7 Things That Will Help You Enjoy A Stress-Free Holiday Season
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WRITTEN BY RALUCA S.
I can clearly remember the most difficult holiday season that I ever had. It happened 5 years ago, two months after my son was born. I was still getting used with caring for a newborn and the sleepless nights made me feel more exhausted than ever. But I still insisted on preparing for the holiday season the way I used to do it before becoming a mom.
Soon I ended up with a lot of things added on my to-do list: meals to prep, gifts to buy, decorations to choose, cards to write. I tried to keep up with everything, but I only got more tired and overwhelmed. It kept getting worse as Christmas was approaching. Instead of enjoying the holiday season I was feeling more and more frustrated.
One evening I decided to dress my baby in some lovely Christmas pajamas that had cute reindeers on them. He even had a very nice elf hat that looked great on him. I turned off the lights and sat next to his crib to wait for him to fall asleep. I just sat there looking at his cute little face lid up by the Christmas lights on the balcony. He looked so wonderful! I slipped my hand inside the crib, and he grabbed my finger with his tiny hand and fell asleep holding me.
That night I realized that in the middle of the holiday rush I forgot to slow down and enjoy the things that mattered the most. It was my son’s first Christmas, and I wanted to enjoy every minute of it. So the next day I decided to let go of all the things that were just adding stress to our holidays. It wasn’t an easy thing to do because I am a recovering perfectionist, but I felt that it was the right thing for us. And I was right!
We spent the Christmas days at home, just the three of us. So we didn’t stress out about the meals, the decorations, the holiday visits. We had a wonderful Christmas tree, a few gifts under the tree, but most of all, we had plenty of time to enjoy each other.
That was the last year that I let holiday stress overwhelm me. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let it happen again and I started to find ways to prevent it.
In the last 4 years, I focused on ways to simplify Christmas and bring more joy to our home during the holiday season. As my son grew up, it felt even more important to make sure that we spend quality time together during the holidays.
This is how I discovered easy tips and ideas that help me conquer the holiday stress and make this time of the year more special and meaningful for all of us. I’m glad to share all these tips with you!
1. Plan everything in advance
Taking care of the things on your to-do list in the last minute always brings more stress! So make sure to make your holiday planning in advance. For example, try to buy all the gifts before the start of December. The deals on Black Friday are perfect for finding awesome gifts at great prices. I always make a list on Amazon where I gather gift ideas throughout the year. When Black Friday comes, I only need to check the list and see what product have great discounts. This makes things a lot easier for me, and it also helps with keeping the budget under control.
2. Let go of perfection and accept “good enough.”
If you are a perfectionist like I was (and I still am sometimes) this can be a challenging task. But letting go of perfection will bring so much joy in your life! You will not worry anymore about all the things that you “should do,” and you’ll have more time for the things that you really want to do. Your house doesn’t have to look perfect. Your meals don’t have to look like those awesome meals you see on Pinterest.
The truth is that your family doesn’t need perfection. They need you to be happy and present! This is all that really matters: the happy moments that you enjoy with your loved ones.
3. Say “YES!” to the fun
Don’t let the tasks on your list steal the joy of Christmas! Start the holiday season with a bucket list and make sure to do little things that make your family happy every day!
4. Say “no” more often
Making more time for family fun means that you’ll also need to say “no” to those things that only add stress to your schedule. Unnecessary appointments, boring holiday visits, holiday activities that your family doesn’t enjoy. I used to have a difficult time saying “no” to family members and friends, but I realized that what matters the most to me is spending time with my son and my husband. And I don’t want to miss happy moments with them for the sake of some activities that don’t bring us joy.
5. Schedule time to relax in the midst of the holiday rush
With so many activity ideas and holiday tasks, it’s easy to overschedule every day. But this only makes Christmas more stressful! So make sure to add relaxing activities to your schedule, so you don’t exhaust by the end of the holiday season. The easiest way to do this is to plan a “distraction free” hour every evening. During that hour don’t plan any activities and shut down any distractions. You’ll be amazed at how beneficial this can be for the whole family!
6. Schedule time to relax in the midst of the holiday rush
There are plenty of holiday activity ideas that you can find online but this doesn’t mean that they are right for your family. Instead of choosing “traditional” activities that you don’t fully enjoy try this: At the end of November create a holiday bucket list. Invite all the family members to come up with ideas and decide on one easy activity to do together every day until Christmas.
7. Simplify gift buying
Spending endless hours in stores looking for the right gifts is exhausting!
Here are some alternatives that are a lot less stressful:
- Write down gift ideas for everyone on your list ahead of time. If possible find online stores that sell them so you avoid crowded stores. Bookmark the links to every gift and save all the links in a file on your computer. On Black Friday or Cyber Monday check out all the links and take advantage of any discounts that the stores are offering.
- Offer experiences instead of gifts. This will not only make gift buying easier but it will help you offer special gifts that will bring joy to your loved ones.
- Set a goal to buy all the gifts before December 1st. This will allow you to enter the holiday season a lot more relaxed knowing that you’ve prepared all the gifts.