For many, holidays are a time steeped in tradition (a personal favorite: Christmas morning waffles with strawberry jam and whip cream) and cheerful connection to others.  However, all the tradition and time connecting with family and friends puts a strain on our time and wallets, leading to stress and overwhelm.  Add to this keeping a business afloat, and it is a wonder that as fempreneurs we survive December.

Three years ago, I remedied the stress for myself by making a plan so I could enjoy all the things I love about the holidays (including modifying those delicious waffles to fit my dietary restrictions) and managed to grow my business at the same time.   Since then I have been doing the same for my clients.

If you find yourself stressing during the holiday season also, here are a couple of common causes and what to do about them, so you can have a stress-free holiday season all together.

1) How to get it all done

There are the parties, shopping for gifts, finding a parking space at the mall, preparations to host guests or family members, putting up and taking down the decorations, wrapping the gifts, grocery shopping and meal planning. Whew, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself somewhere in there.

Sounds like a tall order. Believe it or not, there is a better way to deal with all this: plan early. We are in November and this is the perfect time to put together a plan for the holidays. To start, list out all the things that you like to or need to do during the holiday season. What trips will you take? Will you have out of town guests staying with you? What other things, holiday related or not, will take up time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? Jot everything down and schedule it all on your regular calendar or one especially for the holidays.

Include set dates and times for parties or events, and then figure out how much time you need for all your holiday tasks and plan time in for those as well. Plan everything around the hours you spend in/on your business and include any special business related holiday plans. If you struggle with time management, read Sara’s post Boost Your Productivity for helpful guidelines.

2) Post-Holiday Finance Blues

Smokey, the cat, never gets stressed out during the holidays.

Once you make it through December to January, round two of the stress starts. All the credit card statements are starting to show up and your bank account is decimated from holiday spending.

The solution for this is again planning. Now is the time to make a list of all the people that you want to buy gifts for and how much you want to spend on each person. Don’t forget generic last minute gifts for unsuspected gift giving. Add in extra expenses caused by travel, holiday cards and postage, gift wrap, shipping charges and any other expenses caused by holiday plans and traditions.

Once you have a total, ask yourself if you are comfortable with the amount. If the answer is no, where can you reduce or cut expenses?

Take this one step further and use this “holiday budget” to save money in the coming year so that you have money for all your holiday fun and gift giving in advance. Simply take your total amount and divide by 11. The number that you come up with is what you need to put aside each month of next year to be financially ready for December when it rolls around.

With a plan in place for your time and finances, you will have a better picture of what the holiday season will look like for you. You will have all the information to make decisions that keep your stress down and you feeling good well into January.

To go more in depth with your stress-free holiday planning, attend my next Holiday Planning Workshop.  Visit Serenity Simplified on Facebook for more details.

And feel free to steal my waffle tradition if you like. 😉

Kristin Stewart is a Home Sanctuary Coach. For the past 7 years she has worked with clients across the nation to get more organized, improve the flow of their home and coach them on personal development with their home as a template. She graduated from SFSU with a degree in Business. Her interest in Holistic Well-being and personal development have given her a unique perspective and approach to her work with clients.