Strategies for a Stress-free Christmas

If any sort of countdown to Christmas throws you in a panic, then you might feel some tension about the happiest time of the year. It happens to all of us at some point. We tend to white-knuckle our way through the jolly holiday instead of feeling joy. No more of that unnecessary strain this year! Here are a few suggestions to lighten the Christmas load and transform the holiday from burden to blessing.

Take it day by day.

Yes, we know! There’s a lot to do before Christmas comes, but there’s no need to stress about things that can’t be done right away. Make a list of tasks each day and check them off as they are completed to help make things a little easier.

Don’t overschedule the family with holiday events.

Instead, have a family meeting and share one or two events each family member would like to do. Then, pick from the events shared and put them on your calendar. Give you and your family a break. You don’t have to attend every holiday happening this season.

Have a gift-free Christmas.

Focus on creating memories this holiday season and cut out the gifts. Instead of stressful shopping, take this time to get out and explore, or take a family trip to a place everyone wants to go. It will be a great and memorable vacation for all.

Gift three gifts for each child.

If it was good enough for Jesus, then it’s good enough for the kids. Seriously, though, practicing the “Wise Men” method means giving each child three gifts. This minimalism helps encourage gratitude and discourage entitlement. The three gift rule also helps alleviate stress and financial burden on the parents.

Wrap as you go.

Don’t save all of the gift wrapping for the night before Christmas. Instead, as you get gifts, wrap them and put them under the tree (if you can, of course!). It will save you a lot of time.

Stay at home.

Put away the suitcases and don’t bother filling up the car, either. Simply stay at home this holiday season and enjoy family time. Don’t rush to family dinner after family dinner, but instead cuddle up on the couch with the kids and enjoy some great holiday films.

Cook simple meals.

Stick with what you know how to do in the kitchen! Don’t stress about making grand holiday meals that you will need to phone a friend over. And if you can, plan ahead. When cooking daily meals for your family, double the recipe and freeze half so you will have something ready to go in case any surprise visitors show up at your door.

Make an Amazon wishlist.

Have friends and family create their own Amazon wishlists to help with gift giving. Children have the right idea writing their Christmas lists, and adults can make their own, too! Help one another out by setting up an accessible list that anyone can use.

Be an as-you-go cleaner.

Having children running around while you are trying to clean for your guests’ arrivals makes the cleaning process harder. Instead of saving the cleaning all for one day, clean as you go.

Schedule some self care.

The hustle and bustle can drain us of our energy. This is a wonderful time to care for others and show love to your family, but take some time for yourself as well. Steal a few minutes here and there to read a good book, pray, drink a cup of coffee, practice yoga, go on a walk, or work out at the gym. Maintain your health and sanity by not forgetting yourself. ■

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01 Dec 2016

By Joy Holden and Amanda Miller

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