Enjoying the Holidays Without the Stress

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the holidays played out like they do in Christmas movies? In reality, the holidays can be much more chaotic, filled with hassling decorations, frantic last minute shopping, and stressful party planning. I have definitely been there! Instead, use these 4 simple steps to relax, and truly enjoy this special time of the year instead of letting the stress of the holidays turn you into a grinch.

Simplify
If you’re like me, you get caught up in doing a ton of extra things to make the holidays special to the point where you’re not really enjoying the days leading up to Christmas. Instead of spending the whole month worrying about getting every single thing you have to get done from present giving to Christmas dinner, spend some time figuring out how to simplify those things. If you love having a big feast on Christmas Day, look for dishes you can buy from the store instead of cooking it all. I promise, they’ve come a long way from the days of the Banquet frozen meals – anyone besides me remember those? Literally take inventory of everything you have to do and see the ways you can take the load off some of those tasks.

 

 

Ask for Help
One of the reasons the holidays become so stressful is because so many of us attempt to do everything on our to-do list by ourselves. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family and friends. In fact, this can be a great way to incorporate everyone into the process, and can make for great memories. Believe it or not, I’ve found that some really do want to be involved and feel left out if they aren’t. If you have younger kids you can even turn it into a fun game! For example, have them sort ornaments by color to help put on the tree or put sprinkles on the cookies. I loved the sprinkles Mama let me put on her butter cookies – yummy! Enjoy the bonding that happens through teamwork, and in the end, the whole family will be able to enjoy the results of their contribution altogether. Another great benefit of allowing others to help you is that you’ll have more time to do the things you actually enjoy doing during the holidays.

 

 

Have a Plan and Get it Done
Everything about the holidays can quickly become stressful if you wait until the last minute to do it. To completely avoid getting yourself in a frenzied, stressful situation be like Santa, and use a list to plan out every detail and check off an item every day. When you break things down into smaller parts, it’s a lot easier to handle and you can see the progress you’re making. Shopping your local small businesses is a great way to support your local community and avoid the crowds and mile long checkout lines at the big box stores. I bet some shops will even have cookies and hot apple cider to make your visit a relaxing one and really get you in the Christmas mood! Put on Christmas music while you’re cooking, decorating, or driving. Sing along to lift your spirits. Stop by a coffee place and get yourself a Christmas flavored drink to take along with you on your shopping adventure. Picture the perfect Christmas movie scene and then make it happen for you!

 

 

Stay Present
The best present you can give yourself during the holidays, is to actually enjoy this time of the year. Instead of trying to think about the next thing you have to do, root yourself into the moment you’re in at that time, and really notice the people, conversations, and things around you. Spend quality time with your loved ones, enjoy your favorite holiday foods, notice the details of the decorations, and enjoy the seasonal smells. These are the things that you’ll remember for years to come, so make the memories truly memorable. It’s been decades, but I still remember Mama Blanche’s fried quail and it always brings special memories.

Try out some of these tips to really get the most out of this Christmas season. By simplifying the tasks you have to do, asking for help, making your plans delightful, and staying present, you’re setting yourself up to truly make this Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.

I would love to know what you do to take the stress out of the holidays!