Tips to Let Yourself Enjoy The Holidays

Enjoy the holidays

There’s no doubt that the holiday season is “the most wonderful time of the year,” but for some people, especially moms, it can seem more appropriate to call it, “the most stressful time of the year!”

Because we have so many relatives close by, we end up celebrating four Christmases each year, and with church activities and other holiday occasions it can get overwhelming. I’ve allowed it to overwhelm me some years. However, I like to think I learn from my mistakes – and seeing that each Christmas is getting more enjoyable than the previous – I think I’m making progress.

Already this year people have asked me how my holiday season is going with raised eyebrows as if they’re just waiting to hear that I’m SO busy and stressed. I’m really not! I enjoy Christmas and I work hard to keep a stressful mindset that ruins this wonderful time banished. I want to share some tips I practice with you that help me truly enjoy the Christmas season without getting stressed out.

Tips to Enjoy Holidays

Brace yourself. They’re super practical and easy.

1. Play Christmas Music And Turn On The Christmas Smells

It’s such a simple thing to do that can instantly put you in a positive frame of mind and a festive spirit! Turn on that ipod, put in that favorite CD, stream from spotify – however you like to do it. Honestly though, songs like “Up On The Housetop” don’t do it for me. But, real Christmas songs about the glory of Christ’s birth – whether vocal or instrumental never fail to change my perspective and put me in the spirit of Christmas! (I hope someday my Christmas CD that I’m aspiring to produce will be on your rotation)

A holiday scented wax cube or candle only add to the festive atmosphere, and Proverbs says, “Oil and perfume make the heart glad” (Prov. 27:9)


2. Start Christmas Shopping Months Before

It’s not only easier on the budget to spread out Christmas shopping, it means I don’t have to fit it all in just a few days. I also love buying presents so it’s a great reason to get started! I don’t mean to be type A overkill, but it’s not even December yet and I really do have all my kids’ presents wrapped. ( I do wait to do extended family cause it would just seem weird to ask them what they want in September! ) It doesn’t mean I end up buying more either. I make a list, and cross it off. Now it’s done. It’s just one big task I don’t have to worry about close to Christmas.  Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today!

3. Make Traditions, Break Traditions

I’ve read and I completely agree that making family traditions strengthen your bond as a family while really making the holidays special. However, don’t let your traditions trap you into stress. I’ve done this, and I’ve realized, there are some traditions I can just let go – and the kids don’t even notice they’re gone! I did this, this fall. We NEVER carved the pumpkins. I just felt too busy and so we just left them on the front stoop for fall decor and the kids NEVER noticed and NEVER asked about it. Whew! One less big mess for me! Last year I quit the tradition of baking cookies. It really cut down on the amount of sugar we all ingested and we didn’t miss it. We gave the neighbors boxes of holiday Andes Mints instead!

However, decorating for Christmas the Saturday after Thanksgiving, An advent devotional, St. Nicholas Day stockings, and a breakfast birthday cake for Jesus are all traditions we love and are keeping.

It has taken me a few years to try some different traditions and weed out the ones that weren’t sticking. For every family it will be different – but don’t make too many – and changing them up one year can make it even more fun!

4. Just Don’t Plan It

Sooo, each holiday season I have visions of all sorts of wonderful events I could plan and host – a gingerbread decorating party for the homeschool group, a secret santa gift exchange for the homeschool moms, a Christmas party for the young moms at church, a caroling party with cookies afterward,  and oh yeah, a Christmas cookie exchange….

I love to host people, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t create stress trying to get ready! I’ve learned to not plan anything during the holiday season. There are already SO many holiday events that planning more won’t really add to the joy of the season as much as it will create stress. I can focus my energy on our family gatherings, and I can celebrate Christmas with church members at the Christmas Eve service, Christmas program, and Christmas open house at the Pastor’s house.

If God wants me to do it, He will make it happen, but most of the time I just need to rest, relax, and remember this season is not about parties. It’s about Jesus. I don’t need to cover Him up with activities.

5. If You Need To: Limit the Number of Christmas Presents for Your Kids

If you have some exceptionally generous relatives, and if a huge load of new stuff unnerves you, just politely explain your wishes about the number of gifts that’s appreciated. Open honesty and gentility are important aspects to culture in family relationships, and ultimately valued by all sides.

6. Get Enough Sleep

Don’t let too much hustle and bustle get in the way of the rest you AND your kids need. Still prioritize bedtime and routine. A tired person has a lowered immune system and sickness during the holidays is just NOT FUN. You and your kids will enjoy every moment and experience more if you can be well-rested for it.

That’s it! A few tips- but following these have really helped me shave off the extra fluff and focus on Jesus- the reason for Christmas. I really do enjoy the holidays, gift- giving and traditions. It doesn’t have to be stressful time- but that’s a decision we each have to make for ourselves. May our mantra not be, “Stress to the world, the Lord has come,” but “Joy to the World! The Lord has come!”

Over to you

What are some of your family traditions that “stuck”? I love hearing about how other families celebrate! And, what are things you do to keep the focus on Jesus during the holidays?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *