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Stress Less Christmas Part 2 – Chrys Howard
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Stress Less Christmas Part 2

Stress Less Christmas Part 2

If you missed last week’s blog, you might want to take a look. Of course, with the parties, the gift-buying, the decorating, the plays and programs, no holiday is totally stress free, but there are ways to minimize the stress. I covered five of my tips last week. Here are five more that hopefully will help you as you count down the days to a Merry Christmas!

6. Cut the gift list. Many years ago, as a large extended family, we decided to do away with giving gifts to the adults in the family. Instead, we play a gift exchange game. We use the one called Dirty Santa, but there are several, so google and you’ll find one that will work for your family. We all get together on Christmas Eve and Dirty Santa only requires one gift per person. In our family, we usually have around 40 people, so it’s quite time- saving (not to mention money saving) to opt for a gift exchange game instead of bringing gifts for everyone. College age and above participate in Dirty Santa. For all the children under college age, Santa appears at our house with one gift for each child. Parents can secretly supply this gift or the hostess can provide it. This way every person goes home with a gift on Christmas Eve.

7. Wrap as you go. Finding time to wrap can be difficult, but it’s well worth it if you can wrap as you shop. I’ve spent plenty of Christmas Eves wrapping, but it’s not my choice. Be sure to use sticky notes or a list in your phone to keep up with what you’ve wrapped. If you hide a gift, write down where it is. Some people love the excitement of wrapping on Christmas Eve, but if it’s a stressor for you, wrap early.

8. Almost homemade is good enough. If you need to buy instead of bake this season, don’t feel guilty. Your family would rather have YOU instead of your homemade food. At least, I think they would. There are amazing ways to take store bought dips or cookies and turn them into fancy treats. One of my favorites is the one with Philadelphia Cream cheese and Teddy Grahams. Super cute and super easy. You can easily google it. Most supermarkets today are loaded for the holidays with dips and chips. Our family does finger foods for Christmas Eve with everyone pitching in. We always have more than enough and no one has spent the entire day cooking. For Christmas Day, we divide and conquer again with each family member bringing a dish. We have a family GroupMe account where we keep up with all the details of where, when and who’s bringing what.

9. Go for creative gifts. In today’s busy world, instead of getting a good friend or family member a gift, think about giving the gift of time. Chances are you haven’t had time to visit in a while. A phone call, text or card saying “let’s skip the gifts this year and meet for lunch.” You could even redeem it in January if you need to, once the rush has settled down. For your children and grandchildren, be creative as well. While gift cards seem boring and not creative, a teen might appreciate a gas gift card or a gift card for Starbucks or Chick-fil-a. Coaches and teachers appreciate them too and it’s much easier on you. If you feel a tinge of guilt for the easy gift, put it with a cute cup and hot chocolate mix. Our SAM’S Club has gift cards at a discount so you could buy several at a time and save money. One more hint, give the gift of an experience. For your little baseball player, pre-pay for some coaching lessons. For your artsy child, prepay for art lessons. For the kids who loves to jump and play, prepay for a visit to the trampoline park. For your music fan, tickets to an upcoming concert or musical. You can always wrap experiences in a fun, creative way. Remember good things really do come in small packages.

10. Declutter something. This one might just be for me, but here it is. Once the decorations come down, the house can look a little cluttered. I try to clean one area before the decorations go up so I feel a little more organized. This year I made it a point to redo my kitchen drawers. Just knowing I can now find the potato peeler makes me feel less stressful about putting up two or three Christmas trees and a ton of garland. Well, that’s it. One last thing on my stress-less Christmas wish list is for you to enjoy your family and friends. I hope you know that God sent His only son to save you and me and to give us a hope of heaven. In the past year, I have lost three very dear friends to cancer. I know they are celebrating in heaven, but they are profoundly missed. I know their families will struggle as they celebrate their first Christmas without them. Please join me in prayer for all the families in this situation.

Have a blessed week. Hugs, Chrys

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