My Top Tips for Staying In Control This Holiday Season

Hey luvs! December is often a very crazy and sometimes stressful time for many – including myself! I know I tend to take on way too much in December, especially in mid-December. That’s usually the time where I’m trying to tie up loose ends with work projects and rush to get all of my holiday shopping done. Honestly, a couple years ago I had a little bit of a breakdown right before the Holidays because I left everything to the last minute. I remember breaking down in tears to Kevin because I felt so overwhelmed. He let me sob while wrapped up in his arms and after I had good cry, he looked me in the eyes and said “Babe, we love each other and get to be together on Christmas. None of that other stuff matters.” He was so right. I vowed right then and there that I would never let myself get to that point again during the Holidays. So I started doing a few easy things that made a world of difference for me and relieved so much of my stress around the holidays and in life in general.  So here are my top tips for staying “cool” this Holiday season.

Plan Ahead

How many of you have had to rush to the store on Christmas Eve to buy last minute gifts? I hate admitting this, but I’ve totally been that person. Multiple times in the past actually. And every time I do it, I feel so stressed out and tell myself that I won’t let it happen next year. And then, inevitably it happens again the next year. However, I’m happy to say that I’m on track for that to not happen this year! Ha. And planning ahead doesn’t just mean getting all your gifts early. I also like to do things like bake cookies or wrap presents ahead of time so I’m not doing it right before a holiday party or on Christmas Eve. Which brings me to my next tip…

Use Your Smartphone

If you’re reading this blog then you obviously know that I do a lot of my shopping on the go from my smartphone! And there’s a reason for it! Honestly, I probably do 95% of my shopping online. However, I will say I do like to shop small for some things because I think that’s important. But for the most part, I do everything online. Luckily Kevin and I have a shared family plan with Total Wireless that’s only $25 a month per line (with no contracts and no hidden fees) so I’m easily able to do all my online shopping on my phone, wherever I am,and can use the extra money I saved on my phone bill on more gifts for the people I love! You guys know how much I love this because I am OBSESSED with a good deal! It’s no joke, the best deal in wireless. Plus, we can add data anytime (just $10 for 5GB of 4G LTE carryover data!), so I can use all the saved data from previous months to do even MORE of my online shopping in December;) Total Wireless and my smartphone make my life so much easier and really helps me tackle the chaos that comes with this time of year.

Stay Organized

It’s easy to say you’re going to get everything done ahead of time, but it’s easier said than done. I find that if I don’t write things down and make checklists, then I don’t get things done. I’ll find myself having a panic moment last minute remembering something that I forgot to do. So my number one tip for staying organized is to create a checklist. And don’t do it with a pen and paper. It’s way too easy to lose that. My smartphone has become my best friend because I’m able to use it to create lists of the stuff I have to get done, and I have it on me all the time to check things off as I get them done. How satisfying is it to check things off the list? Sometimes I like to create lists just so I can check things off. Ha! I’ve also noticed that having a shared calendar with my husband is really helpful – enter Total Wireless’ shared family plan! This way when he gets the date for a holiday party for his company he can add it to his calendar and then I can see it and know that I shouldn’t schedule anything for our family on that day. Again, technology for the win!

Don’t Blow Your Budget

Money stresses are often the biggest source of stress in many people’s lives. We all stress about money don’t we? And that’s why I feel like it’s really important that you watch your budget during the holidays! Look, I get it, buying nice things for the people we love makes us feel good. One of my favorite feelings in the world is watching someone open up the gifts I bought them and seeing the smile on their face! It brings me so much joy giving great gifts to others! That said, that great feeling is quickly taken away by regret and worry when my credit card bill comes in at the end of the month. That is, if I blow my budget. That’s why I feel like it’s super important to set a budget every holiday season and actually stick to it. What I usually do is come up with a number I can afford and feel comfortable with, and then I divide that number by the number of people I need to buy gifts for. So let’s say I have $500 to spend on all my gifts. And I have 10 gifts to buy. That means I can spend $50 per person. Keep in mind there’s usually a few people that you forget. So I usually always add a little extra to my budget for things I forget.

Learn to Say “No”

I can’t stress how important this tip is. During the holidays, we’re often invited to a lot of things. Whether it’s a holiday party, a work event, or get-together’s with our family. People always want to celebrate during this wonderful time of year! However, too many commitments often result in unneeded stress for you! Honestly, this December I didn’t do very great with this. I need to take my own advice! I said “yes” to so many things, the things that were supposed to be fun started feeling like work because I was stretched so thin. And if someone was gracious enough to invite me to their holiday party, I felt obligated to say “yes” since I was so grateful for the invitation. However, I very quickly realized this season that I need to learn to say “no.” And I need to keep telling myself that it really is OK to say “no.”

Focus on What Really Matters

At the end of the day, what the holidays are really about is spending time with family and friends and anyone you love. So try to let go of all the expectations of the holidays and what you think you should be doing and instead focus on the people around you. It doesn’t matter if your Christmas ham is perfectly cooked or if your gifts look professionally wrapped. Take some time to slow down, breathe, look at the people around you and feel grateful for all the blessings in your life.

I hope you all have the most beautiful holiday season and get to spend it with those you love and don’t get too stressed! Heck, don’t get stressed at all! And I can’t go without telling you guys how much I appreciate and love all of you! It might sound cheesy, but you guys are such a huge part of my life and I’m eternally grateful for all the love and support you’ve shown me, not only over the last year, but for many years before that. This blog is my way of connecting with all of you and sharing experiences with each other. Know that I read every comment (really I tried to respond to most of them) and appreciate every person that takes the time to spend a small part of their day with me here on Ali Luvs. I love you all to pieces! Looking forward to another year of positivity and love with all of you

And please share any stress reducing tips you may have for this time of year in the comments below! I really want to learn from what has helped all of you! Because that’s what we do here on Ali Luvs – help each other! Luv you guys!

34 Thoughts

34 thoughts on “My Top Tips for Staying In Control This Holiday Season

      1. I LOVE your clothing wear and your family is just adorable when do you guys find out the gender for the second child, I want to mail something for the family and little Molly shes gonna be one amazing big sister. Cherish every moment !

  1. Hi Ali
    Great photos…I especially like the one where you are all in front of the Christmas tree & your reflections show in the shiny blue bulb.
    You shared some fantastic stress-free tips. Thanks
    I appreciate that you take the time to read what everyone writes.
    I often text myself reminders of what I need to do that i would normally write on paper (then can’t remember where I put the list) ha
    Kevin is a gem.
    Enjoy the day

    1. I meant to read all these comments the other night but life got away from me! Happens right?! And I appreciate you leaving me a comment! Really. I work hard on this blog and if means the world to me to get feedback 🙂

  2. Great tips Ali! Love reading your blog. Love the last pic of Molly ☺️ She’s so cute. Merry Christmas to you and your family

  3. I shop all year for deals and get the kids clothes that is needed for next year when they go on sale. So this spring all buy winter clearance for next winter. It’s always helped me save. Especially with coats, hats, gloves and the everyday clothes. Love reading the blog. I hope your home wasn’t effected by the fires. The new home or your current one. Enjoy Christmas and Kevin is a gem.

    1. My home wasn’t affected. Just a lot of smoke. But it’s so heartbreaking what these fires have done. Hoping others find peace who lost their homes.

  4. Good tips! Thank you for sharing them and your family with us! Love Love Love your blog! Keep it up!

    Also, her is a tip for younger Mom’s. I have older children now, but when my girls were younger they loved to play dress up. So, for years on Nov 1st I would wake up early and go to the store and buy a ton of Halloween costumes at the super cheap 50-75% off price and save them for Christmas. We had a trunk full of dress up clothes (princesses, Mickey, Minnie, cats, dogs, etc) and my girls LOVED it. Great Christmas gifts for them for super cheap! Just thought I’d share!! 😉

      1. No problem! Us Momma’s have to stick together and share all the tips we have! I have girls, but I saw a ton of superman, spiderman, superhero costumes super cheap too! I did it for years….definitely miss those days! We’re on to buying Apple Watches and clothes that she picks out because what do I know! 😉

  5. Anytime I am out shopping (or shopping online) if I see something that I think a family or friend would like as a gift, I buy it, or I save it on amazon (you can save lists there)! I have a closet where I stash stuff away and hang onto them until Christmas. I also try to keep a written list of names and what I have bought for them (or intend to buy). Doing this has definitely helped with stress and I think often the gifts are more meaningful because I’ve chosen something specifically for that person instead of scrambling the day before and running to Target to buy giftcards! 🙂

  6. I kind of shop all year long (ooopsie!!) and I keep my eyes open for great deals/clearances on things like soaps, candles, etc that I can put into gift baskets for friends or even stockings at Christmas. This way you have a little stash ready to go! Also for those who have everything I look for “experience” gifts like concert, comedy or movie tickets. I keep notes in my phone constantly to stay organized and even jot down gift ideas so I don’t forget. I decided a long time ago not to be stressed about the holidays-slow down and enjoy the moments!

  7. My biggest suggestion would be not to buy presents for everyone. It is costly and time consuming. Maybe pick names or only buy for anyone under 18. Adults can buy their own things. My Husband and I don’t exchange presents. We go away together for a few days and enjoy each other’s company. Christmas can be expensive and adds to the stress! Think about it! Enjoy this magical time of the year!

    1. I agree! We made a rule on both sides of the family that we only buy gifts for kids. Between gifts for teachers, the dog walker, the cleaning lady, the babysitter, etc., I have enough adults to shop for outside the family that I don’t need the added stress of shopping for family members when all you’re really doing is exchanging money.

  8. Ali, love you and your blog! Pretty please do a post or share tips on how you got over your fear of flying that you mentioned before? Really need it lol (and has it changed like completely gone away after having Molly?) Thank you!!!

  9. I love your stress-free holiday tips! I try and stay super organized throughout the holiday when it comes down to the holiday festivities and meal planning. One thing that always seems to get the best of me is the family drama. I can’t stand it! But it always presents itself more around the holidays. My husband keeps telling me to just ignore it and focus on our little family. I am slowly trying to do that, so right now that is where I need the help!

  10. Great tips, Ali! It’s so important to sit back and realize it really is an amazing time of the year (especially if you have little ones 😉). I try not to get caught up in the stress of it and honestly I have found some great gifts way under budget! A thing I have to tell myself is “just because you got a good deal on it, doesn’t mean you need to buy more things to make up for what you would have spent”. I struggle with that sometimes. Merry Christmas, Ali!

  11. Love this list Ali! Sticking to budget is the toughest thing for me and you gave some helpful tips.
    Please tell me there is going to be another blog before Christmas!!
    If not, Merry Christmas to you and your family! <3

  12. Thank you for sharing Ali 🙂! I am learning the challenges of having two families to split time with, mine and my future-in-laws. My best advice so far is very Close to yours. We have to Be grateful for all we have and consciously try not to focus on what we do not. Appreciating is key, and planning and wrapping ahead of course. Spending time feeding the homeless or buying gifts for strangers in need always helps with perspective ❤️

  13. Lovely idea helping people stress less! Some things I do:
    All yr long I keep an eye out for special gifts for fam/friends. I tuck them away and 80% of the time I’m done with holiday shopping by Oct. Then I can focus on decorating and baking and being with loved ones.
    Mix up cookie dough batches weeks ahead of time to cut major time off holiday baking. Honestly they taste exactly as fresh!
    Use gift bags when possible, lots quicker than wrapping!
    Do a name draw for gifts and set a reasonable limit. That one REALLY minimizes stress! When you get together to exchange gifts, everyone brings some food or baked goodies, play games, cards, go caroling in your neighborhood or at a nursing home, watch Christmas movies, those are the memory makers, not a pile of gifts!
    Merry Christmas Ali! Looking fwd to another yr of your great blog!

  14. I just <3 Molly's expressions these days! Such a complex little cutie! Do you mind sharing where her white dress in the last photo is from? What a great little holiday outfit!

  15. Hi Ali! What size did you get Molly in the baby Adidas? The smallest I can find is a size 4. My daughter is just a month younger than Molly, but I don’t think she’ll fit into the 4 yet. Do they run small?

  16. What really helped put things into perspective for me was when December came and my Husband and I both got pink eye (in both eyes!) with bad colds. We are still kind of getting over it but feeling MUCH better just in time to get ready for Christmas and spend time with loved ones. While laying down for a couple days completely ILL and having my eyes just feel terrible I realized nothing was getting done that I had been looking forward to doing. Then I realized some of the stuff on my list was really not that important. What is important is the true meaning of Christmas, for me, (which is Jesus’ Birth), spending time with loved ones, and just being quiet, peaceful, still, and thankful. I feel the joy right now that money cant buy. Getting sick actually made things click for me and suddenly what could have been a really crappy situation turned into a valuable lesson for me. I’m not thankful for pink eye but I kind of am…;)

  17. I often find myself having panic attacks because I worry too much ahead especially with the holidays and i want my one year old to have a great christmas. do you have any tips to focus on the day? Thanks so much ali💗

  18. Hi Ali

    Thx for the great tips.
    Count your blessings and be with the ones you love 💖
    Happy Hollidays🎄🎁

    Big hug from the Netherlands ♥️

  19. Hi Ali,

    Love your blog! Random, quick question, your red Leith pullover sweater—-what size is yours? I got a small and it arrived today but just wanted to compare. I feel yours looks a bit bagger in your photo, which I like, so I was wondering if yours was a medium by chance?

Shop Ali's Feed

Click an image to shop