Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas—the holiday season is upon us and the frenzied feelings are real. But with a bit of extra preparedness, you’ll not only survive, you’ll thrive. It also helps to have a visual: There’s you, sipping wine at Brenda’s holiday party with nary a stressful to-do on your mind. Your secret? Advance planning and rock-solid organization. Just follow our advice.
5 Ways to Survive the Holidays in 2023
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1. Shop Black Friday and Cyber Monday for More Than Gifts
The time to pre-load your cart is now—but not for holiday gifts. No, we’re talking about the holiday accouterments that you typically buy last-minute in a hurry and at a high price. Things like wrapping paper and holiday-themed napkins and cases of wine. In other words, stock your gift wrap station ahead of schedule, so that when it comes time to wrap, you already have all the essential supplies on hand. (We also recommend snagging things like Christmas lights, batteries, and heck, even cookie tins.)
2. Assign a Point Value to Better Divvy Up Thanksgiving-Related Tasks
No one wants to be the single family member left prepping the turkey or tackling a mountain of dishes once the last relative has left. That’s why we love this genius approach (found on TikTok, of course) that relies on a points system to ensure that every family member seated ‘round the Thanksgiving table contributes their fair share. Using Google Sheets, you assign various tasks—think putting out the snack tray or peeling the spuds for mashed potatoes—a points value, ranging from 1 to 3 in difficulty. Every family member gets to choose their tasks, but with the caveat that the workload has to total the same number. In other words, this is your surefire way to know you won't be stuck with the turkey and the pie and the dishes-washing, while all Dad has to do is uncork the wine.
3. Take Your Holiday Card Photos…Now
“It’s not even Thanksgiving,” you think. “There’s still plenty of time…” NOT TRUE. Get your holiday photos taken by early November, in order to avoid the rush bookings and have plenty of time to get the actual cards made. And you definitely don’t need to book a pricey shoot with a photographer—a service like Shoott will connect you with top local photographers with availability in over 35 states. Simply select your city on the website, book a mini-shoot and three to five days later, you’ll have a gallery with 40+ images to choose from. And here’s the best part: You only pay for the photos you like.
4. Buy Gifts in Bulk
‘Tis the season for prioritizing thoughtfulness, but when you’re time-pressed, that’s often the first thing to go out the door. That’s why we love this tip from a friend who always stocks up on thoughtful gifts in bulk. It could be a sweet and funny book for kids or your favorite-smelling candle. This isn’t about extravagance, it’s about having those “I thought of you” gifts on standby so that when a last-minute hostess gift is required or a friend drops by to spread holiday cheer, you’re not caught empty-handed.
5. Make a List of the Non-Negotiables That Matter to You
Nobody can get to everything on their holiday to-do-list. (Yes, even you, Super Woman). To help from feeling like you didn’t get to do the things that matter most to you, sit down now and make a list of your priorities, whether it’s listening to Christmas music or hosting your annual latke party. That way, you’ll know which ones to schedule now and which ones it’s ok to let go of. (Let’s be honest, you never cared that much about cutting down the damn tree anyway.)