Stress Free Holidays Part 1
Reducing Holiday Stress By Planning For Halloween & Christmas

Reducing holiday stress through planning is the goal of this whole 13 week series we're embarking on today.

Week #1 of the Stress Free Holidays Challenge is all about Halloween and Christmas preparations for the week, and includes free printables and organizing tips {on Household Management 101} #StressFreeHolidays #HalloweenPlanning #ChristmasPlanning
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Are you ready to slowly get ready for the holidays, hopefully while having some fun along the way and time to enjoy yourself with family and friends?

I know I am, so let's get started!

Why Holiday Planning Is So Important

Why do we feel stressed when the holidays roll around?

One of the big reasons for me is when I feel unprepared, or I have to rush around at the last minute doing something, like wrapping presents or making something to take to the party.

A simple way of reducing holiday stress is to plan ahead, and do the tasks at a more reasonable pace ahead of time.

In addition, if you normally do certain tasks each year, but don't feel those things are serving you well, or you're trying to cram too much into your holiday season, cutting back or out some tasks can also help lower your stress level.

Both planning ahead as well as doing less are simple, huh? But it is easy to forget what needs to be done until it just about slaps you in the face, isn't it?

This series is designed to help you remember these things, so every member of the family, including you, can enjoy yourselves during the holidays.

Further, if there's a task I suggest during these challenges that you don't want to do, or you think you already have too much on your plate for that thing, feel free to skip it! After all doing only the things that you enjoy, or make the season special for you, is what's important.

Make sure you write any necessary dates on your calendars. If you want, you can use these printables calendars to help you plan over the next several weeks:

In addition, some people like to make to do lists, and I've created a blank printable to do list for each holiday as well, if you prefer these. You can get them here:

printable Halloween to do list

How Each Week Of The Challenge Works

Each week, on Saturday, I'll put up the next week's challenge and tasks for the week, which will focus on the tasks you need to accomplish that week to slowly get ready for each of these holidays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.

I've also created several resources for you on the site, such as printables you can put in your holiday planner or articles about topics of interest to the tasks for the week. After discussing what you should work on during the week I'll provide you with links to the resources available.

Right now it's time to begin reducing holiday stress by preparing for two holidays, Halloween and Christmas. Halloween comes at the end of this month, and there are only 12 weeks left until Christmas, so some preliminary preparations are helpful. (We'll begin planning for Thanksgiving later in the series.)

Halloween Preparations For This Week: Buy Or Begin Making You Kids' Halloween Costumes

halloween costumes
Photo by juhansonin

Halloween is really not that far away, and now is the time to get the kids' costumes ready (and one for yourself too, if you want).

Going out to the store now to buy the costume, or the materials necessary to make one are not going to be difficult. There are still plenty of costumes available in stores and online, and you have time to gather up accessories over the next couple of weeks.

If you wait until a few days before Halloween all of a sudden you don't have time to make the costume, or the pickings for store-bought ones are so slim your kids can get upset, because the one they wanted is gone.

Tip 1: If you are making the costume, make sure you designate enough time, consistently, over the next couple of weeks to complete it in plenty of time, in case there is need for alterations, or last minute supply buying.

Tip 2: If you buy or make the costume make sure you consider what else the kids will wear with it, such as clothing underneath if it is cool, shoes, hair and makeup, etc. If you need to get additional supplies for these parts of the costume, be on the lookout to purchase them during one of your regular shopping trips so you have everything ready by Halloween and there is no last minute scramble.

Tip 3: Have your kids decide now what they want to be on Halloween, and then make them stick to it. No changing their mind a million times, once the costume is bought or the supplies purchased.

homemade Halloween costume ideas

Resource on this site to help:

Homemade Halloween Costume Ideas And Pictures - See several ideas for family friendly homemade costumes you could whip up, including some family costumes.

Christmas Preparations For This Week: Christmas Card List And Planning Gifts

Printable Christmas card list

There are two assignments for this week for Christmas preparation, both of which are helpful in reducing holiday stress later in the season.

1. Create your Christmas card list. I know it may seem early to be thinking about Christmas at all, but what is one of the most time consuming and stressful parts of Christmas? Christmas cards.

What is supposed to be a nice way to wish all your close friends and family well and to keep them up to date with your life can turn into a dreaded event that is not fun at all.

That is why as part of the series there will be several small, baby step types of assignments over the next couple of weeks all about Christmas cards. I am breaking it down into manageable amounts to let it be fun and festive again, instead of a chore.

This week all you need to do is create your Christmas card list, with names and addresses. This may be simple for you, or it may be a massive chore.

If you don't have everyone's addresses gathered together already, this is a good time to start, but don't stress out. Remember, these assignments are all about reducing holiday stress, not causing it. Just send out a few crucial cards this year, and then save the cards you receive and update your list after Christmas for next year.

You should also count how many people are on your list, so you can know how many cards to purchase and send. If this amount looks a bit daunting for your budget or time consider shortening the list.

Resource on the site to help you:

Printable Christmas gift list

2. Consider who you want to give gifts to this year. Jot down a list of those people who are special enough in your life that you want to give them a Christmas gift.

If you think of a great gift for them, go ahead and write that down too, but don't commit to it yet. This week is about brainstorming -- later you will figure out gifts for each person that you've listed that fit your budget and your time level, especially if the gift is homemade.

Further, it can be tough thinking of ideas and so if needed ask your loved ones what they're interested in receiving.

Resource on the site to help you:

Additional Assignment For Week: Plan How Your Ideal Holidays Would Be

This week is all about reducing holiday stress through planning. Therefore, I also want you to sit down and really think about your ideal holidays, and how they would be.

This will help you identify your own priorities, which will let you know what actions are worth the effort and which ones you should stop stressing over, and not do at all.

For example, do you always run around like crazy getting ready for a big Christmas open house, but don't enjoy it at all? Instead, is your ideal holiday sitting around a fire talking to your family members?

Once you know what makes you happy and joyful it is a no brainer to cancel the open house and instead invite family members over for a quiet dinner and after-dinner game night.

Same thing for any of the assignments here in the Weekly Challenges. If you don't want to do them, or they don't sound fun, don't do them! I certainly don't want to stress you out. I've found these are things many of us want to do, but need to do slowly, over time, to keep it relaxed and fun, or that some people don't want to do at all.

Also consider your family's holiday traditions, and decide which ones you want to continue, those you want to stop, and those you want to start. This will help you in your preparations, to make sure you do the things necessary to make those traditions a reality this year.

If you want, write your thoughts down and put them in your holiday planner where you can refer to them over and over, as you work through all the Challenges and the holidays get closer and closer.

Tell Me In The Comments Below How You're Doing On This Week's Challenge! Plus Sneak Peek For Next Week

Stress Free Holidays Week 2

If you're participating in this challenge tell me how it's going for you below, so we can all celebrate our baby step successes together! After all, we should be cheering each other on in our quest for reducing holiday stress.

In addition, I thought some of you might want to know briefly what we'll be working on next week, so I'll tell you:

  • Getting out Halloween decorations
  • Planning for family Christmas photos
  • Scheduling for homemade gifts; and
  • Making travel plans for the holidays

Week #1 of the Stress Free Holidays Challenge is all about Halloween and Christmas preparations for the week, and includes free printables and organizing tips {on Household Management 101} #StressFreeHolidays #HalloweenPlanning #ChristmasPlanning
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stress free holidays at household management 101

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