• By: Keith Whittier

How to Manage Time and Reduce Holiday Stress

You hear a lot about peace and joy at this time of year, but seasonal pressures can make it difficult. Parties and get-togethers are usually fun, but many require baking, wine-buying, or a special outfit. Then there are the presents to buy for everyone – all while navigating crazy traffic and crowded shopping malls.

Here are six ways to restore some peace and joy:

1. Be strategic. Set aside one day to buy presents, do your research online and make a list before leaving the house. Include a backup option for each person.
2. Be smart. Assess your holiday wardrobe well in advance. Buy a case of reasonably priced wine to have on hand for parties and entertaining, so you’re not shopping each time.
3. Be efficient. To reduce the frequency of baking, hold a cookie exchange. Bake several dozen of your favourites to swap, and come away with a variety that you can stash in the freezer until needed.
4. Be balanced. As your calendar fills up with obligations, book off time to release the pressure. It might be skating with kids, or a few hours to read a book by the fire. Get it on there, and stick to it.
5. Be caring. Christmas is about more than crossing off names and obligations. Find time to volunteer with a charity, or help change the life of a child overseas. This can be done online with a web site called World Vision Gifts.
6. Be grateful. Try to see ‘a glass full’ wherever you look. Stop to think that you are shopping and attending parties because you’re lucky to have those people in your life, as well as a season to celebrate it.