Christmas can be a super stressful time. There are all kinds of reasons for this, really. It could be just all the added places you need to go and demands placed on your time. Maybe you’re like me and it’s all the added places you have to go in addition to it being wintertime. Maybe the holidays are stressful because of strained relationships or having to see people who make your life more difficult. It could be that the holidays are stressful because you lost a family member or friend who you would give anything to be with during this time of year. Maybe the ache of lost loved ones just rips your heart out during this time of the year. It could be that the holidays are stressful because your Christmas shopping budget is tight or because you have no money to spend on Christmas at all. Whatever your reason, the holidays are often the most stressful time of the year. But, having a stress free Christmas is all in what you do to overcome what you can control about the season.
The thing is, most of the things I listed above (& whatever it is that makes your holidays so stressful) are things that you can’t control. I can’t control these things either. This is why they key to having more stress free Christmas lies in focusing on what you actually can control.
And that is exactly what we’re going to be talking about.
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When life feels out of control, I think feelings of stress, overwhelm, frustration, and even depression so often follow. Whether you’re talking about a crazy schedule, clutter in your home, or spending that is out of control, these things should make you feel stressed out.
Really, how could they not?
The things I’m going to share with you here aren’t going to be able to “fix” things like I listed above. I can’t bring your loved one back, I can’t tell you how to fix your strained relationships, and I can’t make winter go away (much to my deep disappointment).
But, have you ever noticed how life feels just a little less overwhelming if you can create order and peace in at least a few areas?
If not, you are in for a real treat because that is just what following these secrets will do for you.
I actually chose the word “secrets” very carefully here. To me, secrets are things that most people don’t know.
Honestly, I think most people just accept holiday chaos and Christmas stress as part of the deal. We think it’s normal to want to pull our hair out.
But normal does’t mean it has to be this way.
I don’t have to accept all the holiday chaos and stress, and neither do you.
The good news is, I’ve figured out what will help melt the stress away.
Just keep reading and follow these 12 secrets to melting away the Christmas stress this year.
(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you.)
1. Set three goals
There are so many things that you could do, that you should do, and that you have to do this Christmas season. But, what about what you want to do? So often what we actually want to do falls along the wayside this time of year.
But should it?
I say not.
So, out of everything you do this holiday season, make sure you’re doing three things that are important to you.
I’ll show you what I mean.
My three goals would be things I love to do with my family but often just don’t have the time. However, by following these steps I will have the time needed to do these three things.
My three goals are: reading a Christmas book every night before bed, doing the Christmas boxes, and reading the book about Christmas traditions.
To me, if these things get done, I will feel like I got done what mattered to me. I will feel like I had control over my holidays rather than the other way around. Therefore, I will feel much less stress about all the other things that happen or don’t happen this Christmas.
2. Plan to implement those three goals
If don’t have luck accomplishing your goals, it could very well be because this step is missing. Goals, even if they are written goals, will seldom happen if you haven’t planned for them to happen.
That is what this step is all about.
Once you have your three goals decided, determine what is needed to actually make them happen.
In my case, we will need to be more efficient in cleaning up dinner so we have more time in the evenings before bed to do the three things listed above.
Take your three goals listed above and figure out what you need to do in order to make those happen.
3. Fill everything else in around those
Once you have those three things planned first (& only when you have these three things planned) everything else gets filled in around it.
This always an essential step in accomplishing any goals, and it is also what is often missing.
4. Say yes to less this holiday season
If you are like me, you may tend to overcommit or to bite off more than you can chew. Maybe you agree to take on more than you should and more than you can accomplish.
In fact, it might be more than anyone can really accomplish.
The truth is, saying yes to too many things not only causes you stress during the Christmas season, but it also causes your family stress if you’re a mom.
Not to mention, taking on too much usually means that you’re not doing any of the things you’ve committed to proper justice.
Think about it. If you do three things really well or six things halfway, which is better?
And, which makes you feel better?
Doing things halfway often leaves us feeling like we’ve failed in some way. And, this only adds to the stress and strain of the Christmas season.
5. Give a hard and fast no
When you say less to yes, this means you’ll most likely have to say no to something. And, you don’t have to justify that no.
I think so often we feel like we have to explain our no. And really, we don’t.
If you do feel as though you need to give any kind of explanation a simple, ‘I don’t have the time to do this things justice right now” will do.
6. Don’t forget about a compromise
If there is something you just can’t walk away from, maybe a compromise will be better. Rather than being in charge of the gift exchange this year you can simply do a small part to help. Instead of volunteering at your child’s school during December you can volunteer in January.
Before saying yes, if you feel like you can’t say no, find a compromise that will cause you less stress and place more demands on your life that you don’t have at this time.
Maybe instead of visiting family on Christmas Day, you could visit them on Christmas Eve during the day, or the weekend before or after.
Maybe instead of sending out 50 Christmas cards, you whittle does your list to just 10 cards this year.
7. Guard your time
In making the goals you listed happen, don’t schedule something that will make it impossible to meet your goals. When getting caught up in the hustle and bustle, we can so easily feel pressured to set aside what is important to us for what feels more urgent at the time.
But again, your goal this year is to feel less stress this Christmas. This means that what is important to you does matter, and you’re going to protect your time in making sure that you and your goals matter.
8. Schedule down time in the midst of the holiday rush
The holiday rush. The Christmas hustle and bustle. The endless list of places to see and things to do. We all face it, and we all feel it.
But, there is nothing that is a one-way ticket to Christmas stress more than not scheduling yourself some time to refocus and recharge.
I know, I know.
I hear you saying, “I don’t have enough time to get everything done as it is. How can I take some time off just to do nothing???”
I say this same thing.
But, there will be always more you can do.
If you don’t take the make the time to do less, you will always do more.
So in this step, schedule yourself some down time. Maybe it will be a few minutes every day or maybe it will only be an hour on the weekend.
Whatever downtime you think you need, double it and then schedule it.
9. Make time for Christmas fun
With so much going on, has Christmas even been fun for you lately? Has Christmas been fun for your kids? Has Christmas been fun for you as a family?
If you take an honest look and see that all the stress of Christmas has taken all the fun out of it, you’re not the only one.
With so many have to-s and not near enough fun planned, how can Christmas be any fun?
Following these 10 things, really following them, should bring some of the fun right back into Christmas.
I even have a hard time remembering, but Christmas really is supposed to be fun no matter your age.
While it is normal to be so overwhelmed with everything you have to do, fun will only happen if you make it happen.
Drive around to look at Christmas lights, go to a holiday concert, watch a fun family Christmas movie, or do whatever it is that would be fun for you and your family this year.
And then do it.
10. Accept good enough
There are so many things we stress about more than we should because we are striving for perfection. There comes a time when good enough is just going to be good enough. And if you’re trying to have a stress free Christmas, now is the perfect time.
So often we are the only ones expecting perfection out of ourselves. In most cases, good enough will always be perfect for others.
This Christmas, let good enough be perfect for you, too.
11. Simplify your gift buying
There is nothing like finding someone just the perfect gift. But sometimes, this comes at the expense of your sanity.
This year, don’t do it.
Choose to shop online. Choose to buy gift cards. Give experiences rather than gifts. Shorten your gift list.
There are all kinds of ways you can simply the gift buying process as well as the actual gifts you buy.
Doing so will allow you to have the stress free Christmas you’ve always dreamed of.
12. Get enough sleep
Last but certainly not least is to make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Skimping on sleep is a fast pass to Christmas stress, Christmas overwhelm, and Christmas exhaustion.
Resist the urge to sacrifice your sleep to meet the demands you feel are placed upon you this Christmas season.
With all the stresses that come with the Christmas season, it’s so easy to become overwhelmed and allow everything of emotional value to be drained from your holiday season.
Follow these 12 secrets to watch all the stress melt away so you can enjoy your holidays this year!