cooking disasters.

How do you slow down during a busy time of year?


Colleen Valles
I'm Colleen, a writer, mother, knitter, pet mama and tiny house enthusiast who truly believes that everybody should slow down and simplify to make room for the things that are most important in their lives. I'm on a journey to do just that, to be able to spend more time with family and friends, riding my bike and working in the garden. Sign up to get awesome content right in your inbox, or follow me on social media.