14 Things To Do In November To Banish Holiday Stress

Things to do in November

How Can I Avoid Stress During the Holiday Season?

Holiday stress kills the joy of Christmas.

And I feel it every December, as I’m staying up late putting together cards or buying gifts.

Of course, the holidays are fun and magical. It’s a beautiful time to be together! BUT…

how to avoid holiday stress in November

We also have extra obligations and responsibilities. Furthermore, we put TONS of pressure on ourselves to make the time special for our families. And sometimes our expectations are unrealistic.

As a result, it can feel more like a crazy sprint than a sweet memory building time.

So, today we are looking out for your mental health. We’ve got easy things to do in November, so that you avoid holiday stress later on.

Then, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters: those family and friends you love. Isn’t that what the holidays are SUPPOSED to be about?

14 Actions for November to Avoid Holiday Stress

These November things to do are all helpful in different ways to relieve overwhelm next month.

But, it’s not necessary to do all of them! Consider what overwhelms you the most, and focus on those categories.


things to do in november to avoid holiday stress, shop early

First, Simplify

First, focus on how you can simplify gifts this year. Instead of buying for everyone, could you draw names? Share an experience together? Do a White Elephant Exchange? Or eliminate some gifts altogether?

Second, Organize

Next, make a list of people you need gifts for.

Third, Shop NOW.

Brainstorm ideas or begin shopping as early a possible. For example, I buy my December birthdays in November, as well as presents I know I’ll need every year for Christmas. That means kid pajamas and an ornament for the friend exchange are done early.


Being healthy is so stinking HARD during the holidays. Even when we aren’t at events, we are too tired and busy to cook much.

So, gather a list of quick and healthy meal ideas. Then, stick it on the fridge for those busy nights ahead when you need something simple!

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Now, take that meal planning a step further! Double a few dinners in November or get a group of friends together for a freezer meal party or swap.

You won’t regret those meals when you’re spending the night making gingerbread houses instead of cooking. 🙂


Tips to avoid holiday stress

Take family or pet photos, and put together your cards before Thanksgiving. Those cards will be ready to send out at a moment’s notice, and your holiday stress will be long gone.

Not going to happen? Skip cards all together this year. It will be ok, I promise.


The holidays always bring lots of new STUFF, so make room NOW.

While you have the time, make a “garage sale” or “Goodwill” pile. Cleaning out ahead of time keeps you from feeling overwhelmed when you add in your new goodies.

Related Post: 21 Ways To Simplify Your Life: Start Now!


We live for these this time of year. It’s those unique activities that bring us together and strengthen our bonds. So, think and plan ahead for a FEW holiday traditions you want to do with your family (don’t go overboard here!)

Now, what can you do to prep ahead?

Mark down when you will start them. If you’d love holiday tradition ideas, check out my ebook – The Best Guide To Family Traditions!

You’ll have a quick and easy reference to alleviate holiday stress!


Decide on the food you want to make for the holidays NOW and keep an eye out for sales.

We make the same incredible dairy-free artichoke dip every year, so I just bought a huge bag of cashews on sale. Not only does this save money, but I’ll have less to buy later when EVERYONE is out at the stores.

*The same applies to alcoholic beverages! Often, you can find coupons to your local liquor store and stock up at one time.

Related Post: A Free Thanksgiving Menu Planner Printable


Deep cleaning and household projects never get done in December. It’s a given.

So, fix that broken cabinet. Or clean out the oven. Complete any necessary honey-do tasks in November so they aren’t nagging you later when you’d rather be basking in holiday magic.


There’s no doubt about it, the holidays are expensive.

So, decide now (while there’s less temptation) how much money you’re devoting to holiday spending, and figure out where that money is coming from.

Short on cash? Try a one-week spending freeze! Buy nothing for 7 days (or only fresh produce). No eating out. No Starbucks. No impulse purchases. Make due with what you have. It’s only for 7 days!

After, use the money saved as your holiday fund! We all spend money without thinking, so you may be SHOCKED at how much you can save with just one week. Do this as one of your things to do in November, and you’ll be so much less stressed about money for the holidays!

Related Post: 25 Easy Money Saving Tips for the Holidays


The holiday work is often put squarely on mom’s shoulders. Which, seems a little unfair, no?

So, think NOW about what tasks others can do to pitch in.

If you host the holidays, be sure to assign everyone at least one dish to bring. Then, can your husband be in charge of purchasing certain gifts? Or make that special side dish HE loves on Thanksgiving? Could you give the kids clean up jobs to ease your burden?

Get creative and make a list now!

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tips to avoid holiday stress, consider your schedule

We often overcommit during the holidays. So again, when in doubt, simplify.

First, glance ahead at the calendar. Of course, plan some amazing holiday traditions, but be sure to schedule time in between for downtime!

Additionally, December is not the time to commit to more kids’ extracurriculars or extra work responsibilities. In November, look ahead to make sure you don’t schedule anything unnecessary. Remember, those things will still be around in January.


Oh gosh, I know the holiday season is the time for giving, but it’s usually too much for me to process with everything else going on.

So make November the time to discuss holiday giving and do it early before the hustle and bustle arrives. Alternatively, you can give at a different time of year!

Related Post: 9 Giving Christmas Traditions to Start With Your Family


Ugh, flu season. Whether we like it or not it usually starts around November and December. And we’ve got this global pandemic to add to the list this year as well! So, take a few minutes to read the following post and consider your own flu season survival kit.

Related Post: Sick Kit Ideas: How to be Prepared for Flu Season

While you’re at it, check out the mental health kit as well! It never hurts to be prepared!


Finally, make a few lists based on all of the above suggestions!

Just getting organized will ease the holiday tension later.

Something To Consider With Holiday Stress

things to do in early November to banish holiday stress

Make this holiday season DIFFERENT.

In December, be less worried about what you need to do and more into the smiles on your loved ones’ faces. Actually HAVE the kind of holiday season you’ve been dreaming about with these November things to do.

Cheers to a fabulous, stress-free time of year!

And, don’t forget the ebook when planning for the holidays! This is one essential piece to a relaxed and fun holiday season. Get it HERE!

What do you think? What are other things to do in November to overcome holiday stress?

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What to Do in November to Avoid Holiday Stress

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  1. This post is great. The holidays are inevitably stressful for everyone, but these are great tips to help avoid some of it. I never thought to make meals ahead for this time of year. Great idea!!!

  2. I really like the idea of buying LESS gifts. Instead go to an event together! I want to simplify and I don’t need more STUFF. I’m going to tell all of my family this!

    1. Julie, I completely agree! I usually feel overwhelmed by all of the stuff at my house too. We’ve been working on less gifts the last few years, and it helps a TON with the stress level!

  3. I love this list – thank you! A lot of this was in my brain to do, but this just gave me a little nudge to actually write this stuff down and get started on a few things instead of just keeping a mental list.

  4. I loved your point of creating a sick kit! that is something I have never thought of. That will also help with the budget buying that stuff in advance and not worrying about the money for it later. Great ideas!

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