If you have ever spent a small fortune you didn’t have, or have spent your Christmas Eve in crowded shopping malls looking for that perfect gift for your husband …. raise your hand!
I love the Christmas season as much as anyone, but I don’t love the STRESS of all the holiday to-dos added to my already overloaded mom schedule. Between home, work, and church, I’ve got plenty on my list. BUT a few years ago, I dispensed with all the Christmas madness and revolutionized the way I do Christmas- and every other holiday for that matter.
HOW TO HAVE A STRESS FREE CHRISTMAS:
People over things, always.
Let’s break it down so you really understand how this one thing simplified Christmas and saved my sanity. Here are a few items on my typical stress-filled to-do list, in no particular order.
- Plan the centerpiece/table décor for Christmas day
- Decorate the tree
- Wrap Christmas presents
- Clean the house
On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with my list AND I typically still complete these tasks. However, as I think through the details, I focus on my family and what they need. This makes a world of a difference for destressing Christmas.
Instead of thinking about my home, my Christmas meal, my shopping list, my gift-giving list I started focusing on what matters most to the people in my life.
Here’s how I apply this principle….
Plan the Centerpiece/Table décor
I have a Pinterest Board filled with drool-worthy Christmas tablescapes. My children are not interested in all the little details like place cards and napkin folds. Are your kids interested? Probably not, UNLESS it’s really kid-friendly. So why drive yourself crazy with a meticulous décor scheme? Strive to make it pretty to satisfy your creativity, but don’t stress over details no one truly cares about. Now, instead of coming up with an elaborate décor plan, I come up with simple decor that makes us all happy and comfortable.
Decorate the Tree
Hallmark movies, anyone? I want my tree to be beautiful and sparkly and elegant and… you see where I’m going here? I want my tree to be STUNNING. But, stunning is not for this reason of life. More than stunning, I want my tree to put a smile on my children’s faces. Ours is full of memories and treasures for us through the years. And yes, I still put it up on Instagram, because it is special to us. Who cares if it’s beautiful if the only memory my children have of it is how frustrated mommy acted when they hung ornaments in the wrong place?
In the last couple years, we have added a second tree in our dining room, that is decorated simply and beautifully. This one is not touched by the kids, but it also isn’t perfect by any means. It’s my no fuss Christmas tree. And years from now I’ll have beautiful memories of my imperfectly perfect tree that we built together, not the Pinterest perfect photo thousands of strangers saved as inspiration.
Clean the House
We all want our home to be spotless for guests. However, when I examine the people I invite over I realized–they don’t care about the few dishes in the sink or the dust on the top shelf of my bookcase. They want to be with us, not our stuff.
Cleaning my house is still on my list, but I worry less about the dust bunnies and more about comfort and hospitality. This is a great book that has helped me immensely. Instead of making sure I polish every piece of silver, I purge the shoe basket by the door and add fresh socks for cold feet. I also ensure I have enough comfy throw blankets around so guests can relax with a cup of warm coffee.
Wrap the Christmas Presents
Pretty packaging makes me do a happy dance. Ribbons and bows and cute little tags are my jam. But read that again. MY jam. Not my son’s, not my husband’s, not most of the people on my list. I prefer to buy the heavily glittered, ornate Christmas wrapping paper at Target because well, it looks great under my stellar tree. But my children want Disney and reindeer. Uhh, so not me. But gift giving isn’t about me- it’s about serving and blessing others. To stress less, I make my life easier and don’t spend a fortune on paper or extra embellishments. My time and money can go elsewhere.
At the same time, I can still make my pastor’s wife squeal when I wrap her gift in beautiful paper…because she would NOT enjoy Disney Princesses. If you make Christmas about serving others from your heart, you will make your Christmas simpler!
Dont’ Aim To Please Everyone
With all that being said—you have to understand that you have limited time and limited funds. You cannot please everyone. This means you’re going to have to prioritize the people on your list. I suggest you start with yourself. I know this seems counter-intuitive to your mom-guilt ridden conscience, but you can’t help anyone if you don’t have your head on straight. Start by making a huge brain dump list, and break that down accordingly. Put on some Christmas music and start knocking some simple things off your list. Remember, Christmas is not about the what, it’s about the who and they why.
So, take a few moments to write down your list of whos before you write down your list of whats and I promise you, your Christmas will be a thousand times less stressful! I’ve included a little cheat sheet HERE to get you started.
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