7 ways to reduce stress at Christmas

Do you wish you could enjoy the Christmas season? What if I told you I found some tricks to help the season be less stressful? Continue to read to discover 7 ways you can reduce stress at Christmas.

As a child, I used to LOVE Christmas! I loved the snow, the tree, the presents, and the food.

But, as I grew up and started having kids, I dreaded Christmas.

As a parent, the “magic of Christmas” fell on my shoulders. I got the right gifts, sent the cards, made the cookies, decorated the house, made dinner, shuffled kids around to all the activities, and so on.

The stress of it all was getting me down.

I didn’t enjoy buying presents just for the sake of it. I hated going to the mall in December and feeling all the rush.

Most of all, I hated feeling like I was not getting enough for my kids.

A picture of The Road To Christmas Family devotional pack. Next to the product mockup are the words, grow closer to God this advent. With this amazing bundle. Grab now. www.onedeterminedlife.com

Christmas Past

When our first daughter was born we had very little money. We could hardly afford to pay rent, let alone gifts for our kids or for our family. Yet, I felt like I would disappoint her if she did not have lots of gifts under the tree. Thankfully, our extended family understood our financial situation and so they gave us a pass on family gifts.

All these feelings made it so that when October rolled around, I wanted to fast-forward to January.

My kids were young, and we had many Christmases to look forward to. I did not want years of Christmas seasons to just survive.

A pile of Christmas gifts wraped in brown paper and tied with white and red ribbon. Under the picture are the words 7 ways to reduce stress at christmas. www.onedeterminedlife.com

Something had to give!!!

I made a few changes to the Christmas season to make it enjoyable for me.

These came over time, but doing all these things has made the entire Christmas season so much more enjoyable. 

7 ways to reduce stress at Christmas

Click the links to read how I used these strategies to reduce stress at Christmas.

1. Use November 

I used to get everything done in December but I found myself to be running around stressed out. So, I moved a few things to my November to-do list, and it saved me so much trouble. Click here to learn what I changed.

2. Minimize the number of gifts

When my kids were small, we had very little money but wanted to spoil our kids. That frame of mind made us overspend every year.

So, we decided to only give our kids 3 gifts at Christmas. Click here to learn why and if our kids love it or hate it.

3. Simplify tasks

I set high expectations of myself. Then when I can’t meet those expectations- I feel like I failed. One way to overcome this is to simplify tasks.

I do this by using some canned and boxed food for Christmas dinner and lowering my expectations.

A picture of The Road To Christmas Family devotional pack. Next to the product mockup are the words, grow closer to God this advent. With this amazing bundle. Grab now. www.onedeterminedlife.com

4. Simplify gifts to family

Once my siblings and I were living outside our childhood home- my father realized we were spending too much money on gifts we barely used.

He decided to start a new family tradition that cut out all the Christmas shopping and brought our family closer together. Click here to learn all about it.

5. Keep family traditions

When my husband and I got married, it was important to us to make our own traditions. We brought some traditions from our childhood and started some new ones. Click here to learn what family traditions we have kept.

6. Take care of yourself

When my daughter was born in September, I treated our first Christmas as any other Christmas. I watched movies with my husband every night and slept poorly for more than a week.

By the time Christmas day came around, I was spent.

My husband and I spent Christmas morning with our new little family and joined my parents in the afternoon. I was so tired I ended up sleeping most of the afternoon.

I didn’t take good care of myself. I stayed up late and ignored the fact my life had completely changed.

After that, I went to bed at a good hour and take time for myself. When I do that, I can enjoy Christmas day and it’s not as stressful or tiresome.

7. Make Christ the focus:

Once we had children, I focused on gifts and making their Christmas Special. After a few years of doing that, I knew something had to change.

Our hearts were not in the right place and our holiday priorities seemed to be out of whack.

That is when we focused on Christ during Christmas. We make the time to observe Advent every year. Doing so helps us remember what Christmas is all about.

To get started on observing Advent, check out this Family Advent Devotional Pack and Advent Bible Reading Plan.

In the comments below, tell me what you do to reduce stress at Christmas.

A picture of The Road To Christmas Family devotional pack. Next to the product mockup are the words, grow closer to God this advent. With this amazing bundle. Grab now. www.onedeterminedlife.com

21 responses to “7 ways to reduce stress at Christmas”

  1. Kristin Avatar

    I love #7! Christmas can be so stressful, but all for what? Consumerism and gifts we’ll keep for maybe a year at best. Focus on the eternal because that’s Something that can never be taken away. Merry Christmas!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Consumerism is exactly where most of my stress comes from. So doing these things has helped me be less focused on things and be more focused on Christ and my family.

  2. Joanna Alonzo Avatar

    Be as far away from home as possible! Lol.

    Seriously though, being away from home, and not going home for the holidays does reduce the stress for me. I actually told all my nieces and nephews – godchildren too – that if they want Christmas presents, they have to travel to where I am.

    I think everyone’s more stressed than me this Christmas season. But would I accept the stress for a chance to go home? Totally.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I am far from home as well. As much as not travelling does reduce stress, if somebody gave me tickets to go home, I would be on a plane ;). Sometimes the stress is worth it.

  3. Lauren C. Moye Avatar

    Ouch – I’m really struggling with #6. There’s just so much to do between the Hubby’s grad school applications, Christmas, chores, and my blog. I need to get better about it.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It’s so hard to balance it all!! I write this advice for myself as well. I am a night owl and usually have to nap during the day to catch up on sleep. The state of my house is horrible.

  4. Kim @ Wildflower Four Avatar

    I’ve been trying to reduce the stress of Christmas for a few years too! Last Christmas when I was just a week away from giving birth to baby #5 we did one of the best things we could have ever done. We used to celebrate with my side of the family on Christmas Eve with a big sit down dinner at our house. Then we would do it all again with a big sit down dinner on Christmas Day with my husband’s side of the family. Last year we celebrated with both sides on Christmas Day with a buffet meal. It was just my husband, me and the kiddos on Christmas Eve and it was so fun and stress free! We’re doing the same thing this year!

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      That’s so great! It’s hard to change traditions. But sometimes it’s for the best. I hope you have a relaxing Christmas season this year.

  5. Abbey Avatar
    Abbey

    I agree! The gift giving can get very $$$.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      It can be!! I have been very happy to reduce the amount of gifts we give. Not only do we save money but it helps me focus on the why we celebrate Christmas.

  6. Abbey Avatar
    Abbey

    I agree! The gift giving can get crazzzzy

  7. Eric || The Bucket List Project Avatar

    I agree with you about the stress of gifts but don’t fret. Growing up my family was dirt poor so we didn’t get too many things but I remember all the crafts we would make, the time spent with my parents and family, and the traditions like caroling or dinner or the Christmas play the kids would put on for the parents.
    As I got older, I couldn’t remember many if any of the gifts but I remember the experiences. Use Christmas as a time to come up with free stuff that is creative! Each Christmas is a time for a new experimental fun holiday project.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      Thank you for the encouragement. It’s sometimes hard because I feel like I’m not giving enough. I should know better that time spent is way better then money spent.

  8. Angela Avatar

    Love this! It’s so easy to get caught up in stress at Christmas.

    I’m doing something needed, something wanted, something to wear, something to read for my family gifts.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      My husband wanted to add something to read, but I said no. We get the kids new books at the book fair 2 times a year at school so I saw no reason to get even more books at Christmas. There still might end up with. Few books under the tree 😉

  9. Kristen Avatar
    Kristen

    Simplifying gifts to family was a life saver for me! My side of the family the year before my son was born decided to do ‘secret santa’ instead of getting gifts for everyone.. $50 limit, one gift and you’re done! Amazing! Wish I could talk my inlaws into doing it too.. haha

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I find if you want to change something then it’s best to bring up the subject way in advance. Maybe next year in September, say something like: I was thinking that maybe this year for gifts we can…..
      Hope it’s not all to stressful for you this year!

  10. Kelly R Smith Avatar

    Excellent advice! After our first Christmas with a kid, we discovered our kid got TOO many gifts. Between our splurges and the grandparents’ generosity, she had more than she needed. We adopted the three gifts tradition. It makes shopping easier and our kids don’t have crazy Christmas expectations.

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      My kids are young so it’s been easy to make the change. They don’t have too many years to compare too. Has made the transition easier I think. It’s my husband that’s having a hard time with the limit 😉 he love to spoil us!!

  11. Tawni Sattler Avatar
    Tawni Sattler

    These are all fantastic tips! We too are short on funds and with two boys who we’re TRYING to raise to be less materialistic than we ever were, it is a hard position to be in. I don’t want them to think they’re not getting stacks and stacks of gifts ONLY because we can’t afford them, but MOSTLY because they don’t NEED stacks and stacks of gifts. It’s a struggle, and their young minds just don’t understand yet. But anyway yes, to reduce the stress of the season I always try to have all of my Christmas shopping done by the 1st of December. This year we ALMOST made it… we have one more gift to get for our 8yo, on behalf of his grandparents (we live in Europe, they’re in the States). And on that subject, sending gifts to family is quite the task. We usually send really small packages to family, mostly with Austrian candies and homemade cards. I THINK they understand. 😉 Sorry for the longest comment ever. This was a great post. xo

    1. anne.markey1@gmail.com Avatar

      I love long comments! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I think it helps knowing that there are other people out there doing the same thing and that your not alone. Hope you have a great Christmas

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