Important tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

Important tips for a Stress-Free Holiday

Is there such a thing as a stress-free holiday? Many would answer no to this question. The good news is that anything is possible when you can get organized ahead of time. Often the pressure of family traditions may seem insurmountable. While old traditions are valued and treasured, you may try introducing your own traditions to make your holidays happy and more personal. Here are 10 tips to help you avoid the stress the holidays tend to bring.

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Posted by Greenpark on December 5 / 2018

  1. Make a List! Lists are not overrated by any means. You can also do a work back schedule from when you are hosting. Remember you don’t have to host everyone. You can opt to have dinner out. If you make a list, live by the list! Delegate to your partner or spouse. Perhaps the bar list is good one to delegate. More about that later on.
  2. Keep it tidy - there is nothing more important than starting off with a tidy house. Declutter and add your holiday touches before it gets too busy. Rather than adding decorations on top of your accents, be sure to tuck some Knick knacks away until after the holidays are over. Designate one room in the house for your clutter that no one will see. Tuck papers away, and move shoes from the front door closet. Also make room in your entrance closet for coats and boots. Keep extra hangers there.
  3. Deck the Halls – you don’t have to be the best decorated house on the block. Keep it simple. A beautiful wreath or a couple of urns will do. You don’t have to add thousands of lights. Consider flood lights which are easier and can add a great mood in little time. Same for inside your house. A few ornaments in a vase or on the mantle will add a festive touch without going overboard. After all, people come to visit you not your decorations.
  4. Stock your pantry. Be sure to check what you have and buy only what you need. Each get together will have its own list but be sure to stock the basics. Stock up on cookies and crackers. Have a couple of jarred tapenades on hand to mix with fresh sour cream for dips and if you don’t have the time, buy dips and don’t feel guilty about it. Just use a nice bowl instead of the container to pull off a more elegant look.
  5. Stock your Bar – be sure to have some of the usual suspects on hand – gin, vodka, rum, soda, lemons and limes. Don’t forget both regular and decaf coffee, regular tea, herbal teas, and plenty of mixes. These don’t expire so buy what you can ahead of time. Select a couple of wines that you like and don’t worry about too many varieties. Pick a red and a white and just buy what you can of a small variety so you don’t have to make it complicated.
  6. Cook ahead - These days you can almost freeze anything ahead of time. Soups, stews, chopped veggies etc. Also remember you don’t have to have a dinner. You can entertain and invite people for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Breakfast is easier and there are some great make ahead recipes – you can always source idea on or Always consider starting your menu the day before. And clean up as you go. Nothing like a dirty kitchen that you need to clean while your guests are enjoying a glass of wine.
  7. Create Ambiance &Comfort – nothing says welcome like lighting, music and a pair of slippers. Set the mood at the front door. A welcoming bouquet of flowers or a large branch with ornaments – simple yet stylish. If you don’t have slippers for everyone, invite people to bring their own. Make a CD of your favourite dinner or holiday music ahead of time. Light candles and try not to add too many scented candles. They don’t go well with food aromas. Stick to non-scented ones.
  8. Make meals simple - If your entertaining a large group – 6 or more, consider a buffet table instead of a sit-down meal. Just be sure to pull your table out so everyone can fully walk around the table to avoid a line-up. As mentioned earlier, consider a breakfast/brunch instead of dinner.
  9. Open House – if you have a lot of people that you’d like to entertain over the holidays, consider an open house. Set a time, for example from 2-5pm and have people come and go. You can prepare nibbles and drinks and have people help themselves. Just have enough on hand to restock items on the buffet table. And no one ever said you have to make everything yourself. You can cater all or some of the food.
  10. Wrapping Presents – make it easy on yourself and pick one wrapping paper and wrap all your gifts the same and do something different every year. It makes life easier instead of having 20 different roles of paper. And wrap as you go! Pick a colour scheme. Silver and red, gold and silver. Designate a room away from your main floor and keep everything there. Scissors, tape, bows and string, gift tags etc. And be sure to have some generic gifts tucked away for people who unexpectedly bring you something. You don’t want them to go away empty handed. It might be as simple as a mini bottle of sparkling wine, an ornament or scented candle.

If you simply can’t do all of these, pick a few that are doable. Pace yourself and do what you can. Don’t make the mistake of overburdening yourself and forget to rest and reflect on the true meaning of the holidays.

Since 1967, over 55,000 families have chosen Greenpark for their most important investment. Greenpark has been a leader in the new home industry, recognized as the standard quality, choice and service excellence, offering a complete range of home styles in desirable locations all across the Greater Toronto Area. Whether a family is looking for a Townhome, a Semi or Fully Detached Home, or a Luxury Estate Home in a bucolic country setting, Greenpark designs and builds superior quality into every residence.