Guide to Stress-Less Holidays on the Outer Banks
The holiday season is one of the best times of the year, but with parties to plan, family to entertain, and decorations to hang, it can also be one of the most stressful. Do yourself a favor and get a helping hand with some seasonal tasks, trim down your own to-do list with simpler options, or even just schedule some downtime to decompress. Less stress means you will be more likely to relax and enjoy the holiday festivities!
Enlist the Help of Friends, Family, or Local Professionals
Don’t let the requirements of the holidays steal all your free time this season. There is plenty of help out there, and sometimes all you have to do is ask for it. From professional coordinators to the neighborhood kids down the street, employing the help of others when it comes to your holiday tasks might make the difference between a stressful season and a joyful one.
A great way to pare down your to-do list is to hire a local bakery to prepare your holiday baked goods. Whether it’s oodles of cookies for a party or a prized dessert for your family holiday meal, there are many Outer Banks bakeries that specialize in delicious treats, and most of them even deliver right to your door. So instead of spending all of your time in the kitchen this holiday season, hang up your apron and let the goodies come to you!
You can also hire a caterer for your holiday meal, especially if you’re preparing for a large group, and need a bit of a break. Several excellent restaurants, catering companies, and private chefs would be happy to help you feed your family a delicious meal with less work on your part.
This area is chock-full of wedding and party planning professionals, so enlisting help decorating, planning, and executing the perfect, most effortless holiday party you’ve ever thrown is easy on the Outer Banks. Hire a professional to design personalized
Christmas cards or invitations, decorate for your holiday parties, construct centerpieces and flower arrangements, or even hang lights and decorate your tree.
If you don’t want to hire a professional to do the work, but need more help, plan a decorating party and have your immediate relatives and their little ones over to give your decorations that personal touch. Another bonus to this approach is that you’ll also get to spend some quality time together!
With so much going on and more people visiting your home than usual, many people stress about cleaning around the holidays. They either want their home to be spotless before dragging all the decorations out of the attic or they at least want it to look clean and festive before having guests over for holiday gatherings. Either way, save yourself some of the unnecessary stress involved in tidying up your home during a busy season by hiring professional cleaning services to do a deep clean at the beginning of the holidays, and consider using their services for weekly touchups to keep things looking nice no matter when your guests arrive.
Trim Your To-Do List
Far too often we feel as though it’s necessary to outdo others (or even our past holiday selves) when it comes to decorating the house, throwing holiday parties, and gift giving. If you’re looking to tone it down and make things easier, there are ways you can eliminate some of the demands you put on yourself this holiday season.
Opt for a pre-lit artificial tree to make assembly and set up a breeze not only this season and for many to come. If you’re dead set on having a real tree in your home for the Christmas holiday, there are local businesses you can call to reserve a tree and have it delivered right to your door. They will also pick it up for you at the end of the season to save you the stress of having to dispose of your tree!
If you’re willing to change things up a bit and are not too set on traditional ways, consider other alternatives that will make your life a little easier. If you are a family that loves to cook a meal at home, but are usually overwhelmed by the amount of dishes and the aftermath of a large holiday family dinner, consider using paper plates or having a seafood feast with paper tablecloths that you can simply roll up and throw away for easy cleanup.
You might even consider sending a mass Christmas e-card this year instead of stuffing and filling out 50 separate cards and envelopes. It’s amazing how trimming even small details from your holiday to-do list will help to reduce your stress and increase your ability to enjoy the season’s festivities!
No matter whether you choose to enlist the assistance of others this season, simplify things for yourself, or if you ultimately decide to change nothing at all about your annual routine, one thing you can always do to reduce stress around the holidays is to set aside some time for yourself. Pampering your mind, body, and spirit – even if only for a couple of hours – can help you feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next holiday hurdles you have to clear.
One great way to accomplish this is through yoga. There are many wonderful yoga studios on the Outer Banks that specialize in classes and one-on-one sessions for people of all ages and skill sets. And if you don’t want to go out into the cold, or you’ve got Christmas cookies in the oven that you don’t want to burn, there are a number of yoga instructors who will even come to you in your own home.
You can also attempt to stay sane this holiday season by scheduling a spa day alone or with some friends at one of the many Outer Banks day spas where you can unwind after long hours of holiday shopping, decorating, cleaning, or party prepping.
Lift Others Up
On a final note, if you’re looking for something meaningful to do that can alleviate some of the holiday stress and break up your routine a bit, consider volunteering at a hospital, animal shelter, nursing home, or other community organization. Taking time to spread the holiday spirit and reflect on how blessed you truly are will undoubtedly put other stressors into perspective, and enable you to clearly see the things that matter most this season!♦
Abby Stewart is a writer from Currituck whose favorite holiday tradition is reading over a family tablecloth that has been laid out and signed by family and friends at each holiday meal for the past 25 years.