I’m such a huge fan of the Christmas season. It has always felt so special to me.
One of my very favorite memories of Christmas growing up is when we’d all get together, extended family and all, and sing our favorite Christmas songs, tell stories, and play games until night fell. It’s like time stood still then. There was nowhere to go, no one else we needed to see, and no to-do list to be managed.
These days, it feels like the Christmas season goes way too fast. We’re always busy. Always stressed. Always rushing.
This year, I want to slow things down.
I want to really enjoy the season again. Focus on what’s important.
I want to sit with my family and sing Christmas songs and laugh and play games all night.
I want to look back and know that I was truly present in the season.
No stress. Just love, and joy, and togetherness. That’s what it’s all about, right?
2 years ago at Christmas, I had run myself so ragged that I ended up sick in bed with the flu. I missed a party with our close friends, had to send my husband out for all of the last minute shopping, and ended up canceling our annual gathering the weekend before Christmas.
That’s how stressed I was.
Last year, I slowed things down. I spent more time relaxing, and really got to enjoy the holiday. This year, I plan to do the same. I know it seems impossible to slow down and enjoy such a busy season, but I compiled a list of tips that have really helped me have a stress-free Christmas.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit and try to squeeze in all of the fun things that you can. There have been years where every single weekend is packed full of “fun” to the point where we just end up exhausted and needing a break!
This year we decided to simplify our plans. I’m not searching on Pinterest for “100 things to do during Christmas,” or browsing the local groups for all of the planned activities. No more scheduling out commitments every single weekend, either. I’m picking just a few things that we really want to do, and the rest can wait.
Another area we’re simplifying is our to-do list. Things like Christmas cards, detailed handmade gifts, intricate wrapping paper, and volunteering for every single school event are huge stressors for me.
These are all things I don’t have to do, either. We can say no to the things that stress us out! Doing so gives us more time to say yes to the things that are most important! So, this year, I’ve taken a step back from school events (I’m doing some, but not all). I still haven’t even taken a Christmas picture, so cards are probably out. And for the first year ever, I’m cutting back on handmade gifts! I even bought my kids some knit hats instead of knitting my own.
Anywhere I can save a little time and energy, I will. That’s not to say those are the things you should cut out. I’m a firm believer in sticking with what brings you joy, and doing away with the rest. Maybe you love sending cards, but stress out over planning a huge meal. Do the things you love, and simplify the rest.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of planning things out. My whole life goes in my planner, and Christmastime is no different. I keep lists for various things, like:
- Gifts/food I still need to buy,
- Activities we want to do (Christmas light seeing, movies, ice skating, etc),
- Things I still need to do (wrap gifts, plan parties, etc).
I also make sure to sit down at least once a week and fill in my calendar with any obligations and plans that have come up. Before I started doing this, I was notorious for just not showing up when I was expected. This has saved me so many times!
If you don’t already have a planner, I highly suggest a ring-bound system, so that you can customize it and use it exactly the way you want to. You can see my full set-up here!
3. Take care of yourself.
This one is so, so important. Make sure that no matter what else you do during the Christmas season, you stop and take some time for you.
Take a long hot bath.
Watch your favorite Christmas movie.
Sit down and read a book.
Take time to sit in meditation, and really re-fill your cup.
As women, we put so much pressure on ourselves every day. During the holidays, it that pressure is multiplied even further, and it’s easy to push too far.
Go easy on yourself. Take some time to rest and really appreciate what is going on around you. Maybe some of your gifts end up in gift bags instead of wrapped to perfection.
Maybe you have one less side on the table for your Christmas meal.
Remember that it’s okay if things are less than perfect sometimes. It’s a worthy trade-off for your health and well-being.
Related: How I Destress After a Long Day
I hope you all have a wonderful, stress-free Christmas season! Do you have any tips for staying stress-free during the holidays? Feel free to share them in the comments below! And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter if you want access to my resource library, full of printables to help you get your planner started.