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You Can Beat Christmas Stress

Updated on February 18, 2012

Christmas is almost here, and there is still so much to be done--buying presents, baking, planning family dinners, wrapping, sending cards, decorating...sometimes it begins to feel like too much. There are so many things to be done, and for many of us there is also the stress caused by the extra holiday spending. But there are some quick, easy ways to beat the holiday stress.

1. Don't Take it All So Seriously

Yes, you want to create the perfect Christmas holiday for your friends and family, but sometimes you just have to accept that good enough is good enough. Maybe this year you don't get your child every single present he wants. Maybe you don't have time to get family photo cards made up, so you send out regular cards instead. Maybe you don't bake your special peppermint cookies. Life will go on whether you get it all done or not. Sometimes you just have to get the basics done, and live with the fact that some details will go unfinished.

2. Recruit Help

Sometimes we think we have to do it all ourselves if we want it done right. This is often a problem that we women have in particular. We think our significant others will make a mess of it, or not do it in a timely fashion, so we insist on doing it ourselves. This is a big mistake, because then it becomes our job forever. Delegate something, even if it's a small thing. Have him mail out the cards, or pick up a specific gift, or deliver that plate of cookies to the neighbors. Don't do it all yourself. Maybe this year you can delegate one or two things, and next year even more.

3. Stay Organized

It can be easy to feel a sense of losing control when you are overwhelmed with numerous tasks and a quickly approaching deadline. Take time out, if you haven't already, to make a list. All the gifts you need to buy, baking that needs to be done, cards that need to be mailed, etc. Staying organized will help you feel less frazzled. Keep the list handy at all times and cross things out as they are completed. Crossing things off lists is always a good thing!


4. Give to Others

One of the best ways to get your mind off your own worries is to serve others. Even if you think you don't have any time to spare, you probably do. Call the Salvation Army and offer to stand at a kettle and ring a bell for a few hours. Buy a few extra gifts for Toys for Tots. Contribute canned goods to a local food pantry. The simple act of giving to others can go a long way toward getting yourself out of your own head for a few hours and putting things in perspective. Each year my company adopts a family for the holidays and I help organize the effort. (check out my hub on this topic). Even though it's one more "project" on my Christmas to-do list, I get so much satisfaction from it that my holidays wouldn't feel complete without it.

5. Plan Early for Next Year

If your stress level is bordering on ridiculous as Christmas approaches, make it your New Year's resolution to do a better job planning for next Christmas. Come January, make a list of everything that needs to be done for next Christmas. You'd be surprised at how many things can be started early in the year. (Nobody will every know that you did your Christmas cards in June!)

6. Talk to Someone if you Feel Depressed

Sometimes people can become depressed during the holidays, and it feels even worse because it's the time of year when everyone is "supposed" to be filled with joy and anticipation. Believe me, if you are feeling this way you are not alone. The feeling can become even more pronounced after the holidays are over, when there is no more hustle and bustle to distract you. If you feel down for more than a day, don't keep your feelings inside. Talk to a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes the simple act of telling someone provides immense relief. If it's more serious than that, or course, talk to your doctor.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sage Carter shares ideas, information, and advice for better living. Visit her at


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    • sagecarter profile image

      sagecarter 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks for your comments! I also wish I had published it sooner - I guess you could say I have been so overwhelmed with holiday stress that I haven't written much lately! I think I wrote this because it is advice that I myself sorely needed to hear!

    • Marie Gail profile image

      Marie Gail Stratford 6 years ago from Olathe, KS

      Good Hub. I wish you had been able to post it earlier. So many people, including myself, can take good lessons away from this. Thank you for sharing.

    • instantlyfamily profile image

      instantlyfamily 6 years ago

      These are really good tips. Thanks for sharing!