Make Space For Stress Free Holidays

trees and lights

Happy Holidays! They’re officially here! Full of merriment, goodwill, and wonder…right?! Absolutely. However, they can also be accompanied by feelings of stress or overwhelm. For many of us, our holiday traditions include gift giving. This is a joy to participate in, but it’s all too easy for stuffocation to set in, as the items we’re bringing into our homes leave us busting at the seams. But this does not need to be the case! Let’s start off on the right foot with some ideas of how to enjoy a stress free holiday.

4 Ways to De-Stress Your Holidays:

1. Make Space for the New

Yes, there’s a deeper meaning here. As we’re coming up on a new year (and decade!), there’s naturally time for reflection and intention setting. But, what I’d like to focus on here is our physical space. It’s fun to give and receive gifts that support and expand on hobbies and interests. Yet, if we’re bringing in the new, let’s first make space by moving out the old.

  • Where to Start Decluttering: Short answer – it doesn’t really matter. Don’t delay. Do it today. Pick a space, set a timer and get after it, designating things as either donate, sell or trash. Repeat the next day, a little at a time.
  • Go through your pantry. You’ll likely be bringing in more food than usual over the holidays. Maybe you’re hosting. Maybe you’re stocking up on all the seasonal yummies that are only available this time of year. Or, you’re getting extra snacks and food for the kids who will be home from school for awhile. The good news here is that there are plenty of people and organizations that can benefit from your generosity.
baby with toys
  • Do a toy purge. As you welcome new toys into your home, set yourself up to accommodate them by proactively purging now. If your kids are little, I’d recommend doing the purge on your own. If your kids are older, it’s great to involve them in the decisions of what they will keep and what they can bless someone else with.

2. Make a Plan for Gift Giving

app for gift giving

I am using a super helpful app this year called Santa’s Bag. It’s free from the app store and I use it for tracking gifts, recipients, and budgets. You can enter in each recipient, assign a budget for them, and enter in gift ideas by stage (idea, to purchase, to wrap, etc.) It has a few key benefits:

  1. It’s easy to use – even for a non-techy like myself.
  2. Everything is in one place. If one of my kids mentions something they’re interested in, I just quickly open the app and add the idea under their name.
  3. It helps to encourage intentional gifting and helps avoid getting sucked into sales or overspending.

3. Revisit Your Expectations

You will feel a tremendous relief if you let go of trying to craft a picture perfect holiday with magazine worthy decorations and happy smiling children 100% of the time. Let the spirit of the season come through with proudly displaying those homemade crafty ornaments. And, if your holiday meal ends up like the below, that’s life! And, you’re making memories….right?!

christmas dinner gone awry

4. Be Intentional With Your Schedule

  • Hosting – If you’re hosting any meals, you can do a little bit of prep every day. The table can be set ahead of time. You can plan your menu with plenty of time to allow for grocery shopping. And, feel free to ask people to contribute a dish. Just because the gathering will be in your home, that doesn’t mean you need to personally do all the planning, cleaning, and cooking.
  • School Break – Will you be home with the kids for their winter school break? It can get a little chaotic, but try to cherish it! The kids are likely accustomed to a structured school schedule. Though a break from this can be nice, they (and you!) can benefit from some structure in their day. Morning could be time for getting out of the house, then afternoons could be for outside play. Talk with your kids to find some holiday bucket list items. You could bake a special holiday dish, decorate your home together, or see a holiday movie. If you’re working while your kids are off from school, give yourself the permission to do what you need to do – guilt free.
  • Recharging – Don’t run yourself ragged! You don’t need to say yes to everything! You don’t need to entertain your kids all day long! This is a work in progress for me, too, but carving out some time to recharge is important. It could be an evening out, a pedicure, a walk, a bath – whatever you need to do to reclaim your peace and remind you of the true gifts of the holiday season.