Christmas tree and gifts in background. Women's feet in cozy socks with cup of coffee in foreground.

50 Stress Less Holiday Tips

For unto us a child is born. . . And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Whether we want to believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us. We can stress less by planning ahead and preparing early. We should be able to enjoy the season of our Lord’s birth.

I have hosted family holiday celebrations for over thirty years, sometimes both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I have had years where I was stressed, arguing with the family, and doing things at the last minute. I have also had holidays where things were under control. Planning ahead is the key to not stressing out. Whether you are a hostess who likes to keep things simple, or a hostess who wants all the extra touches, starting early is important.

Maybe you are not the hostess, but you still plan all holiday things for your own family. My advice is plan ahead, do what you can and need to do, and let go of the extras you want to do if you run out of time.

Here are 50 tips to help you stress less this holiday.

Do the Planning

  • Keep lists–gifts, menus, and things to do.
  • Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Follow the gift-buying rhyme: Something they want; something they need; something to wear; something to read.
  • Keep a family calendar. Place it in plain sight for everyone. Agree as a family what goes on the calendar and avoid last-minute plans that rob you of family time and planning time.
  • Plan your menu ahead if you’re hosting or your contributions if you are taking a dish.
  • Don’t try new recipes for guests. Stick to your tried-and-trues.
  • When you are hosting and guests are bringing dishes, make sure everyone knows what to bring. Don’t be afraid to make assignment requests.
  • If you’re hosting, assign clean up tasks after the meal. Many hands make light work.
  • Hire a cleaning lady for your holiday preparation.

Take Care of Yourself

  • Remember the Reason for the Season. Celebrate Jesus, family, and friends.
  • Drink lots of water; stay hydrated.
  • Exercise. Take a walk.
  • Stay in the Word.
  • Attend church. Sometimes it is tempting to stay home when there is so much to be done. But go anyway.
  • Pray. Stay connected with God and His wisdom.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Take your vitamins and supplements.
  • Drink your Ningxia Red.
  • Get coffee with a friend.
  • Indulge a little. Stay balanced.
  • Give yourself a break when you need one. You won’t accomplish much if you’re overtired.
  • Ask for help. You don’t have to do it all.
  • Take a social media break.
  • Give generously.
  • If you are sick, take time to get better.
  • Take a day or two off ahead of the holiday so you are less rushed.
  • Stay positive. A good attitude and perspective go a long way.

Take Care of Your Family

  • Make time for family with holiday movies, tree trimming, popcorn, and cocoa.
  • Diffuse your essential oils.
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  • Stay at home or nearby if possible.
  • Set reasonable expectations for kids.
  • Enjoy the special events you must attend.
  • Volunteer. Get your kids to volunteer.
  • Have your kids sort through old, broken, or outgrown toys and clothes.  Clean out to make way for the new gifts they will receive.

Take Care of Your Schedule

  • Prepare ahead with a backward calendar so you have time to get everything done.
  • Stick to a routine schedule.
  • Plan simple meals ahead of time for event nights.
  • Set boundaries. Just say no. Don’t obligate yourself to outings and events that you won’t enjoy.
  • Just say no to your kids. They don’t have to do it all.
  • Have a date night with your spouse.

Take Care of the Gift-Giving

  • Shop early. Shop online.
  • Wrap early. Make sure to buy your wrapping paper, bows, tags, and tape in advance.
  • If you are traveling, especially by air, send gifts ahead so you don’t have to carry them.
  • Consider gift certificates or DIY certificates.
  • Stick to the budget. Avoid impulse buys.
  • Send cards and gifts to be mailed early.
  • Take advantage of free gift wrapping.
  • Hire a friend or a teen to wrap your gifts.
  • Don’t forget the stocking stuffers.

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