Holiday time brings families together, parents and their children joy, tons of food, and a complete and total over abundance of stress!  Between gift buying, wrapping, dinner planning, traveling, you name it, the list seems never ending. With everything going on, the joy of the holidays can fade, quickly.  However, it’s important to remember that your holiday stress can be easily managed and reduced, if you go about it the right way.  Relieve your stress this holiday season with simple organization, structure, and a little bit of planning.  Here are a few useful tips:

Smart Decor

Nothing brings holiday cheer like a house full of beautiful decorations and lights.  Easier said than done, right? Not exactly. Don’t wait until last minute to get your decorating done, especially if you’re expecting company over the holidays.  Schedule a decorating day, and dedicate the time to unpacking all decorations and lights, and getting everything set up. It will pay off if you’re expecting visitors later in the month when things get busier (while getting you into the holiday spirit!)

Prepare Your Holiday Cards Well Before Sending

If you’re a family that does holiday cards, whether they’re hand written, or a collage of family photos taken by a professional, make sure you schedule the shoot, or prep your cards early.  Things like this can take a lot of time, (if you do family photos, you could likely be dedicating a good few hours). Get them done well before you want to send them out. Once they’re finished, they can sit until you’re ready to send.  It’s a simple trick to avoid working this into your already crazy schedule.

Shop Smart: Get it Done Early

When it comes to holiday shopping, there are those that start months in advance, and those that are scrambling through the mall two weeks before Christmas or Hanukkah.  Find a happy medium somewhere in the middle. You don’t need to start shopping in August (although believe it or not, some do), but starting your shopping a month or two early is a great way to avoid the holiday rush right before.  You’ll have plenty of time to plan out what gifts you’re getting, and budget accordingly this way.

Bake in Bulk

Is there anything better than a delicious Christmas cookie?  Sure, but during the holidays, baked goods are usually a huge hit.  If you enjoy baking, make sure the holiday stress doesn’t rob you of the joy you get from it.  Holiday baking can take a lot of time, but it can also be a lot of fun, and a great way to be creative!  Take a day or two a week or so before, and bake everything you can in bulk. You’ll likely need the entire day, but once it’s done, you can package everything nicely and be done with it; then the only thing you’ll need to focus on is preventing family members (kids) from sneaking them before you can hand them out to whoever is on your list. (Although, sneaking a few never hurt anyone.)

The most important thing to you can do, is remember to have fun.  The holidays are a time for excitement and joy. Follow some of these tips to make sure the stress is limited!