shutterstock_85359982.jpgThis time last year I was trying to decide if I would decorate for Christmas since my husband wasn’t going to home. I was on the fence about traveling to be with family and thought if I wasn’t going to be home on Christmas day, did I really need to decorate? After much thought, I finally unpacked every bin of Christmas decorations and left them up until he arrived home in early February. Some of my neighbors thought I was a little crazy. The process of breaking my normal routine, decorating on my own and then leaving the decorations in place, inspires me to continue to think outside the box when navigating holiday activities and stress.


Here are 5 tips to enjoy the holidays more and stress less:


Start Decorating Earlier
With holiday parties, functions, visiting family, not to mention work deadlines and holiday to-do lists, you might find your December calendar filling up quickly. To help create some breathing room, this year I’m decorating earlier. Knowing I already have the house decorated for Christmas earlier than usual is a huge stress relief.


One thing I’m doing new this year is simplifying a few of the processes I do every year. One of our family holiday traditions is to make chocolate covered pretzels decorated with all sorts of toppings. We also bake cookies; along with buckeyes and package them in decorative boxes to mail out to loved ones. Instead of baking over several days, I’m cutting back on the number of recipes we will prepare. Doing so will cut my baking down to only one day. Our loved ones will still receive a box of goodies from us, it will just be a smaller box and in the process we haven’t worn ourselves out with a baking marathon. Think about what steps you can simplify in your holiday routines.


Skip the Tasks You Don’t Enjoy
Make a list of things you really do not enjoying doing and decide if they are important enough to continue. Maybe sending out handwritten Christmas cards, or writing that yearly Christmas letter is more of a chore than fun. Consider instead a photo Christmas card with a printed greeting at the bottom, and skip the letter all together. With Facebook and blogging, perhaps you are already keeping up with your family on social media. The point is to only do the things you enjoy and skip the rest.


Recruit Help
When it comes to Christmas baking, decorating or even wrapping presents, consider how you might recruit help to lighten your load. Invite a couple of girlfriends over to help tackle these projects and then offer to help them. The task will be much more fun and enjoyable.


Schedule Some Rest and Relaxation
By making the decisions to simplify your holiday tasks and routines, you’ll free up time to better enjoy the season. Determine what you find most relaxing and schedule time to do that activity.


Here are some possible R&R activities:


  • Read a Christmas themed book 
  • Schedule a massage
  • Take a nap
  • Create an afternoon or evening ritual like having a tea at 4pm or 8pm
  • Put a log in the fireplace and relax by the fire
  • Make the time for lunch with a friend or family member
  • Take a drive to see neighborhood Christmas lights
  • Have a Christmas movie marathon
  • Dedicate a few afternoons for Christmas craft activities
  • Attend a holiday play or ballet


What are your tips to enjoy the holidays more and stress less?


Related stories:

7 Ways to Create Cherished Christmas Moments

Strategies for a Stress-Free Holiday with Krista Wells, The Military Spouse Coach

What are your plans for the holidays?