Like always, the year seems to fly by and the holiday season is upon us once again. I personally love this time of year, but not everyone does. For many, the holiday season is one that is extremely stressful. Here are my best tips to help you have a stress free Christmas.
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We Wish You a Stress-Free Christmas
1. Have a Plan
I love getting together with family and friends at Christmas time. It’s one of my many favorite things about this time of year. If you want to have a stress free Christmas, it’s best to plan out these get-togethers ahead of time. I know that it can be tough if others do not want to make plans until the last minute and you are trying to juggle 10 things. I write everything out on my calendar, but others might find a planner that you can take with you more convenient or even an app on your phone. However you wish to do it, if you want to have a stress free Christmas, you will have to make sure that those get-togethers do not overlap one another. This causes hurt feelings and you wind up feeling like you disappointed someone.
2. Set Limits
Just like setting personal boundaries, you have to be able to set limits at Christmas time as well. This is especially important for having a stress free Christmas. Remember that you can do anything, but not everything. You have to stand firm on your limits, whether it be with family or friends. Remember what your priorities are and stay true to yourself. I have a friend with a rather large family and they always felt torn about which relative’s house to go to on Christmas day. She solved the problem by simply stating that they would not be going anywhere on Christmas day, but would be happy to get together with other relatives at other times. Additionally, she then left the door open for anyone to come to visit HER on Christmas day.
You can’t be in 2 places at once. Simply stating that fact is a great way to reduce holiday stress. Remember that you are not responsible for other people’s feelings or reactions. You are only responsible for conveying your thoughts and feelings in a respectful manner.
3. Set a Budget – And Stick To It
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year, but it’s not the time to start comparing yourself to others and trying to keep up with the Jones. You will very quickly find yourself dealing with stress if you overspend to the point that you are in serious financial trouble when January rolls around. This can also lead to fighting about finances. It’s not worth it. For a stress-free Christmas, make and stick to a budget. I love getting the kids toys and seeing them unwrap them on Christmas morning. However, we keep it within our means.
It helps me to remember when I am buying gifts that for us, I am not the only ones buying for them. They get toys from other relatives as well and those relatives need to see the joy in their faces just as much as I do. Christmas gifts are part of the excitement, but remember that the true meaning of Christmas is celebrating the birth of Jesus.
4. Schedule Down Time
Christmas gets hectic! Always having things to do contributes to holiday stress. One great tip to deal with holiday stress is to deliberately schedule some downtime. It might be “After 8 pm tonight is my time to unwind. Wrapping presents can wait.” Or it might be “We are not going to go anywhere today. Today, we are going to stay home.” I have found that when I schedule downtime, I look forward to the break and it helps me to have a stress free Christmas.
5. Ask for Help With the Meal
When I was a kid, I remember that my Grandma tried to do it all herself. When my Mom took over the big holiday meals, she divided it up. She does the big main dishes, and the rest of us bring side-dishes or desserts that are assigned ahead of time. It’s not super formal, it’s more like “I’m cooking ham and dressing. What side dishes do you want to bring?” She writes them all down (again – planning can be a huge help for a stress-free Christmas!) we all do a bit, and no one person suffers from holiday stress and overwhelm.
6. Remember, Things Do Not Have to Be Perfect
As someone that has been struggling to transform her perfectionism, I know the struggle in wanting to make sure everything is perfect for the holidays. I used to get so stressed when I had guests over because I went to painstaking lengths to make sure that every single detail was perfect. The one detail that I always forgot was my mental state.
If you as the host are stressed, it’s going to show to your guests. I would much rather go to someone’s house and enjoy their company than look at their perfect decorations and spotlessly clean house.
One of the best ways to deal with stress that I have found is to remember that your friends and family are coming to see YOU. They are not the house inspectors. They probably won’t care if your house is not perfectly spotless. They may notice the decorations, but if they are not perfect, it’s ok. One of the best things about the holidays is that family and friends make time to spend with one another. It’s the people that are the biggest gift. Sometimes the best memories are made when you can look back and laugh at less than perfect times.
7. Enjoy the Little Things this Christmas
Christmas is packed with dazzling lights and fun things to do. Some of these can get very elaborate (and expensive), while others are quite simple. To help you relax this Christmas, remember to enjoy the simple things. Watch a Christmas movie with your family. String popcorn. Bake cookies. Go to the park and walk through a Christmas light display. Decorate the tree together. One of the Christmas traditions from my childhood that we carry on with our kids is putting up the Christmas tree together and decorating the house. We put on Christmas music, and we all work together to get it decorated. It usually goes pretty quickly, and when you look through the photos, you can see a steady migration of ornaments up the tree each year as the boys grow taller.
They may not be perfectly placed ornaments. Especially when the kids were little, we would have a clump of plastic Christmas balls on a low hanging branch of the tree. Those pictures are precious to me now. As the kids grow, we also cherish their home-made ornaments. We seem to add to this collection every year. They are simple things, but they make a huge difference in how stressed we feel at Christmas. We stop to enjoy the little things together. Life is full of little moments that are meant to be enjoyed.
*We made Ninja Bread cookies last year and the boys loved it. The gingerbread mix was ok (but I am not a huge fan of gingerbread in the first place) but the cookie cutters were great! Apparently, when your cookies are in fighting poses, it makes it ten times more fun….
With all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to fall victim to Christmas stress. Christmas has gotten heavily commercialized, but it’s up to each family how much emphasis to place on that. One of the first things to do for a stress-free Christmas is to simply have a plan. When you write down when you are supposed to be where either on a calendar, planner or in your phone, it makes it much easier to not double-book yourself for events. Nothing stresses me more than when I am supposed to be in two places at once and I just can’t. I hate disappointing people that I care about.
Similarly, set limits and a budget. Stay true to what matters most to you and your family. Don‘t let stressing out about finances ruin your Christmas. Schedule yourself some downtime, and ask for help with the meal. Things do not have to be perfect and remember to enjoy the simple things. These are my best tips for a stress-free Christmas. What are yours? Leave me a comment below! Happy Questing!