It’s here y’all. The Holiday Season. We are IN IT. This year I want for all of us to have a smooth-sailing season, so I’ve been thinking of some ways that we could make this a stress free-ish holiday. And if you have any tips of your own please feel free to share them in the comments below.

  • Identify something that tends to make you crazy during this time of year and rework it. What is the one thing that stresses you out the most? For me, it’s not the big gifts that cause me grief, it’s all the dozens of little gifts that have to be bought before The Big Day. These are the gifts that I typically buy last because it’s so easy to forget that you need a Secret Santa gift for your kid’s school Christmas party. It’s stocking stuffers and gifts for teachers and a little something for the mail carrier and all the little gifts that tend to pop up at various times. This year, I decided to buy these gifts FIRST. It’s not even December 1, but I have approximately 75% of these little gifties already purchased and I hope to get the rest of them soon. I already feel better knowing I have these things stashed away for when I need them. Big load off my mind!
  • Identify a tradition that you would really like to give up. Do you hate going to the office Christmas party? Then don’t go. Beg off and go do something enjoyable instead. Do you hate the disaster that is exchanging gifts with your Aunt/Uncle/Cousins/InLaws? Then suggest that you all go out to dinner instead and just skip the gifts. Do you really have to exchange gifts that none of you really wanted in the first place and really can’t afford? No, actually you don’t! If the tradition is no longer working for you, then scrap it and make a new tradition to take its place.
  • Get the fun stuff in early. Go see the Christmas lights the first weekend in December. Go ice skating as soon as the rink opens up. Bake a Christmas treat on a random Tuesday night as a treat. Don’t wait to do the fun things the week before Christmas – do them now! Let that fun spirit carry you through the whole month.
  • Improve the moment. Do you love mailing out Christmas cards, but hate the time it takes to address them? Make it an experience: have some cocoa or tea (or wine), put on some music or a movie in the background and snuggle up on the couch with a writing tray and big blanket and spend an hour addressing cards. Or invite your girlfriends over to have a Card Addressing Party – you’ll get in some good gabbing time and your cards will be done before you know it. I sometimes hate wrapping gifts, but one of my most treasured Christmas memories was when I was 7 months pregnant with my first baby and I couldn’t sleep, so I got up in the middle of the night, turned on the Christmas tree lights and wrapped presents at 2:00 in the morning. Sitting in the soft glow of the tree lights, with a Christmas movie playing low on the TV, I wrapped for about 2 hours, just by myself. It was such a sweet, peaceful time that I’ll never forget. Even if it’s a chore you don’t particularly like, there are always ways you can make it more enjoyable.

The thought that I really want to embrace this holiday season is that it’s okay to do things differently. If something isn’t working, why continue it? We can make things hectic and crazy for ourselves, or we can focus on the things that really make us happy and peaceful. I don’t want to spend the next 4 weeks being crabby and stressed out and repeatedly saying “I’ll be glad when it’s over”…no, I want to be happy to be celebrating all month long. We can refuse to buy into the thought that Christmas always has to be stressful and ridiculous. We can instead choose to have a joyous holiday and enjoy being with family and friends.

Have you given up a holiday tradition for a better one? What do you do to keep yourself sane during this time of year? Share in the comments below please!