Not enjoying the holidays lately? Ditch the stress and create a more meaningful holiday season with your family.
For many, the holidays can be a time of stress. Tangled Christmas lights, busy malls, tons of cooking, cleaning, guests, etc… It can leave you dreading the holidays. It doesn’t have to be like that though.
We need to bring the magic and love back to the holiday season. The holidays should be a time of joy not dread. Think about your favorite holiday memories, are they of the most expensive gifts you’ve gotten or fun times spent with loved ones? Or maybe a gift that came from someone’s heart. These are the things that normally make the biggest impact in the long run, yet we stress over those details we don’t remember.
This holiday season try to focus on the important things and put those things on your to-do lists. The other things may also matter to you but try to put them very far down the list and be okay with it if they don’t happen. Last year I never sent out Christmas cards, this made me sad but I knew other things needed to come first. It was still a great Christmas. And this year I’m putting, even more, effort into the important things and stressing less about the rest, and you can as well.
Decide What is Important
Think about what is really important to you about the holidays. Also, talk to your loved ones about it. Put those things on the top of your to-do list and make sure they come before the other things.
Maybe your family normally has a holiday party but no one really has the time to host this year. Instead of stressing about it, go out somewhere together instead. Maybe there is a fun holiday event in your town you can all go to. Then no one has to worry about clean up, cooking, and all the other prep work.
Gifts are a lot of fun and I love shopping for friends and family. However, most of us have far more than we need. And things aren’t what really matters, the people that love us and the memories we make are what matters.
Consider giving the gift of experiences this year instead of so many physical gifts. This is better for the environment and more meaningful. The experiences don’t have to be expensive, many can even be free.
My best friend and I used to skip giving each other gifts and instead would go eat and shop together after Christmas. We’d use any money or gift cards we got for Christmas so we didn’t spend much money. It was a lot of fun to spend the time together and far more special than material things.
Also, consider starting some new traditions. There are traditions that are perfect for everyone, families, couples, kids, and you can even have your own traditions. One tradition I have for myself is to watch Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas while decorating my office and then after it’s all done I watch Miracle on 34th Street.
Consider doing something to give back to others this holiday season. Nothing reduces stress or brings happiness quite like helping someone else.
Volunteer at a soup kitchen, give to a toy drive, take some cookies to your local fire station, buy a stranger’s coffee, there are so many options, big or small.
You can even do one random act of kindness every day in December. Coffee Cups and Crayons has a great printable calendar already filled out with something to do each day. Or you can print off a blank calendar and fill it in yourself.
Simplify Your Holidays
The biggest thing you can do to reduce your holiday stress is to simplify. Write down everything you’d like to do and have to do this holiday season. Mark which things you truly have to get done and then rank other things in order of importance. After that write how much time each thing will take you and when it would need to be done by. And after you do all of that, figure out a reasonable to-do list. You can have an “if I have time” section but be prepared to not do anything on that list and to be okay with it.
I recommend reading my book A Stress-Free Christmas for more great tips on having a simpler holiday season. It is a quick read that is very helpful when you want a less stressful holiday.