The Holidays can trigger so much stress for many reasons! Whether it is a financial strain, over-committed schedules, or that nagging feeling that there’s just not enough time to get all the gifts in time for Christmas, it can just be so stressful.
In this article, my hopes is to encourage you that you are not alone in this and there is time to recalibrate and enjoy the Holiday season this year!
1. Create a Vision
Have you ever given yourself the space and permission to dream of what you would like to Holidays to look like?….. And I mean, without any looming expectations of friends, family or even yourself, of what it should look like?
Questions like “What do I want my Holidays to look? How do I want to feel? Who do I want around? What values do I want to reflect this season” Giving yourself the space to consider these things really help put vision and intention during the Holiday season (as well as, eliminate things you truly don’t care to include for the season). Which brings me to my next point!
2. Eliminate the Expectations
I know, ,I know…. As a fellow people pleaser, this can be the toughest work! But hear me, my good friend, there is so much joy on the other side of eliminating those expectations and allow God’s good grace to cover all things. This means, those lights, and Santa coming down on his sleigh on your roof would not work out for the budget this year, please give yourself the permission to let this go, and simply enjoy the true joy of Christmas.
Also, as a side note, as someone who is snail-slow to decorate, the greatest advice I’ve ever received regarding Holiday decorations, was to start small, and purchase things little-by-little each year.
Definitely, not worth stressing to “get it all” this year!
3. Stick to the Budget
First of all, this will seriously decrease your stress by leaps and bounds my friend! Overspending during the Holidays is what triggers a lot of stress for many of us. I remember, during my first year of marriage, we didn’t have much money to spend for Christmas home decorations and gifts. But, we got creative and came up with a few fun ideas that really made that Holiday memorable (and stress-free)!
Here’s a few ideas for you, if your strapped for cash this Holiday season.
- Purchase a real tree (this can be cheaper than buying a fake one)
- Do a family gift exchange with a dollar amount limit
- Buy mini gift cards as “prizes” for family game night (this was a hit at our family get together!)
- For kids, maybe find items that focus more on their interests/hobbies/or experience (and, even better, get them involved in some of the festivities)
4. Practice Presence Over Presents
They say that the currency for kids, is time, and I find this to be so true with our kiddos! And yes….even during this Holiday season! Now, I am not saying to forego toys altogether! However, if you have small kids sometimes the kitchen whisk, spatula, recycle boxes, etc…, have proven (more times than not) more successful than some of the toys that are out there. So, please; you are going through a financial hardship this year, do not stress toys! Spending time, get eye level with your kids in something that they enjoy…. trust and believe, it will prove so much more valuable than ANY toy you can purchase!
5. Create a Plan With Margin
As someone who has a tendency to max out on every time and opportunity, this could be very challenging to create plans that have an ample amount of margin!
But, as a mom of small children, the slow and steady truly wins the race! Here’s some examples of what a week can look like with 2 little ones.
Weekdays: For about 10 mins a day, we would do an activity at home based on my kids’ interest. For instance, for my 4 year old daughter, this looks like painting, coloring, playing with play doe, or finger nail painting using her color polish of choice while her younger brother takes a nap. And for her younger brother, it’s cuddling together with his favorite blanket. And on any given day, my kids are always down for a dance party! (as always, give yourself grace and take it, day by day) It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
Once a week, we may plan something longer like baking together a sweet bread or cookies with chocolate chips (which is always a treat!). On days like these, I like to make sure to have very little on the schedule for the day to savor these moments together. This way I also have plenty of patience for a learning baker.
Another day, during the weekend, we may plan a few hours doing an outing as a family. Getting out the house with littles can be tough but it is worth while to include your spouse or other family members, where you have more hands and support. Plus, they can enjoy playing a part in creating these memories too!
And there you have it! I hope you find these tips helpful to have a more stress-free Holiday season this year!