Christmas is the happiest time of the year, and we're excited to decorate the house, pick out a beautiful tree, and bake our favorite cookies. It's especially fun to follow traditions with our kids.
But it feels like every year, Christmas begins earlier and earlier, with "Jingle Bells" playing in stores in early November and everyone getting into the holiday spirit as soon as Halloween is over. And it can feel like Christmas is the most stressful holiday around, from picking out perfect presents, hosting a flawless dinner, and spending time with some difficult family members. It's a lot of pressure... but it can be made a lot less overwhelming. Here are 10 ways to make Christmas less stressful.
10 Online Shop Super Early
The most stressful part of Christmas might be rushing around finding last-minute gifts for loved ones. Your sister loves scarves, so you want to find her the best one ever, but you didn't get around to it and now it's December 23rd. Or you're behind on picking up some stocking stuffers.
In order to cut down on this stress, why not do all of your shopping online? And why not shop super early, as in mid to late November? It'll be great to tick one thing off your to-do list. You can find some smaller businesses to support or order some cool gifts from websites like Etsy.
9 Enlist Everyone In The Family
There's a lot that needs to be done. You want to clean the whole house, put up the tree and any other special decorations, think about what recipes to make for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and that's just one part of your long list.
You can enlist your whole family and give everyone something to do. Your younger children can be in charge of putting ornaments on the tree, your older kids can help clean, and you can all work together. This will help you feel like it's a real team effort.
8 Cut Down On Extra Commitments
December is a super busy time and it can feel like you have a million different social plans. While that is of course really fun, it's also stressful to feel like you don't have any downtime. And coordinating your whole family's schedules can feel like a puzzle at this time of year.
When you want to make Christmas less stressful, you can cut down on extra commitments. See if you can move anything to January instead of overbooking and then feeling run down.
7 Have A Potluck Dinner Instead Of Making It All From Scratch
Hosting Christmas dinner can feel like a ton of pressure is sitting on your shoulders. Since it's such a wonderful, special holiday, you want it all to be perfect... but that's really tough.
You can make Christmas less stressful by hosting a potluck dinner. You can make the main event, such as the turkey or ham or roast beef (whatever is part of your family tradition), and then ask guests to bring side dishes, dessert, and apps. It'll be fun for everyone to feel involved in the meal and much less work for you.
6 Talk About When You're Feeling Stressed Out
You want to make Christmas beautiful and magical for your children, and of course that's how any parent would feel. But it can also be stressful to think about that for the entire holiday season.
Explain how you're feeling whenever your schedule gets to be too much. Talk to your partner, friends, and family members, and these conversations will definitely help you feel better. Sometimes just getting stuff off your chest is the best remedy.
5 See Far-Away Family Earlier If Possible
Even if your relatives live just a few hours away and you can take a quick road trip, that can still feel tiring when you're in the midst of the holiday season. See if you can rearrange any travel plans and visit family a bit earlier than Christmas, such as in November.
You'll still get to see them and spend some quality time, but you can skip the Christmas traffic and create a bit of space in your schedule once it gets really close to the big day.
4 Say No To The Hosting Duties
If a potluck dinner isn't in the cards because perhaps coordinating that feels like too much work (which is totally fair), you can also ask someone else to host. It's okay to be honest and say that you have a lot on your plate this year and it would be too much.
Maybe another family member would be more than happy to have everyone over this year, or a good friend can take over the hosting duties.
3 Ask Your Family What They Most Want To Do This Year
Visions of baking up a storm, ice skating, visiting Christmas markets, and more fill your head as soon as the temperature starts dropping. It's easy to feel like you absolutely have to do everything this holiday season and that, in fact, you must.
But, of course, that just causes more stress. Instead, ask your family what they most want to do this year. Have every member of the family write something down on a list and attach it to the fridge. This is a great way of making everyone happy and celebrating the festive time of year.
2 Create Some New, Easier Traditions
Maybe you always make three types of dessert for your family's Christmas Eve celebration, or have a huge party for all your friends and relatives and your kids' friends and parents. But if you're feeling the holiday stress this year, it's okay to press pause and figure out which traditions can be made a little bit easier to carry out.
What about making just one dessert? It'll still be special and delicious. And what about having a smaller gathering, or deciding to skip it this year instead and have a nice, quiet family movie night? It will still be a wonderful Christmas.
1 Pick One Day To Bake Cookies And Wrap Gifts
Sometimes it can be good to designate a day to get some Christmas things done. Pick one day in December to bake some cookies with your kids and you can also use this time to wrap some presents (but do that while your little ones are occupied, of course).
When you get organized and feel in control of your agenda, that can really help with that stressed out, can't get it all done feeling. And you can all enjoy some delicious cookies while you can get a handle on the holiday.