How to Actually Enjoy the Holidays
The holidays can be so stressful. There's always something to do, some party to attend, some cookie exchange to bake for, and the list goes on and on. While I love all the holiday activities, sometimes they can be overwhelming. All the things that we plan with the intention of making the holidays more enjoyable, can actually make things much more stressful, and cause us to lose sight of the true meaning of the holidays altogether. We have a list of a few things you can do to actually enjoy the holidays this year and in years to come.
Give yourself limits.
This holiday season it's guaranteed you will be invited to partake in far more holiday excitement than you and your family can really enjoy. Before the season starts, give yourself a limit as to what you want to participate in. You can limit it to one cookie exchange, three family get-togethers, one Church event or something along those lines. Or you can limit it to a certain number of events each week. Be realistic with this number. Don't over-commit or you will over-stress. You will actually enjoy the holidays if you do less, and stress less, and setting limits will help with that.
Yes. I said to give less. I know the holidays are all about giving, and exchanging gifts with loved ones, but it can get really expensive and overwhelming buying a gift for every single person on your list. Simplify that list. Buy less. Maybe have a baking day with the family, and give out cookies to extended family and friends, instead of spending so much time and money shopping for gifts. Nearly everyone enjoys baked goods (or some kind of gift in a jar)! If you still want to shop, consider drawing names for extended family or friends, so you have a smaller number of gifts to purchase. Remember that you need to give your time and your presence to your children and family this holiday season too. Actually enjoy the holidays this year by giving less in the presents department, and giving more in the presence department!
Check out my article with ideas on how to have a great Family Christmas Gift Exchange. (with only 4 gifts per person!)
Simplify your hostess duties.
Having a family get-together this Christmas? It doesn't make you a bad person to purchase cookies from a local bakery on Christmas Eve so you don't have to bake them. It doesn't make you less of a hostess to make just two or three simple finger foods for the family to snack on, instead of five or six, plus desserts. Have the family pitch in with food! Lots of people want to bring something to a get-together, and doing things potluck style will ease your stress level. Remember, too, that your house doesn't need to look like a cover of Better Homes & Gardens, either. Keep your decor simple. Years from now, no one will remember your food or decor, but they will remember the times they shared laughing and enjoying the holidays with family and friends. Keep your focus on what's important! Now I can actually enjoy the holidays by doing less, and embracing family and friends more.
See my tips on keeping overnight guests comfortable here.
Stay home more.
I have found that there are always things to do outside of the home when it comes to the holidays. While those things can be fun and enjoyable, they also add stress at a time that's meant to create memories and enjoy your family. Stay home. Read Christmas stories, and drink hot cocoa with your kids. Watch a Christmas movie in Christmas pajamas. (Who doesn't love a little Frosty the Snowman with popcorn?) Bake some cookies and let your kids decorate them however they want. Enjoy your home and the warmth that can be found in it only during the holiday season. Make memories with your children and family by spending time with them. There will always be things to do, places to go, people to see, but the best way to actually enjoy the holidays this year is by going less.
Cookies are always a fun thing to make with your children. Find a bunch of yummy cookie and dessert recipes (from scratch!) here: Little House Living Cookie Recipes.
Remember this year, not to let another holiday season go by where you're stressed, broke, and upset at the end of it all. Do less, be present more, and engage in only the activities that will make this season better for you and your family. Don't plan things and do more, just to have a full calendar. Don't fall prey to the shopping gurus who tell you that you need a store-bought gift for every single person you know, and that you need to shop up until Christmas eve. Give from your heart. Use your time wisely. Stick to a budget. Make memories you and your family will never want to forget. Those are all the things you can do to actually enjoy the holidays this year. Be blessed, and happy holidays!
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