The holiday season can take a toll on even the most extroverted among us. With holiday parties, gift buying and preparing your home for cheerful yet chaotic family get-togethers.  No matter how much you look forward to the holiday experience, prepping in advance will help ensure a stress-free holiday season.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Don’t be a perfectionist. If you can find a way to go with the flow of the holiday spirit and let go of the idea that everything needs to go a certain way, you won’t be disappointed by stress.  Cherish the small things and be grateful that you’re surrounded by loved ones.

Clean Common Areas

Make way for extra guests in your home by organizing and decluttering spaces where people will congregate, like the entryway, living room and lounge areas.  If needed add more coat racks or hangers.

Plan Ahead

The mantra of the season should be, “It’s never too early to get a head start”.  Buy non-perishable ingredients now and choose dishes that can be at least partially prepped (such as chopping vegetables or marinating meat) if not completely cooked ahead of time and reheated later.

Don’t Go it Alone

Keep it all hands on deck–When it comes to preparing for holiday mealtime, delegation is key. You can even find ways to make it easy for little ones to help set the table by prepackaging silverware in colorful paper pockets. Use extra wrapping paper, or Christmas-theme scrapbook paper to match your tabletop decor. Keep the cheer in the holiday and take the work out of it.

Minimize

Employ minimalist style techniques to keep decorations sweet and simple this year. Consider placing a few candles and flowers in the middle instead of an ornate centerpiece.  And if you’re feeling extra fun, try using extra wrapping paper as your tablecloth.

Create a Color Code

Cut back on Christmas morning craziness by wrapping each family member’s present in a different wrapping paper. That way, everyone can instantly determine which gift to open without having to rummage through hard-to-read labels. Plus, the personalization will make each child feel extra special.

Family Gift

Get in the game by gifting a board game to the family, that way you’ll have plenty of fun for family game nights for the New Year and beyond.

Take mindful breaks for yourself. Focus on your personal well-being and pause from festivities when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Create a serene retreat for yourself, which can be as simple as soft throws piled on your bed, a bathtub filled with Epsom salts or a walk outdoors.

All of the extra care and planning you do to celebrate the holidays makes your home special for family and guests.