If the holidays have you feeling overwhelmed, you need these 4 simple tips to make Christmas less stressful.
Are you someone who loves all things festive and holiday-related? Or is this time of year a struggle for you?
Maybe it’s not an Either/Or situation but more of a Both/And.
I happen to love the holiday season. The lights, baking, decorating, festivities, and celebrations. But I also hate the inevitable colds and germs, stress, expectations, and exhaustion.
The older I get, the more I’ve learned to eliminate as many holiday stressors as I possibly can.
Here are some examples of how I’ve made the holidays less stressful:
4 Simple Tips to Make Christmas Less Stressful
1. Don’t Send Out Christmas Cards
I have never sent out Christmas cards and I don’t plan on ever starting!
It’s not that I don’t LOVE receiving Christmas cards, (because I do!) In fact, every card my family receives gets posted in the house for all who enter to see.
But for me, the very thought of scheduling a time to take our family photo, selecting a card design, addressing envelopes, paying for postage, and then mailing them off REALLY stresses me out.
Sending out Christmas cards feels like one more thing on my to-do list and I hate the way that makes me feel.
So I decided years ago that I was not going to put that pressure on myself. Instead, I use the time I save and spend it in other areas that do bring me joy.
Now, does this mean that I don’t receive disapproving looks or that I’ve never been “cut off” by people who used to send me Christmas cards but then stopped after having never received one from me?
Far from it!
I’ve had a handful of relatives express their annoyance over the years. And I’m sure that the card collection I receive each year would be even more robust if I sent my own cards out.
But for me, it’s worth it for the sake of my time, energy, and sanity.
If you enjoy sending Christmas cards, fantastic! Hold on to that beloved tradition. But if, (like me) it brings you stress and not joy, please, LET IT GO!
2. get an Artificial Christmas Tree
I know, I know. I get that for many people, this is just blasphemous.
An artificial tree!?!
Until my oldest child was born, I would have called you crazy if you’d suggested that one day I would own a fake tree. But as an exhausted new mom, I just didn’t have the desire or energy to look for a real tree for my daughter’s first Christmas.
My husband and I agreed to buy an artificial tree we saw on sale and you know what? That tree is STILL with us, (17 years later!)
We’ve saved ourselves hundreds of dollars over the years. Packing it up and then getting it back out each December is super easy. We don’t have to remember to schedule a time to go pick out a tree or remember to add water each day or worry about it drying up and becoming a fire hazard.
And lighting a pine-scented candle provides the evergreen smell I so enjoy from fresh trees.
If having a real Christmas tree is important to you, go for it! But if it causes you angst and frustration, get yourself a fake one and join my stress-free tree club!
3. Only Purchase Gifts for the Children in yOur Extended Family
It hasn’t always been this way but several years ago I found myself lamenting (yet again) just how much money we were spending on gifts. It felt excessive and unnecessary.
I wondered if it was just me or if other extended family members felt the same way. I talked it over with my husband, and he agreed with me. We decided to approach our family about it and ask how they’d feel if we adults purchased gifts only for the children.
EVERYONE agreed it was a great idea! Having that momentarily uncomfortable conversation ended up saving a ton of stress and money, not to mention, time.
If the gift-giving in your life is feeling excessive, pricey, and stressful, consider having a heart-to-heart with loved ones and see if you can make some modifications.
4. Say “NO” A Lot!
I love holiday festivities! But if I’m not intentional, things can get out of hand FAST.
Between tree lightings, various parties, holiday concerts, cookie exchanges, and other gatherings, my calendar can start to look really overwhelming in no time at all.
I have a hunch you can relate.
And let’s be honest, illness runs rampant this time of year and someone in my family always goes down HARD at some point during the holiday season.
So I’ve learned to prioritize the events that are extra special to our family, and then practice saying “no” to all the rest.
Is this easy?
Nope, it usually isn’t. There are so many fun events and opportunities to enjoy!
But does it keep my family from exhaustion, crankiness, and frustration?
You bet! And the trade-off is worth it!
If your calendar is bursting with activities and you’re feeling frazzled, practice saying “no”!
To recap, here are the 4 simple tips I’ve got to help you make Christmas less stressful:
- Don’t Send Out Christmas Cards
- Get an Artificial Christmas Tree
- Only Purchase Gifts for the Children in Your Extended Family
- Say “NO” A Lot!
Now I’ve got a question for you…
Can you think of a few things you REALLY enjoy about the holidays?
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
For example, some of my absolute favorite things about this time of year are super simple.
Candles, indoor twinkly lights, fires in the fireplace, baking, listening to holiday music, watching Christmas movies with my family, and winding down early with a good book.
Things that are super simple and either free or really inexpensive.
How can you incorporate some of your favorite things about the holidays into your life in the coming days?
If you’re looking for some super simple, family-friendly holiday fun, check out the following blog posts:
5 Fun Things to do with Your Kids on Christmas Eve
10 Delightful Christmas Picture Books
10 Magical Picture Books to Celebrate Winter
And if you’re still in need of some last-minute gift ideas, check out my gift guides for inspiration!
Wishing you a stress-free, cozy, and peaceful Christmas!
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