It seems like every year, everyone is searching for the best stress free holiday tips to stay sane during the impending hustle and bustle. Having a perfectly stress free holiday is always the goal. Am I right? I know it is for me. November and December are a busy time for our family. Four out of five of us have birthdays in November. My husband and my anniversary is in November, and of course, there is Thanksgiving. Then comes December. My husband is a pastor, which means lot of extra commitments on his schedule. Furthermore, the kids are off schedule because of school breaks. All of these things are outside of my control. I have had lot of opportunities to practice the art of giving myself grace and letting go during this season. But, like everyone else, I also want the holidays to be filled with peace, wonder, and awe. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and I want to slow down and enjoy the magic too. So, how do we accomplish both? How do we meet our commitments well without getting completely stressed out? Well, here are my practical and easy stress free holiday tips that you can actually accomplish this year.
Write It All Down
If you’re like me, there are so many things that you want to accomplish during the holidays. Not only are there outside obligations and commitments, but there are family activities and traditions to participate in as well. My tip is write every single thing down. Make a list of all the things you hope to do during this season. Then, transfer everything to your calendar. Schedule everything – the big and small things. For example, every year we make homemade gingerbread houses and cookies, and we have a little decorating party with the kids. I need to make sure I plan which night we want to do this. Otherwise before I know it, it’s the week of Christmas, and I will be frantically trying to squeeze in the tradition last minute.
Do What Brings You Joy
Speaking of that list you made. You have permission to cross of things that do not bring you joy. If the last couple of years taught us anything, it is that life is too short to spend time doing things that rob you of your joy. This year, I know I do not have the capacity to do a daily advent activity and devotion with my children. As a homeschooling pastor’s wife, this feels almost sacrilegious! But I know it is not. We will experience the glory and birth of our Savior in other ways that fill all of us with joy instead of feeling cumbersome. I know that we will not be able to attend every single event our city offers. However, I do know that what we do choose to do, we will do it wholeheartedly. So my friend, it is okay to do less when that means you can do it well. If you’re interested in reading more about editing your to do list, you can read my post from last year here.
Make Peace with Clutter
Clutter. Oh the clutter! This is a big one for me, so I am especially preaching to myself here. There is going to be extra things in your environment during the holidays. There are decorations, crafts, baking, and so on. We need to keep our expectations for a perfectly clean house in check. I can get visually overstimulated when there is random stuff every place my eyes land. Then, it feels like the wall are closing in on me. I know this about myself. To help mitigate this, I carefully consider what and how many decorations I put out each year. I also make sure there are areas in a room that my eyes can go to and rest. Maybe it’s leaving a corner of the living room without decorations, or maybe it’s taking some pieces of furniture out of the room before adding in any more decor. Also, because my kids are in the “toy years,” I make sure all the toys are picked up and put away at the end of the day. This is a habit I already have, but it is even more important to achieve a stress free holiday season.
Have a Wrapping Party
This is my favorite stress free holiday tip! Wrapping presents can feel like a chore all too often. Instead of thinking of it as yet another thing to check off the list, make it a party. After the kids are in bed, open up a great bottle of wine. Make a scrumptious snack (I know you’ll be doing some great holiday baking!), then put on a cheesy, feel good Hallmark movie. Boom! Your chore is now a party. I usually do this twice during the holidays. Once to wrap friends and family’s gifts that go under the tree. Then again on Christmas Eve because, you know *wink*.
There you have it! My stress free holiday tips that you can actually accomplish this year. What do you do to manage your expectations during the holidays? Tell me about it in the comments below. If you enjoyed these tips, please share this with your friends and join my email list for extra goodies.