Frantically rushing around crowded malls, dealing with fighting for parking spots at the store, long lines at the department store, standing in line for stamps at the Post Office, trying to get that “must have” item for the one you love but finding it hard to get your hands on it, traffic is a bear even with those pretty lights (LOL) – red and blue cop car, emergency vehicles or red and white from brake and headlights, desperately trying to find the one burnt out light bulb that has caused your whole light string not to work… does any of this sound familiar? I sure hope not, but if so, maybe you need to reconsider your “holiday strategy”! LOL
Last quarter – end of year holidays…
As you know during all of these holidays, with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years covering the last 5-6 weeks of the year, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly. There is more cooking, gift giving, gift exchanges, traveling to friends and relatives, guests coming to your house, extra kids in the house due to college being out for the holidays, kids out of school so home during winter break, holiday parties, sending out Christmas cards to family and thanking current or past client, buying a Christmas tree, decorating the house, stringing Christmas lights, extra time off work for the holidays but still the same amount of work, spending more money, buying gifts at crowded shopping malls that are jam packed of people and traffic and surely I missed a few others but you get the idea – plenty of extra things to consider and do which equals more stress.
How to handle it all?
So, I thought it would be helpful to write a blog for small business owners on being more organized or planning better over the Holidays. We all know, as small business owners, parents or even employees that life gets a little more hectic over the Holidays so why not share the wealth….. of information, from a very organized person, ME!
I usually make a plan to have the majority of my Christmas gift shopping done as well as my Christmas decorating done by Thanksgiving or over Thanksgiving weekend therefore alleviating much of the added stress. I know you may see this as impossible, but it isn’t and here are some tips to help!
- Shop early (before Thanksgiving) to avoid last minute stress, malls, traffic
- Buy throughout the year and designate a place to store them as well as making a list in a safe place so you know what you bought, how much, for whom and where it is stored
- Shop online when you can
- Using Amazon wish lists for myself and my kids makes it easy to remember what I want or what others want when it comes to light
- You can shop on Amazon from various vendors and many offer free shopping if you spend more than $35 – easy enough, right?
- It gets sent directly to you – no traffic, no malls, less stress
- Pinterest secret boards (or public) are a great way to store/save things you want to buy for others, or wish list items for yourself
- Buy your stamps when you are at the grocery store buying groceries, buy stamps at the USPS.com site or in their machine in the post office lobby – don’t stand in line!
- Stay… away… from… the malls unless you are okay with standing in line, parking in the far end of the mall and walking around dodging people – I’ve gone on occasion and planned nothing around it knowing I will be there for awhile, brought my headphones as to keep my joy and a list of things I need to get and where with the notion that I am NOT in a rush because frankly, it just won’t go quickly
- Store decorations all together and pull them out on a weekend, pack up all “regular” decorations and get the family to help displaying the holiday decorations – once and done!
- Buy decorations after the holiday is over and store them with your current decorations, to include extra Christmas cards
- Enlist family members where possible. My kids are teen girls and they do help with decorating, do all of the gift wrapping, cooking, cleaning and addressing envelopes for Christmas cards, at least. Remember, the kids are home from school sitting on their duffs, they can help – ANY AGE!
- Shop at early hours when possible, less folks are inclined to be up early on the weekends – i.e. grocery shopping or Wal-Mart – that place is a mad house over the holiday weekends, if not every day on non-holidays!
- Being early is on time, being on time is late so give yourself EXTRA time to be early so you don’t stress when there is more traffic, parking lot wars and the red stop lights not going your way – this will help you be less in a rush, less inclined to speed and less likely to see blue and red lights behind you!
- Plan your meals so you aren’t rushing to the grocery store with all the traffic and other folks just to get that ONE item you forget. Plus, you know you don’t end up buying just that one item anyways!
- Create a Christmas fund – knowing how much you spend each year on everything (food, gifts, extra decorations, travel, etc, yes everything) and then divide by 9 or 10 – depending on when you start shopping allows you to set aside a certain amount to help alleviate the huge blow of all of that extra expense
- Have an extra gift or two on hand because you know that there will be the occasional need to get that gift for a gift exchange party for yourself that you didn’t know about, for a new group or for a kids’ party, but when you aren’t already highly stressed out from being at the mall, in traffic and the like, one quick trip to Wal-Mart or the drug store for a cute gift won’t kill you.
I hope that these ideas, or at least one of them, have helped give you some ideas for decreasing your holiday stress. Maybe I should have wrote this earlier so you could actually benefit from all of them, but now you know what you can start doing now to prepare for next year.
If you have other ideas, please do share them as we can all benefit because with all of these added stressors, we STILL have our “regular” work to do within the same amount of time. Remember what the season means to you and try to enjoy it!
Should you have any questions about any of my services for your business such as Search Engine Optimization (organizing your website for the search engines), Paid Advertising on Google, social media marketing or are interested in learning how to do it all yourself with a DIY class or 1on1 consultation, please contact me and I would be happy to help.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – Make it a Prosperous New Year!