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handmade holiday: managing the stress of the holiday

Only two more weeks until Christmas. Crap!

Are you overwhelmed yet? I know that I personally always find this time of year to be a bit challenging- figuring out gifts for everyone, addressing Christmas cards, decorating the house, participating in holiday activities around town, and attending at least 5 family get togethers!

So here are a few tips I use to keep it all together around this time of year, maybe you will find this helpful to lessen the stress during the holiday season.

1. Lists, lists, lists- lists of the people you need to buy gifts for, lists of people to send Christmas cards to, lists of what you need to get done around the house. I could not get through this time of year without my lists. I try to make my lists as detailed as possible, and often use tables to keep it all straight- for example if I am listing people I need to buy gifts for, I will list their name, their gift, where to find the gift or what supplies I need to make it, when they will receive the gift (when the get together is) and a space to check it off once it has been made or bought.

2. Postcards- go with customized postcards that decrease your time of writing and addressing. Your return address will already be placed on the card and you can customize with family photos and greetings. There is always extra room too to write an extra little personal note. Once you get the cards, all you have to do is address to family and friends. No envelopes to trip you up either (does anyone else put the wrong card in the wrong envelope, happens just about every time for me!). We have used Minted the last few years for our customized postcards and they have turned out great!

3. Wrapping party- I always get so excited about wrapping gifts as soon as I make or buy them, but always end up getting everything out and messy for just a few gifts. This year I am waiting until closer to Christmas to wrap my gifts and doing everything at once at a craft wrapping party (more to come on an event if you live in Columbus!). Wrapping gifts all together with friends will be more time efficient and exciting. Not to mentioned that spending time with friends is relaxing and fun in itself!

4. Have a day of handmade- pick a weekend day and bust out all of your handmade gifts at once. This Saturday we will be making big batches of flavored sea salts and sea salts with paint dipped spoons that we plan to give away to friends and family for Christmas. This makes DIYing way more efficient and keeps me more on track. You can get messy and get things done instead of worrying about having to come home to a mess the next day if you are trying to fit in projects in between work and other engagements.

5. Don't bite off more than you can chew- plan ahead your handmade projects and be realistic about what you can actually get done in the time you have. Don't stress about every little detail, the holiday is more about getting together with family and friends rather than your perfectly trimmed tree or your clever handmade gifts. I used the holidays as an excuse for more DIYing, but try my best to be practical about what I really can make vs. what I have to break down and buy. If you do decide to buy, but want to keep a handmade feel, keep in mind that sites like Etsy and big cartel, local stores and boutiques, and holiday craft shows are great options for finding great handmade gifts.

How do you stay balanced around the holidays?