De-Stressing Christmas

November 17, 2015, by Christy

Over the past few years, Christmas has become stressful.  I work almost full time, spend most of my evenings and weekends transporting kids from activity to activity and as soon as Halloween is over I start to stress about Christmas.

Where am I going to fit in all the added Christmas items in my already full schedule?

When I was a kid, Christmas was my favorite day of the year, even better than my birthday!  It was a big family gathering, lots of presents, and lots of food.  Of course I loved it as a child, I didn't have to do anything.

Now as a grown woman with kids of my own I realize how much work goes into prepping a 'perfect' Christmas.  Don't get me wrong, I want to do it.  I want my kids to have wonderful memories of their childhood Christmases, but doing so doesn't come without lengthening the to do list that was already  long in the first place.

I get anxiety just thinking about all the things that I want to do between now and Christmas.

Over the past few years, I have made a conscious effort to enjoy the Christmas season and letting some things slide.  Instead of trying to do too much, I've focused on the parts that I want my kids to remember.  The things that are important to our family.

In no particular order, here are some of things that have helped me reduce the stress and increase the enjoyment of my favorite season of the year.

Try to finish my Christmas shopping in November.  If I can have all my shopping done before December , I am thrilled.  Then I can enjoy the month of December with my kids looking at Christmas lights, watching movies, wrapping the presents beside the Christmas tree, and not going to the mall.  Then my youngest son was born in early November and now Christmas shopping doesn't officially begin until after his birthday.

Shop online.  One of the most stressful things about Christmas for me is shopping and trying to find the perfect gift for all the people on my list.  The mall is usually my happy place, but during December it is too busy, too hot, and just a place I choose to avoid.  This also forces me to shop early as you need to make sure you allow time your package to arrive.

Choose traditions that you want to continue and don't stress about the others.  When you get married and have kids, all of a sudden you realize that you can't recreate every tradition that each of you had growing up, so you have to pick the ones that work for your little family and run with it.  For us, decorating the tree together was a tradition on both sides of the family and one that both of wanted to recreate for our own kids.  It make my heart smile to see our own kids enjoy decorating the kids together.

Reducing gifts to buy.  For me, Christmas is all about the kids.  I want the kids to open their gifts and to squeal in delight because it was exactly what they wanted.  This doesn't happen every year, but that is the goal. This year they want the Lego Death Star at a whopping $600. Not gonna happen.  While I am busy focusing on buying for my kids and nieces and nephew, we've backed off on buying for adult siblings.  In some cases we draw names and other we opted out completely.  It reduces the stress of figuring out what to buy someone that is probably stressing about what to buy for you!

Order your Christmas cards early.  While some would say this is something you could eliminate all together, I disagree.  I love opening the mail at Christmas and finding cards instead of bills.  We send out a Christmas cards and have chosen not to write personal messages on them. I print address labels and return labels to make the job easier.  I get them all ready and drop them in the mail the first week of December.

Saying No.  December can be a busy time of month with school parties, adult parties, office parties, friend get together, and the list goes on.  Remember that you don't have to say yes to every invitation.  This is one I'm still working on.  I want to go to all the events and I need to learn that if it makes my life more stressful that I am best to pass on the invitation.

Schedule time in your calendar.  For example, since the tree decorating is important to our family, it is scheduled into our family calendar so no one makes plans that afternoon.  Staying organized is key to minimizing stress over the holidays.

I hope that you have taken away at least one item that will help you slow down this holiday season and remember the real meaning of Christmas.

Christy is working mom to 2 boys and a wife to James.  She loves everything to do with family, friends, fashion, fitness... and wine!