Let’s face it, the holiday season can be a stressful time of year. While the movies portray happy families laughing around the kitchen table or in front of the fireplace, that’s often not the reality we face as moms. During this time of year, we often end up more stressed out and busier than ever. I know I fall into the trap, and each year, I vow to stay focused on what really matters and work on managing holiday stress. We want the holidays to be filled with warm memories for our family members, but it’s so easy to get wrapped up (pun intended) in the business of the season. There’s often so much to do that it’s difficult to be present with our loved ones. Ever feel like you’re losing your sanity around the holidays?
There must be a better way!
Can We Simplify the Holiday Season?
Over the years, I’ve searched for ways to make the holidays special while still giving my kids the traditions and memories that bring joy. Some of the things that have worked for us are prioritizing experiences over material gifts, limiting the number of presents per person, and focusing on a spirit of giving instead of receiving.
All that aside, it’s tough to recognize the outside forces that act on us despite our best intentions. There’s so much on our to-do lists, and there’s a lot of pressure to make the holidays perfect. But I do believe we can try to resist some of the stress and pressure that social media and society make us feel. Rejecting the Holiday Stress for Our Mental Health Well-Being
Leading up to the holidays, we’re bombarded with messages that create panic inside us: “There’s X number of days left until Christmas!” From television ads to social media and store displays, it’s easy to feel our stress levels rise when we see the marketing start as early as October. All this holiday stress can’t be good for us or our mental health! This isn’t the kind of holiday we want for our families either.
We don’t want to feel rushed or panicked about buying enough and doing enough. Instead, we all yearn for a time of togetherness with our loved ones, making memories and spending time together with less stressful situations to face. So, I say … this year, let’s take back Christmas! This may not be the year when you magically transform your holidays into the living embodiment of a Real Simple magazine article. But it can be the year when you create enough space for you and your family to shape and enjoy holiday traditions. Don’t we owe it to our kids to manage stressors by creating a safe, stress-free holiday for them so they’ll remember it as the most wonderful time of the year? And chances are it won’t take much!
Managing Holiday Stress Through Minimalism
Our family has become a huge fan of minimalism. It’s helped us define what’s really important to us and then makes it easier to remove things that don’t add value. Minimalism also works for our schedule too. Since we know what our family values are, we only say yes to things that are in alignment with those values. One of the biggest ways we simplify the holidays is to give only one material present per person. That may seem extreme to some, but over the years, I’ve realized that experiences mean more to my family than material presents. Not only does it line up with our minimalist lifestyle, but it helps with financial stress that can sometimes creep in during the holidays. Even though there are lots of opportunities for fun and festive events during the holidays, we don’t participate in everything. There’s no way we could attend all of the holiday parties or festivals, so we pick the most meaningful ones.
This lifestyle choice has taken some of the stressors out of an already busy season.
7 Steps to Simplify the Holiday Season
Since there are a lot of fun activities and things you don’t want to miss, you can’t cancel all the things. I’ve found it’s helpful to create realistic expectations and set boundaries. I use these steps to help me focus on my family instead of everything that needs to “get done.”