5 tips for tackling the holidays with confidence this year

·6 min read
Christmas is about sharing and caring, happy family Christmas morning
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The holiday season is a time for laughter, love and cheer, but it can also bring some less-than-wanted guests — stress, worry and anxiety. From making sure family members get along to checking everything off your gift list, there are plenty of moving pieces that require you to stay on the ball. But, what if we told you there are also a number of simple ways you can help reduce holiday stress and tackle the season with renewed confidence?

Our finances can be a major source of stress, especially during the holidays. It makes perfect sense — you want to spend your time enjoying holiday treats or a New Year’s feast, not navigating the ins and outs of seasonal return policies or wondering whether you’ll be approved for that credit card you’ve been eyeing.

We’ve worked with Capital One to bring you five tips to minimize holiday-related worries and maximize the merriment this season ... including how to use Quick Check™ to take the guesswork out of the application process by telling you which Capital One credit card you’ll be approved for with 100% certainty*, before you apply.

1. Don’t stress over holiday returns

Two female friends are outdoors holding shopping bags  and presents and walking
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You know how it goes. You spend hours browsing for the perfect gift, only to learn that your hard-to-buy-for friend already has it — after you've purchased it. Bummer, right? That’s why it’s always a wise idea to include a gift receipt just in case, especially when buying online. Most stores offer extended return policies over the holiday season, so you don’t have to fight your way through Boxing Day crowds just to get an exchange or return done.

Pro tip: Keep your receipts in a labelled file folder so you don’t have to go hunting through your junk drawer to find them (or worse, accidentally throw them away).

An added bonus, staying on top of your receipts will help keep your holiday budget top of mind and limit the temptation to overspend. That way, you can help avoid those unexpected surprises when your December credit card statement arrives.

2. Save time by gift-wrapping wisely

Photo of a cheerful woman wrapping Christmas presents in the living room
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This year, skip the annual back pain that comes from wrapping all your presents on your hands and knees. There’s a better way! Create a dedicated gift-wrapping station that’s raised off the floor (with all your supplies close by), so you can do your thing without hunching.

Make sure you have super sharp scissors and consider doing away with gift tags. Instead, use letter stickers for each recipient’s initials. Cut your wrapping paper too small? Rather than starting over, try a wide ribbon to cover the exposed areas.

Here’s another helpful wrapping tip: pick up a tape dispenser tool that rests on the back of your hand or attaches directly to your table, so you can tear the tape you need with one hand and hold your wrapping paper in place with the other.

Also, when opening presents, save any boxes, bows, bags or untorn wrapping paper to reuse next year. And, if you want to keep your living room from looking like a Tasmanian devil dropped by, avoid the single-use wrapping paper altogether and stick with reusable gift bags that you can use year after year.

3. Nail drama-free hosting

Adult Children Greeting Senior Parents As They Arrive With Presents To Celebrate Christmas
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Have family coming from out of town? Maybe your mom and mother-in-law have leftover drama from Thanksgiving ... Hosting can be stressful, but there are some simple steps you can take to spare you from having to spend the day playing host and mediator.

If you have a larger group coming for dinner, consider using seating place cards to separate the folks who don’t get along as well, and ensure the conversation stays flowing with fewer arguments and awkward pauses. If disagreements do pop up, step in before things get heated by redirecting the conversation or asking for help with hosting duties. Sometimes a little time apart is all that’s needed for cooler heads to prevail.

Games and activities that prioritize teamwork over individual competition are another great strategy to keep the mood light while avoiding potentially prickly situations. Better yet, they can help keep everyone occupied while you’re busy trying to get dinner on the table, preventing a too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen scenario from adding to your hosting stress.

4. Factor in extra time for yourself

Couple sit at sofa with xmas tree behind using tablet and wishing Merry Christmas to friends online.
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Already have an idea of how long those holiday errands will take you? Go ahead and double it. Whether it’s to account for seasonal traffic or unexpected weather delays when traveling to your relative’s for dinner or running to the store for supplies, it’s always a good move to build a little extra time in your schedule. Stressing over running late is no one’s idea of holiday fun, but luckily, you can help avoid it if you plan ahead.

You can also take this tip a step further by blocking off an entire afternoon for those “just-in-case” moments that always seem to pop up. If unexpected shipping delays result in a last-minute shopping trip, you’ll be thanking your past self for the breathing room. And if nothing comes up, use that bonus time to give yourself a well-deserved break from your holiday to-do list.

5. Get your finances in order for the new year

Young smiling african woman standing on the city streets with shopping bags during Christmastime and typing on her cellphone
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Financial stress can have a huge impact on your mental health! Make 2022 the year where you get all your financial ducks in a row so you can ring in the new year with confidence. There’s always the temptation to buy “just one more thing” when holiday shopping, but these last-minute purchases can really add up. Before you succumb to the latest “can’t-miss” sale, take a step back and ask yourself if this is something you really need and if it fits within your budget.

If you are in the market for a new credit card, don’t forget to keep your credit score in mind. Your credit score is determined by a number of factors, including how much you owe, whether you make your payments on time, your credit history (i.e., how many accounts you have open and how long they’ve been open for), your “credit mix” of credit cards, loans and/or mortgages, and the number of hard inquiries on your report. (More on this in a second.) The higher the score, the better your chances of getting approved for credit from lenders.

As for those hard inquiries, submitting a credit card application results in a “hard hit” on your credit report, which can impact your credit score. However, if you use an eligibility checker like Quick Check before applying for a new card, you’ll receive a “soft hit” instead (which won't impact your score). What’s more, Quick Check lets you see which Capital One cards you’ll be approved for with 100% certainty*, so you can apply without fear of rejection.

Stop playing the guessing game when it comes to credit card applications. With Quick Check from Capital One, you can find out which Capital One cards you’ll be approved for before you apply, helping you proceed with 100% confidence*.

*Conditions and limitations apply. Visit the Capital One Quick Check page for details.

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