Tips to survive the endless rotation of holiday parties

The holiday season is a wonderful chance to spend quality time with friends and family, especially those whom you may not to get to see as often. At the same time, the holidays can be draining. With all of the get-togethers and the preparations that go into them, you can run the risk of feeling drained. Fortunately, there are ways to survive it. Read on for some tips on getting through the party season without a problem.

Keep a few gift cards on you. You never know when you’ll run into someone who expected to exchange gifts and gives one to you; if you keep a couple on hand with an empty card, you can avoid any embarrassment.

Buy a case of good wine. Quite a few parties will ask you to bring a drink, or you may be inclined to give it as a gift. If you buy a case before the rush starts, you’ll get a discounted price, be prepared for each situation, and be all stocked up for New Year’s if there’s too much to go around.

Eat before the party. If you’re trying to cut back on the amount of treats you eat this season, try eating a healthy, somewhat filling snack before the party. If you arrive hungry, chances are higher that you will overindulge and regret your decisions in the morning. Do take the opportunity to enjoy your favorite tastes of the season, though. After all, this is the one time out of the year when things like eggnog are available, and you don’t want to feel like you missed out. Keep in mind that moderation is the best way to go, and you will feel better about your choices in the long run.

Go to each party to have fun. It’s all too easy to get pulled into a cycle of “making appearances” at a host of holiday parties, and end up not spending enough time with the people you really want to see. Make sure that at each party you attend, you have enough time to really catch up with someone who matters. If you have to miss someone else’s party to get there, you can always make plans to see them personally after the holiday rush.

Make time for yourself. When you’re being pulled in so many directions — from visiting family to catching up with friends and so on — the holidays can start to feel like a burden. To counter these negative feelings, try to make a little bit of time in your schedule to tune out. Meditation and quiet reflection are great ways to do this, but even just sitting with a good book can help you achieve some equilibrium during this time of year.

Prepare thank you (and apology) notes. To be truly thoughtful, keep a set of stationery on hand. After you attend a great party, or miss one, dash off a quick note to the host. You’ll be sure to get another invite next time. Of course, if you didn’t want the invite in the first place, you can always skip this one.

Ultimately, it’s important to stop chasing perfection. Whether you’re trying to plan a party of your own, or are trying to show off you and your family’s best side as guests, avoid the pitfalls of trying to be perfect. Few things in life go exactly as you plan them. Try enjoy life as it comes along, and don’t sweat the small stuff.