The holiday season is notoriously stressful and busy, but it doesn’t have to be that way! Learn how to keep the magic alive and enjoy the season with your kids without having an anxiety attack. Read on for tips for a stress free Christmas!
Happy holidays! Are you guys all geared up and ready to go? What makes this time of year magical at your house??
I love Christmas time and I know I’m not alone! But one of my frustrations is the talk of how “busy” everyone is. I mean, I know there are lots of things going on: gift-buying, decorating, parties, recitals and service opportunities. And if we really let ourselves, we can feel like we’re drowning in overwhelm. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
I noticed that during the last few years, I’ve felt a pretty prevailing feeling of calm during the holidays and so I recently began exploring why I wasn’t feeling stressed out! I came up with a few things that have helped me stay sane and wanted to share them. I hope they help you find some holiday joy!
Lower Your Expectations
At a time of year rife with traditions, it can be easy to feel like we have to do everything, sometimes just because we always have! But each activity brings both pros and cons with it and it’s up to us to determine whether or not each one serves us well.
Take, for example, decorating gingerbread houses. I love this tradition and so do my kids, but it makes a BIG mess, especially when multiplied by 8 kids. And the mess stresses me out. So is doing this activity with my kids worth the mess and the stress it brings? Maybe; maybe not! Depending on the year and my level of commitments in other areas of my life, sometimes I can say yes to this tradition and sometimes I just can’t. And I’m OK with that! Just because it’s been a tradition in past years, doesn’t mean that I have to do it every time.
Christmas (or Hanukkah, or whatever you celebrate) can be magical without LOTS of things. You don’t need an immaculately decorated tree (or really any decorations at all!) or fancy gifts for your family or cookies for the neighbors. I like to decide on a few important things that I want to commit to each season and give myself permission to just let the rest go.
This year, my priorities are hosting a cookie exchange with friends, going to a couple of low-maintenance parties, buying gifts from Amazon and finishing my baby’s stocking. And I might give up on that last one if I run out of time because she’s too young to notice anyway.
Bring it back to basics
When I’m tempted to commit to too many obligations, I try to remind myself of what the ultimate goal of the holidays is. For me, it’s to remember and teach my children about Christ and His birth. There’s really very little about the everyday hustle and bustle of holiday obligations that fulfills this objective! And so when I remember this, it’s easy for me to say no to those things.
Will going to yet another Christmas party help me remember Christ? Probably not, so that’s a “no”. Will adding a service project to help a needy family help me and my children think of Christ? Probably! Let’s try to make it happen.
Maybe your main objective during the holidays is just to spend more time with your family or to show your kids you love them. Then make sure your activities align with this! And feel free to throw away the excessive expectations that don’t help you meet this goal.
I hope that your holiday season is filled with nothing but joy and love this year! And that you’re able to peacefully let go of any obligation or commitment that doesn’t enrich your life.
P.S. If you want to listen to an awesome podcast episode about this topic, download Jody Moore’s episode on “busyness” here. I loved it!
Photos by Photography Hill