Hoping for a stress free Christmas this year? It’s possible when you put these 7 easy tips in action. That way, you’ll have a more joyous holiday season that you and your loved ones will treasure. Keep reading to find out how.
CONTENTS – In this article, you’ll learn easy ways to take the stress out of the holidays, including:
- Why the Holidays are So Stressful
- Make A To-Do List
- Know Your Budget
- Attend A Festive Party or Event
- Continue Healthy Habits
- Set Realistic Expectations
- Don’t be Afraid to Say No
- Final Thoughts on Stress-Free Christmas & Holidays
Why are Holidays So Stressful? | How to Take the Stress Out of the Holidays
While the holidays are supposed to be a fun time for all, sometimes they can also be overwhelming. Here are some of the most stressful things about Christmas.
- The weather is usually cold and snowy.
- You may be trying to juggle all your personal obligations with a full work schedule.
- The pressure to give the “perfect” gift to your littles and loved ones
- Preparations and planning for holiday entertaining
- Holiday budget woes.
With these holiday stresses, it’s easy to lose your holiday spirit and not have any fun.
Instead, learn how to take the stress out of the holidays so you can enjoy yourself and bring joy to those around you.
Whether you’re heading off a Christmas show in Lancaster PA or visiting family abroad, you’ll be much happier and more relaxed when you apply these 7 tips this season.
1. Make a To-Do List
The first thing you want to do is get organized. Start by making a to-do list that will help take the stress out of the holidays. This will keep you focused on the big picture and help you prioritize what needs to get done and when.
You want to be as realistic as possible about what really needs to get done. A to-do list will help you clearly see the scope of the tasks at hand.
That way, the list will ensure you have less floating around in your mind and you won’t forget anything important. It will also help you keep from getting distracted by all the holiday hubbub.
One of the things it may also help you with is sharing responsibilities. If there are certain things on the list that you can ask others for help with, like picking up last minute gift cards or helping you bake cookies, you can see that ahead of time.
Planning ahead is your best defense against feeling frustrated and out of sorts.
Related Article: Learn how to plant a live Christmas Tree this year
2. Create a Detailed Budget
Money is often a sore spot around the holidays. The trick is to spend within your means and not get up in the materialism of the season. A gift can simply be a gesture of thoughtfulness – it doesn’t need to be exorbitant. Otherwise, in addition to feeling stressed over the holidays, you’re going to feel financially burdened.
So, just as you have created a list of tasks to get done over the holidays, you’ll want to list out your holiday expenses. In addition to listing out each person on your list, include:
- Each Gift Recipient (don’t forget stocking stuffers)
- Decorations, including decor, lightin, Christmastree
- Holiday Food and Beverages for Entertaining
- Hostess Gifts and Pot-Luck Dishes
- Seasonal Attire
- Wrapping Supplies
- Holiday Cards & Postage
- Holiday Events
- Holiday Donations
It’s better to write everything out. You can always take things off the list or reduce the budget if you change your mind.
Minimizing Your Holiday Budget
Now, you’ll want to plan out a budget for the holidays.
Carefully consider how much money you have to spend over the holidays. This includes whether you’ll be taking the funds from your bank account, and how much (if any) you’re willing to put on a credit card.
Now, work through each line items in your budget, jotting down a budget range. This will make you think about the absolute minimum you might spend on this expense, and the maximum you’re willing to spend.
Finally, tally up the whole thing and adjust the line items as necessary. Eliminate those that simply aren’t in the budget or reduce those that are possible. Brainstorm ideas to make this the most affordable but enjoyable Christmas you can!
Once you have a workable budget, you may find much of the holiday stress has been reduced.
On the other hand, if your budget still has you feeling more stressed, take a step back and think about how you want this holiday to be remembered: With a big credit card debt?
Continue to look for creative, thoughtful gift ideas or entertainment options that will fully allow you to enjoy your holidays without feeling financially pinched.
This is the time to be intentional about how you choose to ‘spend’ the holidays.
3. Attend a Festive Party or Event
We spend much of the holidays thinking of what we have to do – do’t forget to do something fun for yourself!
One way is to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season by attending a festive party. Be sure to dress according to the occasion. For instance, check out the latest Christmas t shirt designs and sweaters for casual events, or wear something luxe and glamorous for black-tie events.
Either way, your friends and family will love to see you get into the holiday spirit and wearing attire that will bring you and others some cheer.
Some of the things you might enjoy are:
- The local Christmas Tree lighting
- A holiday party
- Dinner & drinks out with friends or family
- A Christmas show, like The Nutcracker Ballet
- Photos with Santa
- A holiday concert
These types of events and happenings in your area can help take the stress out of the holidays when you schedule them on your calendar. That way, you can relax and enjoy the company of others.
Reaching out, getting out of the house, and socializing a little bit here and there will be good for your mental health.
Related Article: Visit the Newport Mansions at Christmastime
4. Continue Practicing Healthy Habits
While you’re getting ready for the holidays, don’t abandon your healthy habits. Rather, you should be more committed than ever to taking good care of yourself.
This can help take the stress out of the holidays. Some of the ways you can be kind to yourself and make self-care a priority are:
- Get enough sleep
- Take walks and exercising regularly
- Make healthy food choices (all the more important when you’re indulging on holiday treats!)
- Schedule in some downtime
- Talk with friends and loved ones about how you’re feeling
- Do some journaling
- Ask for help when you need it
When you do some or all of these things over the holidays, you’ll feel better.
If you’re feeling mentally overwhelmed, you might consider taking a yoga class, prayer retreat, or meditating in your free time.
Also, be mindful of your portion sizes and alcohol intake during the holidays so that you don’t feel sluggish and tired the next day. Overindulgence will usually lead you to feel more stressed out and worse—guilty.
Related Article: Find out how to maintain good health as you age
5. Set Realistic Expectations
Whether it’s the Lifetime Christmas movie you’re trying to live up to, or childhood memories of Christmas you’re trying to recreate, you’ve got to let them go.
Instead, take a realistic look at what is possible for you this Christmas and set your expectations to have the best possible Christmas for you. There will be elements of those idyllic fairy tales that will find their way into your holidays, but striving for “perfect” simply sets you up for disappointments.
That might mean accepting that your special someone really isn’t very good at picking out gifts for you, or that the family won’t be packing up for a European holiday.
And that’s okay.
Because your holiday celebration will be uniquely perfect if you allow it.
Be honest with yourself, let the expectations go, and take the appropriate steps so you can truly enjoy your holidays with those you love.
And if you plan to travel over the holidays, here’s an Easy 5-Point Christmas Packing List for Your Holiday Travel.
6. Don’t be Afraid to Say “No”
This may seem counter intuitive to tip #3 above (Attend A Festive Party), but this tip is equally important. Learn to say “No” to invitations and obligations. This is especially true if you want to enjoy the season more and give yourself a mental break.
Doing so takes the stress out of the holidays because you’ll avoid over-committing and agreeing to activities or events when you don’t have the time or energy for them.
The more you say “No” to others, the more comfortable you’ll get doing it, and the less guilty you’ll begin to feel.
While staying active and busy can be good for you, taking on too much will cause you to feel tired and stretched too thin.
So don’t do it.
7. Get In Touch With Nature
Nature has an amazing ability to de-stress us. So, getting outside when you’re feeling stressed over the holidays can work wonders.
That might mean snow-shoeing, taking a winter walk in the woods (“forest bathing”), strolling through the city’s public garden, or taking a breather on a scenic afternoon drive.
When you take a moment to reconnect with nature, you’ll feel refreshed and—almost instantly— less stressed.
Final Thoughts on How to Have a Stress Free Christmas
Now that you have these 7 tips, you are on your way toward having a stress free Christmas. The most important thing is to not lose sight of how magical Christmas can be once you finally cut through the holiday stress.
Looking for a good reason to plan a holiday getaway? Keep reading to find out why travel is good for your mental health.
Photo credits: Feature – Julia Volk; Decorations – picjumbo.com; Family dinner – Nicole Michalou; Performance – Blue Ox Studio; Snowy woods – Pavel Danilyuk (Pexels)