Set the proper expectations Not just with your family, but within yourself. We all have a romanticized notion of the holidays – Thank you Mr. Norman Rockwell – but most of our families are anything but Rockwellian. I suspect even Mr. Rockwell’s family wasn’t as perfect as he depicted on his Saturday Evening Post covers. Keep that in mind as you gather together this year. Love them and enjoy your time together for exactly what it is – your family. Warts and all.
Make lists With so much going on during the holidays, and so many details, it’s easy to forget things. It’s also easy to stress yourself right out of your mind trying to remember everything. Make a list. Make lots of lists. Keep a piece of paper in your pocket or your purse. When you remember something, no matter how small or mundane, write it down. Just be careful not to number your tasks. That can make your list seem overwhelming. When you’ve finished a task take joy in crossing it off.
Holiday Cards Keep a box of cards, a pen, and stamps by where you keep your mail. As holiday cards come in you can address a greeting in return by using the return address. Clip out the return address labels and store them in an envelope for later updating your address book, or even addressing cards next year.
Shop Early or Often At our house we make a list of all the friends and family to whom we give gifts. Then we sit down with the newspaper sales circulars and put a gift with the name of the store where it can be found by each person’s name. Once each name has a gift we map out the stores and spend exactly one day shopping. We get this shopping day out of the way by Thanksgiving. That’s a perfect year. In the non-perfect years we make the same list of names, gifts, and stores, but we tack single store visits on to already planned outings. For example, on a trip to the grocery story, stop by the hobby store for cousin Mike’s gift while you’re out. A bunch of little trips is much easier to handle than several days of marathon shopping without a plan.
Wrap As You Shop Take advantage of stores offering free gift wrapping services. Or the girl scout troop that has a table set up in the corner of the mall that will wrap your gifts for a donation. When you return home you’ll have wrapped packages and a little more time for you.
Get a Hair Cut or a Manicure Think of how good you will feel! And we all know there is less stress when we are feeling good about ourselves. Not to mention the fact there is an hour, while you’re at the salon, where you are completely cut off from the phone and other distractions.
Let Others Help Nowhere in the "Holiday Handbook" (if you find a copy, can you send me one?) does it say that we have to do every task ourselves. When guests offer to bring something to a gathering, take them up on it! Every dish prepared by someone else is one less dish, and a little less stress, that needs your attention.
Paper! Plastic! Recycle! With all of the new, attractive plastic plates and utensils on the market it seems silly to drag out the china and silver for every large family gathering. Why not, at least a few times over the holiday season, put all the food on the table with a stack of plastic plates and utensils and do a more casual buffet? Just don’t forget to recycle when you’re through!
Get Your Batteries & Film Here It’s those little things that create extra stress over the holidays, so keep a supply of extra batteries and film on hand. Better yet, go with a digital camera and two sets of rechargeable batteries. Keep one set in the camera and another in the charger base – you’ll always have fresh batteries. With a digital camera you download the pictures directly to your computer, so there is no need for film.
Let Someone Else Pick Out Your Groceries Most supermarkets have stepped solidly into the information age and accept orders over the internet and will deliver your groceries right to your kitchen counter. Many will actually keep a list of your past purchases so you can just check the box next to the item and add it to your current order. Schedule an order, up to three weeks in advance in most cases, and you can add or subtract items on your order up to the morning of delivery. Now you can plan out your menus and add items as you think of them.
Two Pages a Night Find a book you can really sink your teeth into and commit to two pages right before you turn off the light each night. Two pages will help you to relax, give you a bit of fodder for your evening dreams, and will help you feel productive. All without being a huge looming goal each day.
Headset Telephone Get one. You won’t believe how much work you can get done while chatting on the phone when you have two free hands.
Utilize your freezer When you do any baking, make a double batch and freeze the extras. When the big holiday dinner rolls around, or unexpected company arrives, you’ll already have dessert ready. The freezer will freeze baked goods from the market too – just rewrap them in plastic wrap and put them in a freezer bag when you get home.
Get a Good Night’s Rest Easier said than done, but a good night’s rest works magic when trying to stave off stress. Don’t forget to take your vitamins too – stress can wreak havoc with your immune system and there is nothing more stressful than trying to fight a cold with a house full of holiday guests.
Open House Why not have an open house instead of a set time for a large gathering? An open house will allow you to spread the guests, and the work, over a larger chunk of time. Holding an open house instead of meal allows you to serve hors d’everes and snacks, which means less work and more time enjoying the day.
Create Menus Spend some time before the holidays hit with your cookbooks and put together all the menus of the meals you’ll be hosting this year. Plan your shopping lists and get prepared early. Planning ahead also allows you to watch for sales on ingredients.
Keep Extras On Hand Keep a few small gifts wrapped and tucked in a drawer or under the tree. When you receive an unexpected gift, you’ll have something to give in return.
Delgate! Delegate! An older child will delight in wrapping gifts for others – just think of it like a secret which only they know! You don’t have to do everything yourself.
Pamper Yourself Once a week, lock the bathroom door, turn down the lights, draw a hot bath, and spend some time letting the accumulated stress soak away.
Let It Go All the advice in the world isn’t going to help you completely avoid stress this holiday season. Things are going to go wrong. Take it in stride and remember there is always next year.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:45 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:45:20 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:10:53 GMT
A fatal accident in Lyndon Saturday. It happened around 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Route 122. Police say 76-year-old Gerda Blaszczyk of St. Johnsbury swerved to avoid an animal. Her car travelled up anMore >>
Police say the driver swerved to avoid an animal.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
It's graduation day for the class of 20-13 at Castleton State College. And just for the occasion, the college invited back an alumnus with a strong connection to the school.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
Making sure our furry friends have a place to call home.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>