Halloween kind of kickstarts that time of year that can be super busy and yes, stressful. It’s not supposed to be that way, though, right? It’s supposed to be a time of gratitude and thanksgiving, and of celebrating the birth of the Saviour.
It’s also become a time to reconnect with family members and friends, and give gifts to show your love, and make them feel special.
Life is so busy anyway, but then you throw in all the extra work that come with this holiday season, like cooking and baking, decorating, buying and wrapping gifts, sending Christmas cards, celebrating with family and friends, managing the crowds and traffic, keeping the house presentable with extra company and overnight guests.
I have some suggestions to help us all have a more restful and enjoyable holiday!
10 Tips for Having a Stress Free Christmas Holiday
- Only do those activities and traditions that are most important to you and your family. If a Christmas Eve service is meaningful for you, go to that. If you want to do the Christmas shoe boxes that go around the world, or carol at nursing homes etc. make those a priority. If you enjoy baking cookies, do it. If you don’t, go to the bakery at your grocery store if you’d like to have some Christmas cookies. If you like sending cards to all your acquaintances, go ahead. If not, don’t worry about it. No time for a Christmas letter…forget about it. Those closest to you will feel secure in your love and care anyway, and probably already know what’s going on in your life.
- Plan ahead and make lists for those things that are important to you. Lists are my lifeline. I have a terrible memory, and so I write EVERYTHING down right when I think of it. Keep ongoing lists of those you really want to send cards to, or those favorite baked goods you enjoy making, or those people you absolutely want to give a gift too. I keep master lists on my computer, in addition to written, especially for addresses! Digital cards are always an option too.
- Get help. Enlist your kids and husband. If they’re old enough, (the kids) they can help clean, wrap, bake, decorate etc. If you’re having people over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, have 5 menu items and maybe 2 desserts, instead of 15 different dishes and desserts, and let everyone bring something. And for goodness sakes, you don’t have to have everything homemade!
- Keep an eye on your to do lists, and fit things into your schedule a little at a time. Really try to not wait until the week before Christmas to do everything you plan on doing. If you do find yourself in that position, simplify, simplify, simplify.
- Choose only your favorite decorations to decorate with. You don’t have to get out all 15 boxes of Christmas decorations every year. Your kids probably wouldn’t notice if you did nothing but put up the Christmas tree. The neighbors aren’t going to judge if you only have one bush covered in lights, instead of the whole house and yard. 😛
- Make time to turn off social media and TV. Turn off the overhead lights, put on pleasant music, relax on the couch, and look at the Christmas tree lights.
- Prioritize sleep. If something doesn’t get done, it’s not the end of the world. Even when you feel you couldn’t sleep if you tried, TRY. I find when I make an effort to stop DOING, and go to bed at a good time, I feel better and have more energy during the day. Also drinking water and staying hydrated. 🙂
- Reduce the amount of gifts you have to buy. In mine and my husband’s extended family of parents and brothers and sisters, there are 33 people, and we used to buy for everyone (just something small). Then when all the littles started coming, we decided to do family gifts, like a board game for the whole family. Now, my whole family has decided to just buy for our own children, and needy kids. Even though I enjoyed getting something for everyone, in reality they didn’t NEED anything, and it’s made Christmas so much more manageable. We still get together and have a nice meal, visit, and watch a Christmas movie! 🙂 I’ve heard some people have decided to do 3 gifts for their children. For instance, a book, something homemade, and something they want. I like to keep on hand gorgeous mugs from Dayspring, or some beautiful journals, for when I see someone and think, “I want to give them something!” I also keep wrapping supplies on hand too.
- Don’t add any extra responsibilities or commitments to this already busy time. You don’t have to remodel the bathroom or kitchen during this time!
- Remember, it’s one 24 hour day, and don’t put all your expectations on that one day. You can love on your family and others any, and everyday. You can enjoy the holiday music, and lights before and after Christmas, or even have a big family dinner, or get together any day.