This Year I Am Celebrating the Holidays With Much Lower Stress

New holiday ruleWith the holiday season officially upon me, I'm already feeling a little overwhelmed. There's the Advent calendars, the decorations, the family gatherings. I can barely keep up just thinking about it, let alone trying to get it all done with a super busy work schedule and four kids.

For many years, I've done my best to keep up, not necessarily with the Joneses because the Joneses I know don't have four little kids. Ha. But a lot of my choices were made because I felt some sort of obligation to partake and participate.

But this year, I'm going with a different mantra that I've newly inherited from my dear friend Julie.


When she first explained her new approach to the holiday season in particular, I first exclaimed, "So basically learning to say 'no' more" because, well, I totally get that. 

But she corrected me, and I'm really glad that she did.

The whole idea behind my new holiday rule (and her mantra) is that you're not necessarily passing on the commitments and expectations, but rather you're choosing the ones that you really want to do.

The key is to understand that one person's demand might be another person's fun. I imagine this is the case for people who really love the holidays or might have more time and energy than I do.

It's also important to know your own limits and then not feel guilty if you're not able to do it.

I'll be quite honest that while I certainly enjoy celebrating holidays, I'm not really a big decorator or party thrower. The idea of buying knickknacks and tchochkes that will just take up space in my what-feels-like-already-cluttered house and collect more dust that I won't be able to clean for a month or so makes me a little nuts.

And lugging everyone to parties and gatherings, especially in the bitter cold, which my little Southern kids aren't yet used to, just gives me the shivers. Pun intended.

So with Julie's mantra in mind, I'm giving myself a break this year. I bought a couple of LEGO Advent calendars because that will be really fun for my kids.

We'll definitely do a Christmas tree and decorate as we always do because that's really fun.

But the cookie baking I'll leave to my best friend who's about 450 times better than I am. And I'll scatter my walls and fridge with all the lovely handmade decorations I'm sure my kids will come home from school with over the next few weeks.

This year, we'll really be focusing on the spirit of the holidays, which should be the feeling of enjoyment of and thankfulness for family and friends. And the excitement of a new year full of fewer demands. And a whole lot more fun.

How do you handle the holiday craziness?


Image via nostri-Imago/Flickr

Read More >