I was in the midst of wedding planning during the holidays, as I had a spring wedding. March sure seems close when the Christmas tree goes up. I needed to make sure I had enough time to myself, apart from my full time job (and part time job on top of THAT) and wedding planning; here’s how I retained sanity.
- Plan ahead! Shop well before Christmas. I went evenings after work – few people are xmas shopping Monday or Tuesday evenings. I did some research during lunch hours, reading ads and collecting coupons and retail club member rewards. My favorites: Cost Plus (they send pretty substantial coupons fairly often if you sign up); Best Buy Reward Zone, and J Crew is starting to slip in 20% off coupons in their catalogs.
- Follow sites like DealCatcher.com or follow my favorite, Broke Chick, on Twitter.
- And while you’re surfing the web, shop there – aren’t Amazon wish lists the best?
- Don’t do DIY gifts. This is the year to pass on them. Like you have time to be making 20 jars of homemade cookie mix this year? Have a glass of wine and watch Pride and Prejudice instead!
- Another great idea: Email all your buds and say that in lieu of gifts, you are making a donation to Kiva.org, Brides Against Breast Cancer, or another meaningful charity. You’ll be surprised how relieved your friends and family will be to be taken out of the gift-giving rat race (financially and timewise, gift giving has become a huge burden), and whether you give $1 or $100, no one will know but your grateful recipients. Charities have seen a downturn in donations since the recession hit, and every penny matters.
- Shoot for early prep. By Dec 15th, have your wrapping and mailing done or ready to shoot in the mail. Schedule it out on your calendar.
- Reward yourself. Give yourself a pedi, an afternoon out with the girls, or…maybe some more wine and Pride and Prejudice? (I love the scene where Elizabeth sees Mr. Darcy walking across the heath…sigh…)
- Hold a wedding-prep party. Treat your pals to take out (please don’t cook yourself!) and cocktails, and assemble favors, address invitations, or make those paper flower centerpieces you love. Check some things off your list and have some holiday fun all at once.
- Most importantly, have fun. Try not to let the stress of planning AND the holidays get to you. No one is following you around to see how great a holiday hostess you are – they’re too stressed and busy themselves! Opt out of the rat race and make sure to have some time to yourself.