10 tips to de-stress December

10 tips to de-stress December

Want to plan ahead for stress-free holidays? Enter November. Instead of running around trying to do everything in December for the holidays, use this month to plan and prep things in advance to help you relax next month.

Here are 10 things to get done in November to ease your holiday workload and stress.

1. Use calendars and checklists to help with planning and preparation. For a holiday party, set a date and decide on the number of guests. From there, work backwards to determine what needs to be prepped.

2. Get the entire family involved. You don't have to do everything yourself. Give one family member the task of sending out party invitations a month ahead of time. Someone else could pitch in with sending out holiday cards. Involving everyone can help them feel like they've contributed.

3. Plan the menu. Make a shopping list and shop early for non-perishable items. Make menu items that you can prepare ahead of time and freeze. Stay tuned for our upcoming De-stress for December make-ahead recipes for ideas.

4. Set a budget for gifts and other holiday items. What can you afford? List your costs: gifts, holiday entertaining, decorations, wrapping paper and so on. Try to pay with cash or a debit card to prevent credit card overload. Avoid financial stress by sticking to your budget.

5. Shop for gifts early. This allows you to check out early sales and offers more time to spend wisely -- giving you a fighting chance to stick to your budget.

6. Wrap gifts as you go. You can set up a gift wrapping hub in a corner. If you don't like wrapping gifts, ask a family member or friend for help -- or have it gift wrapped at the mall for a small fee. You can also buy ready-to-go gift boxes at a dollar store. No wrapping required!

7. Ready the fridge and freezer. Clean out unused and expired food. Keep a list near the fridge of items that need to be used soon and plan your meals using those ingredients.

Clearing out your fridge and freezer makes room for your holiday dishes.

8. Take a nature break. Spend time with the people you love and book time in December to have fun with friends and family. Inject nature breaks away from holiday planning and stress. Plan a skating break with the family or go for walks.

9. Research a charity. Is a charitable donation on your holiday to-do list? Do the research now to make sure that your contribution goes to where it does the most good. You can also buy holiday gifts for your friends and family that have proceeds going to a charity. If money's tight, you can consider volunteering at a food bank or at a retirement home during the holidays.

10. Keep it real. Unrealistic expectations - trying to do everything yourself and expecting perfection - are overwhelming and stressful. Accept that you won't have time to attend all invitations. Choose what's important to you and your family. Look at priorities, pick what you love, enjoy and skip the rest.

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