Strategy obsession: Why your holidays can't survive without structure

11/25/14 by Vanessa Evans

When you think about the holidays, stress typically goes hand in hand with this time of the year.
But did you ever stop to wonder why that is?
You can argue that the shopping, planning and perhaps travel often is too much to handle, thus leading to being overwhelmed with too much on your holiday plate. No one can argue that there is, quite frankly, more to do during the holidays.

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Out of town family stays that way except for this time of year. And during no other time do you make it a point to buy a barrage of gifts for everyone you know.
But what you have to take a closer look at is the planning stage of the holidays, more specifically if you're setting the bar too high or not taking the time to really think through all you have to do and instead work on a whim and prayer in the hopes that it all gets done in an organized fashion.
Part of the stress that is the holiday season centers on money, particularly the aspect of spending a large chunk of it. Ridding yourself of the stress that is money related during the holidays can be done with the inception of a budget.
And before you comment that a budget really isn't "fun," you should consider that the idea of writing down what you're buying, who you're buying for and, most importantly, how much money you have to spend will allow you to not only have a plan in place but that you won't be spending the better part of your New Year's Resolution trying to save money or get out of debt.
A lot of what ails you isn't so much the gift itself but you worrying that what you get a particular person on your list just isn't going to cut it. That lies squarely on your shoulders, so worrying and agonizing about every gift you buy is going to extend that optimistic one day holiday shopping trip into painstaking days and weeks wondering if you bought the right gift or are giving someone on your list enough.
Part of overspending is setting expectations within the holiday planning that no one, yourself included, can possibly attain. You can't look at the holidays as just another day but putting the time period on a pedestal is only going to add not only stress to you but also keep you from enjoying yourself, your hard work and the subsequent festivities. Having a modest holiday won't matter much to the guests; instead they'll enjoy the time together and each other, and that is exactly the mindset you should adopt.
Worry about the basics, and leave the fine points to work themselves out on their own.
Stress and guilt go hand in hand, so some good advice during the holidays is to hold off on too much food and drink indulgence and instead practice a penchant for moderation. Eating and drinking too much often can lead to feelings of regret and lethargy as it relates to saying so long to your year long diet and essentially eating what you want for the next month.
Having a sweet and sugary snack is advisable, but if you're someone who is going to agonize the next day that you ate or drank too much, your holiday spirit is going to suffer immensely.
You always have to keep in mind that the holidays can be simplified to a sum that is much less than what we're doing at the moment. Sometimes the simplest and easiest holidays are the most enjoyable. Sure, they might not have all the trimmings of a lavish holiday, but they'll be long on something much more valuable: having fun.

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