9 Things to Avoid This Holiday Season

(Don't let stress turn you into a Grinch)
Written by Greg Lewerer
Written by Greg Lewerer

Insurance doesn’t have to be boring. That’s why we hired Greg Lewerer to be our main insurance writer. Greg specializes in making mundane subjects entertaining. While still giving the needed information.

9 things to avoid this holiday season

It’s possible we know exactly what you’re thinking. How are the holidays already here? Wasn’t it just summer? Were social feeds not filled with Halloween party pics last week? How could this be?! And what is this feeling I am currently feeling?

It’s called holichronocantbe and it’s a made-up word that means the emotion one feels when they’re not sure they’re ready for the holidays. Is there a cure for this fictitious thingy? Thankfully, yes. And treating it is as simple as avoiding a number of common issues during this happy yet hectic season.

Now, before we continue, just know that everything is going to be okay. Your proactive efforts will be rewarded with a holiday spirit only a true hero can have. We salute you and wish you a stress-free season. Okay, let’s begin.

1. Cleaning

Besides buying awesome gifts, one of the biggest holiday lifts is getting your home ready for entertaining. It’s time-consuming, and can be dirty and exhausting. And unfortunately, it’s important, unless you’re okay facing certain judgment and private or social shaming. The solution: Treat yourself to an early present and hire a cleaning service.

If you have the funds or can justify it as an early present to yourself/family, hiring someone to do your dirty work can be the best holiday shortcut you can take. But if you decide to take on the cleaning yourself, check out our helpful 5-Day holiday cleaning guide.

2. Meal Prep

Just like cleaning, preparing a holiday feast can be quite the task. Sure, it’s worlds better than doing a whole-home cleansing, but it’s still stressful and a huge time suck. But how do you feed your guests without putting in the effort? Well, there are several solutions.

  • Meal kits: Companies like Blue Apron and HelloFresh send boxes with meal options that have pre-portioned ingredients and a step-by-step cooking guide.
  • Uber Eats: This is an even easier option. Simply place your order online, kick back and wait for your ready-to-eat hot food to show up at your front door.
  • Potluck party: Sharing the work only seems fair. Assign guests a dish or beverage to bring. Maybe you provide the main course or just a clean venue.

3. Holiday Card Costs

We live in a digital age, so why not take advantage of it? This year DIY your greeting cards and cut the cost of a professional photo shoot, seasonally-themed 5-by-7s, envelopes and stamps. Use your (hopefully smart) phone, set the timer and take a handful of family photos.

Next, pick your favorite and use your phone's editing features to add a holiday border and add text/emojis. If your phone isn’t that advanced, there are apps you can download to create the holiday design you’re looking for. When you're all done, send out your season's greetings via text, email or post to the social channel(s) of your choosing.

4. Overspending on Gifts

There are a number of ways to save while shopping for mic-dropping gifts. Like downloading apps for specific retailers, which tend to have their top deals only one click away. Also, shopping between December 10th and 18th, which have proven to be the cheapest shopping days of the season.

If you’re a faithful Amazon shopper, there are several hacks you can use to save even MORE money. Take Honey, for example. It automatically searches for coupon codes for your in-cart items and it's free. You can also use camelcamelcamel to track price changes on wish-list items.

5. Paying for Shipping

Make sure to mark December 14th on your calendars. It’s “Free Shipping Day,” which a number of retail giants participate in. And the cherry on top... most deliveries are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve. 

“Free Shipping Day” participants include Kohl's, Best Buy, Amazon, LEGO, Target, JCPenney and more. To get the full list, check it out here.

And if you're worried about getting everything wrapped in time, click the "gift wrap" option before you order. Otherwise, prep yourself for a wrap-a-thon the day before Christmas.

6. Last-Minute Shopping

Not only does last-minute shopping add unwanted stress, it will also cost you extra. Studies of sale trends have found that prices don't drop, and may go up on or after December 19th. Retailers know they can count on TONS of eleventh-hour shoppers who will have no choice but to pay more. 

Also, shipping costs can skyrocket. Experts advise getting all your online shopping done by mid-December. Otherwise you run the risk of having to pay for expedited shipping, which can seriously add to the price of your gifts. 

7. Buying an Ugly Sweater

Ugly sweater parties are still alive and well, but buying one has always been a cost that some can’t justify. So, how do you sweater up without spending a cool $45 on a heap of ugliness? Make your own.

How to make an ugly sweater:

  • Step 1: Grab an old sweater or pick up a five-buck one at your local thrift shop. 
  • Step 2: Bust out some wrapping paper and a couple of decorations. 
  • Step 3: Visualize the ugly
  • Step 4: Sew or glue-gun on a few bows, tinsel, paper snowflakes and an ornament or two.

And boom! You got yourself an ugly sweater.

8. Social Distraction

It’s hard not to be glued to your favorite social platforms to see what your friends, fans and followers are up to this holiday season. But in an effort to appreciate the real things in life, like the time you'll be sharing with your closest clique, log out or power off.

At least for a little while. You don't have to be dramatic about it and make a big announcement or deactivate your account. Just don't sign in for a few days. Maybe even a week or even two. You might be amazed just how relaxing it can be. Plus, it'll help you live in the moment AND be polite to those around you.

9. Too Much Family Time

Yes, the previous section talks about valuing face-to-face time with loved ones, but too much can be counterproductive. Family gatherings can be overwhelming. Old issues like who really broke the window decades ago can resurface, or someone can make a harmless comment about something that it's too soon to joke about.

That's why it's important to take some me time, no matter how much you love these people. And make sure to do it before feelings boil over. If you sense a yelling match coming on, take a walk, go for a drive or pretend you have a headache and take a nap. 

And Now It’s a Party

There you have it. Well, enough of “it” to cure your seasonal holichronocantbe. And just remember, no matter what happens, your New Year’s resolutions are right around the corner. 

Good luck. Have fun. And be merry!

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