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How to Reclaim the Holiday Joy

Some survival tips to get you through this crazy time of year.

Have you ever wished you could skip the holidays? They’re supposed to be a bright and merry time that brings family and friends together, but instead, they end up causing a lot of stress. There are presents to buy, decorations to put up, parties to attend, cards to mail, and elaborate meals to prepare. It’s all just too much! You feel stretched thin toward the end of the year, constantly investing time and money into celebrating the holidays.


Since you probably can’t actually skip the holidays, you need a plan for how to handle them efficiently with the least amount of stress. You need to reclaim your holiday joy! Here are some survival tips to get you through this crazy time of year.


Purchase Consumable Gifts

Holiday shopping can be one of the worst aspects of the holidays. Between friends, family members, and colleagues, there are a lot of people you have to buy for. Not only is it expensive, but it also takes a huge amount of your time and energy to find gifts for each person in your life. Going out to shop and browsing crowded stores can cause a lot of anxiety. Not to mention there’s a lot of pressure to find the perfect gift for each individual. You don’t want your presents to end up being returned or re-gifted.


The smartest gifts to buy are consumable ones. These are simple, practical gifts that people can actually use and appreciate. Think about buying gift certificates, concert tickets, or some nice bottles of wine for your loved ones. These types of gifts don’t require a lot of creativity, but they are greatly valued by the recipient! If you purchase items in bulk, you can have many of the same gift to give different people. Maybe you could gift everyone in your office with the same present. This will eliminate the amount of time you spend shopping. You could also take an everyday item and add a personal touch to it. For instance, every year I buy my friends personalized notepads. They are both useful and stylish.


Remember that your gifts don’t have to a physical product that you buy at the store. Give someone a gift of your time, maybe in the form of a promise for a lunch or dinner date. Making a memory is a more unique, personalized gift that not everyone will expect.


Streamline Decorations

Have you ever felt judged by your holiday decorations—or a lack of? Between lights, stockings, Christmas, trees, nativity scenes, and more—both inside and outside your home—decorating for the holidays can be overwhelming. So, don’t go all out. Instead, keep things simple. Choose five to seven essential decorations that symbolize the holidays for you. They could be the ones that are easiest to put up or the ones that are the most meaningful to you. Only put up those decorations and eliminate the others.


If you can’t figure out a way to simplify your decorations, at least make the decorating process easier for yourself next year. Repack your decorations into containers based on what room they go in. Label the decorations if you really want to simplify things for yourself. After these containers are store away, they will be so much easier for you to find and unpack next year.


Decide What Not to Do

There are way too many things going on around the holidays to commit to everything. You don’t have to go to every party and event, participate in every gift exchange, or give everyone a gift. You get to decide what to do and not do. And you have the right to not feel guilty about that. Remember that whenever you say ‘yes’ to something, you’re always saying ‘no’ to something else. So when you decide not to participate in something, you don’t have to feel bad about it. Say ‘yes’ to what gives you joy and say ‘no’ to what sucks the life out of you. The holidays are stressful enough without the pressure of saying ‘yes’ to every single thing. Give yourself time to breathe in the midst of the busy holiday season.


Send Valentine’s Cards

If you’re like most people, you feel obligated to take a nice photo and send it to pretty much everyone in your life, along with a card that details the last year of your and your family’s life. But getting the photos taken, cards written, envelopes addressed, and the final product mailed takes a lot of time and energy. People get so many Christmas cards at the end of the year that they may not even read yours after you put all of that time into it.


Don’t rush yourself into writing these cards. Give yourself a little time. There’s no need to send them out right away in December when you already have a million other things to do. Why not wait until February and make it a Valentine’s Day card? Your friends won’t expect it, and they’ll appreciate the gesture early in the new year.


These tips are a great way to start reclaiming your holiday joy! If you want more strategies for how to handle the holidays, click the link below to check out my complete Holiday Survival Guide. Happy holidays!


Carson Tate is a renowned coach, teacher, and creator of the Productivity Style Assessment® with expertise in providing simple solutions that transform individuals’ personal and professional lives. Learn more about her philosophy and strategies for productivity by visiting


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