Christmas is stressful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays. All you need to do is take a well-deserved break from your seasonal stressors.
With that in mind, here are five things you can do to reduce Christmas stress now and forevermore:
Don’t Worry About Giving The Perfect Gift
I spend a lot of time going back and forth on what to give people for Christmas. I worry that they won’t like what I’ve chosen and fear they may see that as a reflection of my feelings for them. Give with a full heart and soul and let it be received as it will be. Once you put it out there, it is out of your hands. Family and friends know you’re giving them a gift because you love them, and the emotions they feel about those gifts are their own. You did what you could do, so rest easy.
Face It: No One Else’s Home Is Spotless, Either
We’ve all experienced the last-minute rush around the house to clean and prepare for impending visitors. If your house isn’t spotless and someone sees a speck of dust, nobody is going to hold that against you. Everyone understands homes tend to get messy. Do your best to make sure the place is presentable, but don’t worry if you forgot to dust the fan blades and vacuum under the couch. No one will care. Really.
Make A Gift Budget To Avoid Financial Stressors
Christmas expenses can add up fast. Avoid financial stress by making a gift budget. Make a list of people you want buy gifts for, and figure out what you can reasonably spend. My wife and I like to make cookies and other treats and wrap them in holiday paper and ribbons because it’s inexpensive and allows us to give more. You don’t need to go into debt just to wish someone a Merry Christmas.
Divide The Stress (And Cost) Of Christmas Dinner
Make Christmas dinner a potluck! Entertaining guests is stressful enough, so have visitors bring a favorite side dish or dessert and you’ll have less to worry about that day. List the types of sides you need and have people volunteer to bring the ones they want. This is a great way for friends and family to share their top holiday food choices (and the overall cost of dinner).
Cut Your Holiday Food Worries Into Bite-Sized Portions
It’s hard not to overindulge. But don’t forgo a delicious meal just because you’re worried your pants won’t zip up the next morning. The key to enjoying yourself is moderation. If you’re faced with a table of decadent foods and minimal healthy options, choose your top two to three items and enjoy those in small portions instead of filling up on everything. Want turkey and ham? A little of each will satisfy your desire without leaving you in a food coma. And let’s not forget dessert. Don’t be afraid to use the sample method here, too. I like to cut cookies into halves or fourths to get a taste of the different varieties without going overboard. If you’re having trouble with portion size, imagine a small physical object you’re familiar with, then make sure you don’t eat anything larger than that. For example, I try to keep the size of cake and brownie pieces to no bigger than a business card.
Stress is part of the holidays, but hopefully you can minimize yours enough to enjoy yourself. Spend time with your family and friends, and keep in mind that the stress you may feel during the holidays is only temporary. Merry Christmas!