HO-HO-Holy crap, it’s Christmas again! While the kids are anticipating the present reveal on Christmas morning, you’ve anticipated the stress of the season and have stocked your wine fridge well. Feeling as snarly and jolly-less as the Grinch himself, your list of things to do and presents to buy is longer than Santa’s naughty/nice list which rightfully explains why you’ve already experienced holiday meltdown… and it’s only December 1st.
Mama, we’ve all been there. Nothing can amp up stress, anxiety, and overwhelm like the holidays. (BTW… here’s some Holiday Anxiety Coping Tips just in case ya need ’em!)
While Christmas is meant to be “the most wonderful time of the year” and is a countdown to the celebration of Christ’s birth, let’s just say it can seem a little less than wonderful or holy with all the stress we pile on ourselves.
After having way too many frazzled and time frenzied holidays, I decided that some things needed to change. I slowly began implementing these four things and lemme tell ya, my holidays changed into truly joy-full days of Christmas cheer.
Yes, I still buy gifts.
Yes, we fully decorate our house inside and outside.
Yes, we still have a full calendar of sports and social commitments.
But rather than feeling rushed and dreading the busyness, I can now fully embrace and enjoy these things with lots of evenings spent sitting by the tree watching Christmas movies and playing games with my family!
That’s exactly what I want for you… a stress-free, holly jolly, family fun-filled holiday season! And I want you to not just have the best holiday ever this year, but year after year after year!
HOW TO HAVE THE BEST HOLIDAY EVER
1. DECIDE HOW YOU WANT YOUR HOLIDAY TO FEEL.
Think of your holiday season as starting at Thanksgiving and running through New Year’s. How do you want your celebrations to feel?
What do you want to focus on? Do you want to be less stressed and have more fun? Do you want your holidays to feel cozy and heartwarming? Do you want to do more to bless others by volunteering or sharing baked treats?
What word comes to mind?
My word… well, it’s actually a couple words: WARM and COZY.
I love the coziness of the Christmas tree lights. I love sitting in front of them and playing games with my kids. I love just the warmth that is in the atmosphere from all of this, from all of the joy filled things that I’ve decorated my house with them, the twinkle of the lights.
I just adore that ambiance during the Christmas season. It’s what I look forward to feeling and enjoying as we go into the holiday season.
Now it’s your turn. If you’ve got a minute and can jot these things down, do it! (Sometimes a written reminder, even if it’s on a post-it note or a piece of scrap paper, can get us re-focused.)
Write out how you want the season to feel.
Your feel statements could also be “want” statements. Here’s a few to get your wheels turning:
This holiday season, I want to feel joyful.
I want to feel calm instead of busy and stressed.
I want to be able to relax.
I want Christmas to feel warm and cozy.
I want to put our Christmas focus on Christ, not gifts.
I want to feel _________________________ this holiday season.
This is setting the intention for your holiday.
You get to decide what you want the holidays to feel like. You get to choose the activities you do and how you spend your time.
Unfortunately, just stating how you want your holiday season to feel isn’t enough to make it feel that way. We need actions that will move you towards that feeling.
Look at the word(s) and ask yourself what you can do to make your holiday feel this way? What would make your holidays feel warm and cozy? What would bring more fun to the season?
Write down a couple of ways to make it feel that. Get your gameplan in place and do something towards making the feel you desire a reality.
Likewise, think about the things you don’t want this holiday. If you don’t want to spend your days shopping and lugging your kids in and out of the stores, consider doing your shopping online. Or what about Elf on the Shelf? Do you enjoy coming up with new elf antics every night or the stress of what happens if you forget to move him?
Here’s the scoop… only do the activities you LOVE. You get to decide how to spend your days and your time. So, use it well doing things that will bring joy to you and your family.
Is that selfish? Heck no!
Remember that mom’s mood sets the attitude. So if you are grumbling through the holidays, think of how that will impact your child’s perspective of the holidays. Do you want to leave a holiday legacy of Grinchiness or one of love and joy?
2. STOP WITH PERFECTIONISM!
What do you want your kids to remember about the hoidays? Do you want them remembering how mom was super stressed out and that the holidays were all go-go-go? Or do you want them to remember how you played games in front of the Christmas tree? Or how you all wore Christmas pjs and watched Christmas movies with popcorn and hot chocolate?
Honestly, your kids are not going to remember the tiny ornate details of your holiday decorating or what you had for your Christmas meal. They are going to remember how the holiday made them feel.
Speaking from experience, let me tell you that trying to make your holiday perfect is only going to be a huge letdown for everyone! Perfection isn’t truly attainable. Something will inevitably go wrong…you’ll forget a gift or burn the Christmas duck. And if you are so busy trying to have a “perfect Christmas”, you’ll be forgetting about what really makes the holiday perfect… spending time with your family.
Perfection is not your goal. It’s not going to make you happy. So stop!
Think back to tip one. What do you want your Christmas to feel like? What kind of traditions do you want to be passing on to your kids? You don’t want them fussing over every detail when you go to their house someday for Christmas. You want to just have time with them and be together. So set that precedence now while your children are still in your house.
3. SPREADSHEETS OR A HOLIDAY NOTEBOOK.
A holiday shopping spreadsheet or notebook are going to be sanity savers for you when it comes to buying gifts or experiences.
Write down what you are getting everyone. Or write down what you already got them. If you do Christmas shopping throughout the year, you may not remember what you got if you just try to count on memory alone. I have specific baskets on the top shelf of our master bedroom closet that I can’t even reach that is where all of the gifts go that I purchase. I keep them all in one spot. I check the bins when I get Christmas lists. I write down what I’ve already purchased for that person and then what I still need to get for that person. It is both my shopping list and my tracker. By writing things down, you won’t second guess yourself because you’ve got it written down.
A shopping tracker also allows for you to track what you have ordered and it’s delivery date, or what you still need to order. And, you can keep track of your budget in the same place.
Print out as many as you need. Staple your lists together. Cut the sheet in half, hole punch the corner and put a binder ring in the corner. Put ’em in a folder. Whatever works best for you, do it. There’s no wrong way to use the shopping tracker as long as you’re using them! Happy shopping, friend!
4. GET YOUR HOLIDAY STUFF DONE EARLY.
Don’t wait til the last minute! I know your days are busy. Hello, you’re a mom! But putting off your shopping is only going to cause more stress. Get ‘er done early!
Tips to get your holidays stress-free ASAP:
- Schedule your decorating day. Even SAHMs should be scheduling their days for productivity and sanity’s sake. So schedule in your time to decorate. Your home doesn’t become a mini version of Santaland on it’s own. So block out time for it. If you just try to “squeeze in” time to decorate, you may end up staring at bins for weeks and causing yourself more visual clutter and headaches than just blasting out a decorating day.
- Plan your next family gathering at the current family gathering. If you’re all together for Thanksgiving, go ahead and get Christmas on the calendar. Get the time and who is bringing what to dinner all hashed out while you’re there together. And if you’re not all together, what a perfect excuse to FaceTime the people who are absent.
- Have your kids make their Christmas list BEFORE Thanksgiving. Grandma will be asking for it at the Thanksgiving gathering anyways, so have your kiddos get a jump on it as soon as the holiday sales fliers start hitting your mailbox. I also take my boys to the store to walk through the toy aisles. Nothing is better than touching and feeling and seeing the real thing. I’d rather them give it a whirl in the store before I spend my money on it to know if the toy is actually going to hold their attention and excite them.
- Enlist your kids in helping. Our family decorates the tree and puts up the nativity scene together. The rest of the decorating I don’t mind doing on my own, but I always try to include the boys as much as possible. Even so, the boys are able to carry the holiday bins and help set unload them. And… I have the boys price shop online for the gifts they are adding to their Christmas list. Yup, they price compare their items! And since they have started giving me an electronic list, I have them give me the link with the lowest price to buy the item for them. Can I say that the boys actually really like doing this and it save me so much time!
- Shop online. I do love going into a store, but not if I have my kids in tow. And not making multiple trips, especially when the weather is cruddy and I’m bundled in a gigantic coat I’ll sweat in! I usually do Christmas shopping online after the boys are in bed, I’ll turn on a movie and enjoy a little me time while shopping.
- Set your intention early on how you want your holiday season to feel and then start living it!
Mama, I want you to enjoy the heck out of your holiday season. I don’t want you being stressed, I want you living blessed. And by implementing these four tips into the season, you’ll be able to do just that!
If you’ve already feeling holiday stress, here’s what I want you to do… I want you to stop everything! Take a few minutes and breathe and by a few minutes, it could mean the rest of the day. (You can even go listen to this post as a podcast episode, Best Holiday Ever, so you can really feel and think through how you want to start implementing these ideas… and feel like you’re talking to a friend!)
Chill. Relax. Gather yourself. Sit down decide how you want your holiday to feel and then plan out what needs to be done so that it stops feeling like a whirlwind and it starts feeling like a holiday. It starts feeling like a celebration. It starts feeling joyful.
Remember, the easier your holiday, the lighter your load, the more joy you’re going to have! I want you to have your best holiday ever. And to keep having your best holiday ever year after year!