If you’re like me, the holidays bring a great source of joy and excitement, but they also dump a heap of stressors on an already busy environment. Sometime around the end of October, you think you’ve finally gotten a handle on the back-to-school routine, and Thanksgiving shows up. Then, you ease into the cold weather and the change in daylight hours just in time for the hustle and bustle of Christmas.
Here are five tips for de-stressing your home around the holidays
1. Take it as it comes.
Try not to worry about being perfect. Have a sick kid the night of hubby’s work party? No problem. Drop your casserole on your way into the church potluck? No big deal. Forget you agreed to bake for the fourth-grade party? Oh, well. Give yourself a break. Not only will you be way more chill as those stressful things happen, you’ll be more enjoyable to be around, and you’ll make everyone else feel better about themselves (because it’s happening to them, too!)
2. Weed through the have-to’s.
Sure. The Joneses send out sparkly Christmas cards with a new family photo each year. Everyone in the family even signs the card—including the dog! But, hey, you’ve been trying to keep up with those doggone Joneses for years and look where it’s gotten you!
This year, weed through the list of things you think you have to do—sending out cards, gifting everyone in town including the bank tellers, baking an assortment of cookies and treats that would rival Cake Boss, wrapping gifts like you’re entering a contest, etc—and pick some things you WANT to do. The rest of the stuff? Cut it. Free up your time and energy for the things you want to do. Everyone will be happier with a less stressed you, and I guarantee, no one will notice that every gift has a silver, stick-on bow.
3. Make a new tradition. But let the kids help.
I plan to make old-fashioned cookies, with cookie cutters, with my kids this year. We’ll decorate them together and enjoy the process more than the result. What have your kids been begging for you to do with them or to allow them to help with? There are tons of crafty-decoration ideas on Pinterest—do a little search and let the kids pick something to do together.
Other ideas for traditions:
- Work in a soup kitchen
- Send gifts to the soldiers overseas
- Invite someone needy over to share the holiday
- Name a family Christmas carol
- Change gift-giving traditions
- Select a family-favorite Christmas movie
- The Twelve Days of Christmas
Half the family likes colored lights; half likes white? Yeah, I get that one. And since I’m the mom, shouldn’t I get to decide? Maybe. But it’s about them, isn’t it? What about a compromise? They do sell strands of lights that switch from white to assorted colors on a timer, and then back again. It’s that kind of compromise that makes everyone feel special. It’s their Christmas, too. Compromise with music selections, side dishes on the holiday table, baked goods on the dessert trays, gifting budgets, etc.
5. Remember the reason for the season.
Above all, we need to remember that we set the tone for attitude and expectation. Are we robbing the joy and excitement of the Christmas season by being grumpy? What memories are your kids building about the season? Are they going to remember that they went to each even with a stressed-out, rushed, unkempt mom because of the last-minute scramble?
Or are they going to remember singing carols about the newborn King and sitting around the fire with a hot cocoa? Powered hot cocoa is fine—no shredding Godiva chocolate is allowed!
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
***photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net, the greeting card by digitalart
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