Holiday stress can bring out the grinch in the best of us. Here are some things you can do that will help in making the holiday season more meaningful and less stressful.
1. Dump the unnecessary traditions that create more work than joy.
Here’s a secret. That sweet potato casserole that you make every Thanksgiving because it’s “tradition”? Your kids hate it. Ok, maybe they don’t. They might love it. Maybe it’s homemade Christmas cards, a complicated recipe, or going to a thousand parties. Take a hard look at those traditions that are a lot of work. Ask yourself, “Is the payoff at least equal to the effort I’m spending?” If not, maybe it’s time to create a different tradition.
My husband just read this tip and said if it was creating too much work for me to “do the cranberries” he would be happy to open the can and dump them in a bowl for me. He’s thoughtful that way.
2. Leave white space on your calendar.
Have you ever looked at your spouse and asked if anything was on the calendar for that day and then high-fived each other because NOTHING was scheduled? If so, you’ll understand the peace that can come from having room to breathe in the middle of frantic busyness. Leave room for downtime.
3. Give Jesus something He wants for His birthday.
Matthew 25:34-40 reads like Jesus’ Christmas list. There really is no mystery about what he wants for his birthday. If you reallocated just $11 from your Christmas budget you could help a family receive nourishment and provide a source of income.
4. Consider buying gifts for your kids that aren’t toys.
I’m not naive. Your kids will likely be disappointed if there are no toys to open on Christmas. But what if there were less toys? For our family, we’re considering, taking some of the money that would have gone towards toys and getting a family zoo pass or science museum membership. The result is less toys to clutter the house and and a gift that encourages family time.
5. Shop locally and ethically.
If you want to know the money you are spending on gifts is going to a good cause, you can’t go wrong by choosing to support a friends’ home business. You can also find a great list here of companies making “positive efforts in environmental stewardship, no forced labor in the making of products, and ethical treatment of employees”.
I’d love to hear what your family does to make the season special. What do you do to make the holiday season more meaningful? How do you keep from getting stressed out by all the demands for your time and resources?