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Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday

Updated on October 7, 2018
Allain Christmas profile image

Christmas is a month-long state of mind for me. This festive time of loved ones, parties, gifts, and religious celebrations is so special.

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Does the Christmas Season Wear You Out?

Prepping for Christmas seems overwhelming at times. Women generally bear the burden of making the season a magical time for their families. There's the decorating, the shopping, the baking, the hosting of parties, and many more details to coordinate.

No wonder the question "Are you ready for Christmas," brings a look of panic or irritation to the face of the person hearing it. Let's look at some ways to streamline and simplify your Christmas preparations to make it all happen without wearing yourself to a frazzle.

Our goal is to enjoy the Christmas season without all the stress.

My Coffee Table Decor at Christmas

Tip: I take photos of my decorating. Next year, a quick look at the photos reminds me of what looked good. I can just repeat that and not have to "reinvent the wheel." Having the same decorations as the previous year simplifies my job.
Tip: I take photos of my decorating. Next year, a quick look at the photos reminds me of what looked good. I can just repeat that and not have to "reinvent the wheel." Having the same decorations as the previous year simplifies my job. | Source

FourTips for Getting Help with Christmas Preparations

  • Ask your spouse to take on additional responsibilities. They can take the children to shop for gifts they give which frees you up for the preparations you need to do.
  • Get friends involved. Ask a pal or several friends over to help decorate the tree or house. The time goes quickly while you chat. It won't be the same way you might decorate but enjoy cutting the time in half and having a new look during the holidays.
  • Hire some help, even if it means skipping eating out to have the funds for it. Get someone in to do chores like cleaning the house. That frees you up for the holiday baking, shopping, etc.
  • Split some tasks with a friend. Maybe you prefer the cookie baking and she likes to shop. Trading services is a smart way to save time. Send your children with a friend and her kids to a Christmas activity, then reciprocate by taking all the children another time. Each of you gain some free time for gift wrapping or whatever holiday task you need to do.

What Causes You the Most Stress at Christmas Time?

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Do You Really Need to Do Everything?

Besides your regular job, childcare, house cleaning, and meal preparations, then you add special activities starting with Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and New Year's. Consider for a moment if these activities add joy to your life or just add stress.

Browse down this list and think about the activities and consider one-by-one your feelings about each one. Write these on a piece of paper, expanding each topic into more detailed bullet points. Your list might have attending work party, helping with party at school, hosting family Christmas Eve, and attending church party.

Put a star by the ones that lift your heart and bring you joy.

  • gift giving
  • sending Christmas cards
  • attending parties
  • hosting parties
  • social activities at work, church, clubs
  • decorating inside the house
  • decorating outside the house
  • family gatherings
  • hosting family gatherings
  • cookie baking
  • putting up a Christmas tree

I'm sure you have other commitments as well. Add those to your list and then consider how you feel about those.

Now, consider the ones that don't have a star next to it on your list. What would happen if you dropped those unstarred items entirely? If you don't feel that you can drop it, how could it be cut back in scope?


Think about saving some vacation days throughout the year to use in December.

How Stressful Is the Holiday Season for You?

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Tips From Friends for a Stress-Free Christmas

I asked my friends for tips on reducing stress during the Christmas season. You'll laugh when you see what one male friend contributed to the discussion.

Louanne C - "I try and get as much organized ahead of time as possible so that I can spend more time just enjoying the family time and the Christmas lights (I love Christmas lights.

The last two Christmases we haven't had a traditional Christmas dinner as my daughter doesn't really enjoy it and it takes so long so we sat down and thought what's our favorite meal - Mexican! So we've had that which made it even easier by using the slow cooker to make a chili ahead of time and refried beans ahead of time so there was very little to worry about on the actual day. We still made too much food - it is Christmas.

We still had Christmas crackers and wore our crowns around the table and told the silly jokes that came in the crackers, but most importantly it was about family time.

By buying gifts throughout the year it helps reduce budget stress, I also put a little money aside throughout the year in a separate account - my work shuts down for 2 weeks over the holidays so it helps a lot."

Kathy M. - "I also plan months ahead of time. Usually, I am done with either making or buying my gifts in October which leaves me free to enjoy the whole season."

Thais L. - "I don't get stressed because I plan in advance. Also, I try to have Christmas decorations that are easy to put up and down, like last year I got a pop-up Christmas tree with lights and ornaments."

Mark G. - "CANCEL CHRISTMAS"

Helene W. - "Speaking up helps. If it’s too much, say so and ask for help, or ask for help prioritizing. You may find out that you’re going to a lot of work for something that isn’t all that treasured, anyway. And, be specific. Let people know what you need, not just “oh anything will do.” People often are happy to help, but they don’t always know how."

Sonja M. - "Stick to the budget, per person, that I make in November.

Make beautiful memories, experiences (Christmas specials with our children and grandchildren). Candlelight service with family at the church I grew up in.

Compose love letters to tuck in the tree for my loved ones. My husband and I began this tradition in the early days of our marriage when we were strapped for cash. We've treasured it as our most special part of Christmas morning.

These are a few of the ways I maintain a perspective during the craziness of the season and keep the stress low."

Getting Out the Christmas Decorations - A Chore That I Dread

This year, I vow to give some of this away, so I won't have so much to store and so much work putting it all over the house.
This year, I vow to give some of this away, so I won't have so much to store and so much work putting it all over the house. | Source

Ready for Christmas? I Hate That Question

Usually, it's a man, trying to make small talk and he utters the dreaded words, "are you all ready for Christmas?" I grit my teeth and try to answer calmly. Most of the time, I'm not ready for the holiday and I know he has no concept of how complicated my preparations are.

Actually, my tasks are much simpler than many women face at this time of year. I don't bake Christmas cookies to exchange, don't have co-workers to get gifts for and only have a few small family gifts to buy.

I do send about 100 Christmas cards with handwritten notes in them, decorate 3 Christmas trees and decorate 6 rooms in the house. Mothers probably have school holiday events and church activities to prepare for as well. They have a much longer gift list than I do. We have a big holiday feast to prepare and visiting family to accommodate.
Sure some men go all out decorating the outside of the house, but most do not. My husband has only my gift to get and his brother's. He sends out about 10 Christmas cards to old pals or immediate family.
If a woman asks "are you ready for Christmas," it's a sure sign that she has everything done and just wants to gloat. No matter who asks that question, I'm in no mood to hear it.

Christmas decorations - time to place them all over the house. If I set aside enough time, then I won't feel stressed and overwhelmed while decorating. Playing Christmas music also helps put me in the mood.
Christmas decorations - time to place them all over the house. If I set aside enough time, then I won't feel stressed and overwhelmed while decorating. Playing Christmas music also helps put me in the mood. | Source

© 2018 Virginia Allain

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