Okay, so the Halloween fun is wrapping up and now it is officially the holiday season. Visions of turkeys and hot cocoa and snowmen starting to fill our heads. But looming over all of it is the constant reminder that things are different this year. We’ve all been warned about shipping delays, supply shortages and crowded stores. That can make a stressful time of year even more mentally exhausting. So, how do we embrace the joy and peacefulness of the season and leave the stress behind? By being prepared. Here are 3 small steps you can take to prepare for the holiday and preserve your mental and financial health.
1. Start Early
Strategy: If there is any year to try to break a procrastination habit, this is the one. Make your list now and start knocking off one or two presents every week.
💡 Benefits: This will help you avoid the shipping delays or learning last minute that the boots you wanted to get for grandpa are out of stock until February. It will also help spread out your spending, a benefit both mentally and financially.
⚠️ Beware: While spreading out your spending can help you stress less (by avoiding the stress of a huge hit to the bank account), it can also be harder to track your holiday spending. Be sure to follow our tips for building that holiday budget and don’t sleep on the tracking part.
2. Shop Small
Strategy: It’s more important than ever to support local small business. Many saw negative impacts from the pandemic and haven’t fully recovered. Check out local boutiques, shops, peddler’s malls and marketplaces. A lot of small business have special events around the holidays to build community with free snacks or drinks. Check out the local shops on Instagram or Facebook to find out what’s going on.
💡 Benefits: First of all, it’s fun! You’ll find unique gifts and get to know your town a little better. Second, you’ll avoid having to worry about shipping or supply shortages at all and you can feel good about supporting someone in your community. Third, peddler’s mall and flea markets can save you a lot of money and are a sustainable choice.
⚠️ Beware: This strategy may be more time–intensive than online shopping, making it even more important to start early!
3. Be Intentional
Strategy: When we are stressed, it’s harder to make smart decisions or make plans. That’s why it’s vital to be intentional about your mental and financial health this year. So what does being intentional look like? It means being clear about what you want to achieve. You can do little things every day to help you live a more intentional life. Try these three to start:
- Practice gratitude – make a list everyday of three things you are grateful for.
- Set aside time for yourself – whether it’s scheduling a massage or setting aside 30 minutes to listen to that new album you found at the peddler’s mall, do something that is just for you every day.
- Ask why before you buy – be thoughtful about every purchase, whether it’s for you or a gift for someone else. Don’t let societal pressure, stress or fatigue be your motivators.
💡 Benefits: Peace of mind, smarter decision making and a more joyful holiday season!
⚠️ Beware: Not much downside here. Just be careful not to beat yourself up when things don’t go exactly to plan. You can be intentional and set yourself up for success but not everything is in your control. There’s always an upside when you set out to prepare for the holiday.
For more tips to help you prepare for the holiday, check out: