The countdown to Christmas has already begun and if you find yourself getting a little anxious about the holidays, you’re not alone. Women often put a lot of pressure on themselves to make this time of year extra special for their families. Here are some tips for a stress-free holiday and to getting the most out of this season without getting your bow all undone so-to-speak:
1) Less is more! When it comes to giving your children gifts, there is nothing wrong with a little holiday joy, but if you think you might be overdoing it with the presents, you may want to stash some of those gifts for next year. Consider your gifts carefully and don’t overspend. Going into debt is not going to help your stress level after the gifts are all opened. One of best gifts you can give is the gift of your time! Perhaps gift certificates to your child’s favorite amusement park or the zoo could take the place of that expensive gift your child might play with a handful of times.
2) Cherish the moments. I know this sounds like a given, but it’s not so easy to do when anxiety takes a hold of you. Think about what you enjoy the most about this time of year and put it on the calendar. Maybe it’s taking your kids sledding, seeing the Nutcracker or sipping hot cocoa by the fire. If this means getting your gifts wrapped by Thanksgiving, make it happen in order to get the most out of your December.
3) Make your holiday card stress-free. If your family is anything like mine, getting the perfect picture for your holiday card is no easy feat! Decide if sending out cards every year is really necessary. With social media, more familes are foregoing the cards and sending out their holiday letters and photos through the internet. If getting cards in the mail is important to you, consider sending out a photo from a summer vacation or have fun with your family during this picture time. For a stress-free holiday card put on some mustaches and make your photo a silly one for a change!
4) Serve others. One of the best lessons in life is the gift of helping others. There is no better gift for your children than teaching them to give of their time. Watching the joy on someone’s face when you give them a gift or serve them food from a food bank with some love and kindness is priceless. This experience often makes the best family memories.
5) Set healthy boundaries. We all know family obligations can be stressful. Make sure you have a balance between spending time with those family members and friends that can drain your energy. It’s great to see these people over the holidays and give of your time, but make sure you’re not putting your stress level and those of your kids on edge by making time to meet with people who are going to bring you down. Healthy boundaries is one of the best things you can model for your kids.
Overall, invest your time and energy in the right places this year and avoid stressful things like last minute shopping. Plan ahead so you can really enjoy the time with your family this year. Maybe that means getting away from the normal routine this year or just doing less. Remember, the object is to lower your stress level, not outdo your neighbor by adding 300 more lights to your house.
One of my familiy’s favorite parts of the holiday season is the
Advent calendar we do leading up to celebrating Christmas. I hide notes in little gold boxes around the house for the 24 days leading up to Christmas and my kids look for the notes that say “Read an old Christmas story” or “Cuddle up by the fire with a cup of cocoa”. I don’t spend of lot of money on these things, but rather put the effort on quality time. Check out Pinterest for tons of ideas on Advent calendars and enjoy this holiday season STRESS-FREE!