Holiday events, gift-giving, and family gatherings can be enjoyable if you know how to reduce stress.
Why The Holidays Cause Stress
The holidays can be a stressful time if you try to put more on your plate than you can handle. But if you decide what’s most important to you and accept that everything will not be perfect (or complete), then you really can enjoy this season for the all the right reasons.
Yes, I Know–December 25th Comes On The Same Day Each Year…
No matter how hard I try to plan ahead, Christmas is always here before I’m ready. I have decorating to do, children to buy gifts for, and holiday hours to work around. But, no matter how you look at it, it all boils down to planning and managing priorities.
How to Reduce Holiday Stress
Decide your family’s priorities, accept imperfection, and make a very short list of things to do.
I’m a freelancer, so if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. That can be stressful if I don’t plan ahead.
Plan: How do I plan time off? I map out my holiday calendar to include school, work, and family considerations. I adjust my work hours around holidays and my kids’ Winter breaks.
Prioritize: When it comes to fitting everything else in, we pick a few important rituals like watching Christmas movies, riding around to see holiday lights, and exchanging presents.
When it comes to Christmas presents, I ask myself: what do they want? Will I be able to afford everything? Will I be able to find everything? Are they asking for a reasonable amount?
Plan: Credit unions encourage their customers to open Christmas Club accounts. That way, you have a whole year to save for Christmas. Then, it’s distributed in October to allow plenty of time to shop (instead of waiting until the last minute). If you’re like me and never plan THAT far ahead, simply make a budget. You can only spend what you have. It’s that simple.
Prioritize: The final list of Christmas presents for the kids will be based on how reasonable the request is and what I can afford. I make a final list of friends & family to buy gifts for and the present(s) I would like to buy. Finally, I shop for the best price.
The original meaning of this season was to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Since gifts were brought in his honor, centuries later, we continue that tradition.
If I have made a conscious decision to plan ahead and determine my priorities, I find that cheer is a lot easier to come by.
Plan: Resolve to have joy this season. Decide that spending time with family, celebrating the magic of Santa, and decorating a festive home might be the only things you want to work into your list.
Prioritize: The meals are eaten. The crumpled wrapping paper is on the floor. The kids are happily playing with their toys. Do you have an undeniable sense of peace, gratitude, and joy? If so, you got your priorities right.
Related: 7 Easy Advent Calendar Ideas
Trying to do too much, fit too much in, and spending too much money will ruin it all. Don’t take it so seriously. Even if it’s the last parking spot, the only electronic gadget in stock, or final day of the sale, it’s still not that serious.