Holiday Planning Tips for Your Most Festive and Fun Season Ever

The holiday season is a magical time of year. Chilly nights with the promise of snow. Cozy evenings curled up by the fireplace. Twinkling lights, delicious food, and time spent with loved ones.

But the holiday season is also a stressful time of year.

Between planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning, Thanksgiving and Christmas can be some of the busiest days. Sometimes you don’t even have time to actually relax and enjoy yourself. Where’s the fun in that?

Here are four ways to eliminate stress this holiday season. Read now, and thank us later.

Tip 1: Start planning early
Yes, this tip sounds obvious, and you’ve definitely heard it before. But that’s only because it’s true! Like a vacation or a project at work, the earlier you start planning your holidays, the less stressful they’ll be.

So start making your lists and checking them twice. Write down every detail you’ll need to plan, from gifts, to menus, to decorations. Nail down the guest list ASAP. Order what you can online or go to the store ahead of time to avoid the last-minute holiday rush. Start planning now, and it’s sure to pay off later!

Tip 2: Set gift-giving ground rules
Nothing makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside like watching someone open the perfect gift you picked out for them. But giving great gifts is also a lot of work. Add some structure to your gift giving this year to make the experience even more rewarding and a lot less stressful.

Have friends and family send out wish lists so there are no disappointing gifts. Agree on price limits for gifts to make sure spending doesn’t go overboard. Suggest a gift exchange so you only have to buy one or two gifts.

Tip 3: Make it a potluck
Lighten your load by asking family and friends to bring a dish to Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner. For example, you can take care of the turkey, while others bring the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie.

Or, deviate from the standard holiday fare and have everyone bring something different! That way, people can play to their strengths and the food will be amazing. Plus, you’ll get to try new and exciting flavors.

Tip 4: Order in, or go out
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually have to cook for the holidays. We’ll repeat that again so it really sinks in: you don’t have to cook.

There’s no rule saying that every holiday meal has to be a big home-cooked production that you slave over for hours. There are plenty of grocery stores and services that offer prepared holiday meals. Or, you can reserve Thanksgiving or Christmas Dinner in a restaurant. The food will be great and clean up will be easier than ever.

Follow these four tips, and you’ll actually get to enjoy the holidays this year! Instead of worrying about how much money you spent on gifts, what’s burning in the oven, or the mound of dishes waiting in the sink, you can live in the moment. No stress necessary!

For your most stress-free holiday season ever, bring your friends and family on a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s cruise. Hornblower will take care of all the cooking and cleanup so you can focus on what really matters: enjoying the holidays with the people you love. Throw in festive decor and stunning views, and it just might be your new favorite holiday tradition.

Book your Hornblower holiday cruise here.