How to Survive the Holidays: 10 Merry Tips for a Stress-Free Season

How to Survive the Holidays: 10 Merry Tips for a Stress-Free Season

It's that time of the year again – time to deck the halls, wrap presents, and maybe sneak a few extra cookies from the cookie jar. The holiday season is a time for joy, cheer, and togetherness, but it can also be a whirlwind of chaos and stress. From finding the perfect gifts and staying within budget to navigating hectic schedules and family dynamics, the festive season can leave us feeling more frazzled than fulfilled.

But fear not, because with a little bit of preparation and planning, surviving the holidays can be a piece of (fruit) cake. Here are 10 holiday survival tips to banish the bah humbugs and help keep the season merry and bright.

Shop Early, Save Merrily

The key to surviving the holiday shopping frenzy is to start early. Don't be a last-minute Blitzen or a procrastinating Prancer. Beat the crowds and long lines by getting your gift list sorted ahead of time. Not only will this give you time to check your list twice, but you can shop the best discounts and deals as most stores drop their prices ahead of Christmas – especially for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Hopping on your shopping early helps you get the best bargains.

Set a Holiday Budget

The holidays can quickly become a time of spending and excess, so it's smart to set a holiday budget and let it guide you through the sea of shiny temptations. If you know exactly how much you have to spend (or not), it's easier to stick to it and resist the urge to go overboard.

The fact is, accumulating holiday debt can leave you less equipped to handle an unexpected emergency. According to a 2023 National Survey conducted by Wallet Hub, nearly 1 in 4 Americans still has lingering holiday debt from last year.

Give Handmade Gifts Instead of Store-Bought Presents

When it comes to gifts, no one wants to feel like Scrooge, but it's the thought that counts, not the price tag. You don't need Santa's magic sack or a stack of $20s, especially if money's tight. Craft DIY projects that add a personal touch – a homemade candle, a handmade bird house, a cozy knitted scarf. Not only will these gifts be more heartfelt than store-bought presents, but they'll also save you a sleigh-load of cash.

Share Time and Traditions with Little Ones

It's especially hard to tighten the purse strings when it comes to kids and grandkids. There's no denying the sparkle in their eyes when see the gifts under the tree and tear into their Christmas presents. That said, it's presence that matters most. They'll remember baking Christmas cookies with Mommom or building a gingerbread house with Poppop long after the last snowflake melts and the latest toy craze has faded.

Food Prep Early – Fry the Turkeys, Not Your Nerves

Don't let kitchen chaos dampen your spirits. Get your groceries early and plan your menus in advance. Prepping early means more time for merry-making and less time rushing around and scrambling for ingredients or recipes.

Keep it simple and stick with Christmas classics you're comfortable making. The holidays aren't the best time to try that 17-step Martha Stewart recipe you've never made before. The goal is to make memories, not a masterpiece.

Help is the Secret Ingredient to a Stress-Free Holiday Hosting Experience

If you're hosting for the holidays, consider a potluck style party so you don't have to cook a turkey and all the fixings or craft all 7 dishes from the 'Feast of the Seven Fishes' alone. Let guests contribute – most people are happy to help and don't like to arrive empty handed anyway, so it's win-win.

Keep the Peace During Merry Meetups

Navigating family dynamics during the holidays can be stressful. Maybe your visiting in-laws are making you feel Klaus-trophobic or you're on the opposite end of the political spectrum from your cousin Charlie. Be prepared to keep the peace and set boundaries to keep your sanity (and family) intact, i.e., have common ground topics in your back pocket to steer the conversation away from hot button issues if they come up, and don't corner Charlie about his opinions after a stiff eggnog or two. In the long run, you'll be happier if you get the last hug in vs. the last word.

Don't Let Healthy Strides and Habits Go Off the Rails

'Tis the season of indulgence, but that doesn't mean all healthy habits should fly out the window until you claw your way out of a cookie coma come January 1st. Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but balance them out with healthier choices. Plan your plate and fill at least half of it with vegetables and good-for-you foods before heaping on the feel-good foods.

Find simple ways to stay physically active through the holiday hustle and bustle – take some extra laps around the mall after Christmas shopping, go on a frosty walk with your family after a meal, or play outside in the snow with the grandkids.

Volunteer – The Season of Giving Doesn't Just Mean Presents

The holidays are a great time to give back and spread some joy to those in need. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food bank, participate in a gift drive for underprivileged children, or simply try to spread kindness wherever you go. It's easy to get caught up in the materialistic side of the holidays, but taking the time to help others can bring even more meaning and fulfillment to the season – not only for those you help but for yourself. Plus, it's a great way to involve the whole family and teach children the importance of giving back.

Stay One Step Ahead of Jack Frost and Take Safety Precautions When Traveling

While many of us dream of a White Christmas, in reality, it can become a logistical nightmare or downright dangerous when traveling. If you're hitting the road or catching a flight to visit family and friends, careful planning and safety precautions will help make your journey smooth. Pack early to avoid last-minute stress and to avoid forgetting anything. Ensure you have your car kit stocked with winter essentials. Check travel advisories, prepare for unpredictable weather, and keep yourself and your loved ones safe by staying vigilant while on the road or at busy airports.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We hope you have a Holly-Jolly, Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! Sticking with these 10 tips can help lessen the stress this season and see you safely through the holidays so you can avoid feeling like the Grinch and enjoy the true spirit of Christmas.
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Great advice! Survival Frog 🐸 always comes through with the best.

Suzanne Feist

Well done. That covers pretty much all the important points and while some might be seen as common sense, it’s good to be reminded or reassured. Good advice for everyone. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.


Good reminders and new ideas for me! Who’d a thought a candle could help with warmth! I appreciate this! Thank you

Joy C

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