Stress-Less Christmas Part 1
On my!! It’s November so the stores are completely ready for Christmas. In fact, they have been that way since before Halloween. I seriously remember when each holiday got to shine, but now Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas compete for floor and head space at the same time.
All this hype and marketing can get to our heads for sure and make us think, “I’ve got to hurry!!! There’s only ??? days until Christmas. I’ll never get it all done!!”
What???? Yes, you will. I say it’s like planning for a wedding. The wedding will happen no matter what you get do or not do ahead of time. So, even if it’s not perfect, even if you forget something, even if the one dish you wanted to make doesn’t happen, even if the gift you ordered doesn’t come in–Christmas will still happen.
Whew!! Now that we’ve established that you can’t ruin Christmas, I’m going to give you a few of my holiday hints for having a stress-less season. Notice I said stress-less not stress-free, because there’s a certain amount of stress that makes the holiday fun, don’t you think? Not much, but a wee bit of butterflies in the stomach brings us back to our childhood when Christmas seemed forever away.
Here we go:
- Keep the main thing the main thing. This sounds so simple, but it’s not. Especially, when we get caught up in the holiday hype, so just refuse to do that. Sometimes we forget that we don’t have to listen to the cries the world makes. If the main thing for you is that your family gets to spend time together, don’t let anything keep you from that. If the main thing for you is that you get to make homemade gifts for your friends, then say no to things that don’t let you get that done. If the main thing for you is to be a part of the church Christmas drama, schedule your month to include that. This takes careful planning and some insight into “you” that you might not have done in a while, because you’re too busy to think about it. But, you have to start the season with a list of priorities, When we can clearly define our priorities, it allows us to say “yes” and “no” with a purpose.
- Let it go. Look at your calendar and ask yourself, “If I don’t get this done or go to this party or whatever it is, what will happen? You might have to do this several times during the season, but being able to let go of things that don’t really make a difference in the lives of those you love is crucial to stress-less. It might mean you have to make a personal phone call to tell someone you’re sorry you make their party or play or whatever, but, I’ve learned this from the younger girls in my life, five seconds of awkward is better that a month or more of misery.
- Write down your gift list early, like now. If have your gift list with you at all times, when you’re at the store for toilet paper or paper towels, you can run over to another isle and pick up a gift. I’ve done this for years and when December gets here, I usually have most of my shopping done and have never spent a whole day shopping. The trick is remembering what you bought and where you put it, but keep a master list somewhere to help you. Also, online shopping really helps with early shopping and you get to stay in your pajama to do it.
- Buy for next year, this year. This is another trick I have done for years. After this coming Christmas is over, I shop for next Christmas. Not for the toys or gifts because kids grow and change, but I pick up the paper goods, a few new cute decorations that I might use for gifts for friends early in the season, and the matching Christmas pajama that I buy for my kids and grandkids each year. Again, the trick is being happy with last year’s purchase, which I am, just because I’m so happy that I’m a little ahead for this holiday season.
- One Day Decorating: I’m a Christmas lover, so decorating the house is fun for me, but I’ve always limited myself to one day decorating. I usually take the day after Thanksgiving (or maybe the Saturday after) and get it all done, then don’t think about it anymore. Now that my kids have their own homes and my grands are all teenagers I usually do the decorating by myself. Still, I put on Christmas music for some extra fun and get to work. At my age, I have quite a collection of Christmas decoration so I try to reuse the decorations and challenge myself to make it look a little different. However, since I do have older grandkids, I have learned there are things they love to see every year and, if it doesn’t appear where it is supposed to be, they will definitely notice. Remember, family traditions are what make us all feel secure and loved. For me, it’s a wooden train that always circles the tree in the game room. The tree can look completely different every year, but that train will always be around it.
I’ll stop here today, but tune in next week for a few more hints. Remember, I’m old so there’s a lot of info floating around in this brain. Lol
Have a great week! Hugs, Chrys