Oh the Christmas season.
It’s the most magical time of year.
Everyone is super happy all the time.
Our houses are always clean and perfectly decorated.
Our kids are well behaved and we’re so well rested that we look forward to it every year.
Are you laughing yet?
Because that’s not real.
At least – not in my world. And it’s really unfortunate, because Hallmark Christmas movies make everything about Christmas time seem so lovely.
One thing I’ve found, is that often – the stress of the holiday season comes from a combination of two things – letting other people set our priorities, and getting in our own way.
What makes us beautiful – dare I say it like snowflakes – is that we’re all different, so we all bring different struggles, hangups and stress to the holiday season.
That thing that drives you insane around the holidays, might be no big deal for your significant other. And your sister’s biggest pet peeve is not even on your mom’s radar.
So while all of these savor the season, stress less tips and examples may not be a picture perfect fit for you, you’ll might find a few that will help you put things into perspective and spend your holidays with a little more joy and a little less stress.
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I intentionally do a few things every holiday season to minimize stress and maximize joy.
I simplify, I plan ahead and I create the holiday I actually want to have. Over the past two years, I’ve done a lot to simplify my life. I sold my share of a business, hired a manager for another one, and cut my living space from a 1500 square foot, three bed, two bath to a 700 square foot shotgun that has two tiny bedrooms and one bathroom that we literally built ourselves.
I share the space with my partner, a four year old boy, a dog and a cat – so we have to keep the holidays simple.
Decorating for Christmas brings a lot of joy and cheer to our household and our kiddo, so I prioritize that while making sure we aren’t creating a cluttered environment. Our tree is literally just three feet tall.
For our neighbors. I spend a few days making treats in the kitchen that we hand deliver, which has become a sweet tradition for our family.
I’ve majorly cut the list of people we purchase gifts for. And I always have all my gifts ready to go by Thanksgiving. We’ve cut things like purchasing dozens of gifts or attending every holiday party — and of course this year, I doubt we’ll be attending any.
One thing I still have to do is send Christmas cards. Since I thrive when I feel ahead of the curve, this year I had our family photos done the first week of October and had our Christmas cards in hand a week later. They are already addressed stamped, stuffed, and ready to be sent out Thanksgiving week.
Releasing expectations from family for the holidays was a huge struggle of my twenties. Now that I’m entering my thirties, I’m so glad I set those boundaries when I did.
We spend Thanksgiving and many other special days throughout the year with family, but now we take a trip, just us, every Christmas — typically in our vintage camper.
This means we get to spend the last couple of weeks of each year literally unplugged with no family stress and we feel so replenished to come back and start the new year.
If you’d like to keep this conversation going or share with me what you’re doing to simplify the season, I’d love to hear from you! You can find me on Instagram at @sarahbeckerphoto, and I’m wishing you a very simple and wonderful holiday season.
Remember that you’re allowed to do the holidays in your own way.
I’m going to assume that if you’re listening to this, you’re a grown up – and you’re capable of making your own choices in life. If you feel joy staying at home alone, wrapped in a blanket and watching National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation while eating popcorn, do it. If you feel joy getting dressed up and safely going to socially distanced midnight mass with your family do it.
There is no requirement that your holiday celebrations be big, flashy, over the top or in your face.
Simplicity and minimalism can be so incredibly special, and Special is what you make it.
Significance is what you make it.
A way that I savor this season with less stress is by doing the absolute minimum when it comes to decorating.
Yep. You heard that, right.
It means no tree, no lights and no wreaths.
Don’t think I’m a total Grinch! I do put up two stockings, one for my husband and one for myself, but then I call it done.
I know I can get away with this because I don’t have kids, but I find that not worrying about putting out, picking up and storing all of this stuff that doesn’t really make me feel any more cheery allows for a lot more nights on the couch with cups of hot chocolate.
Come find me on Instagram and let’s be friends. I hope you enjoy your holiday season!
I want to remind you that you don’t have to do everything yourself.
Cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping gifts – whatever it is – we’ve got to let go of this belief that if we don’t do it all, then we’re not doing enough. Or that it doesn’t count.
It’s ok to let someone help you with Christmas dinner. Make it a potluck. Order takeout!
Stressing yourself out and burning the rolls because you insisted on doing everything yourself isn’t good for anyone.
Which holiday activities bring you joy? Do those.
Which holiday activities don’t bring you joy? What can you delegate or just stop doing?
Here are a few ideas:
Need to assemble stuff like furniture or play kitchens and Santa’s elves are nowhere to be found? See if there’s a task rabbit in your area. At taskrabbit.com, you can search, read reviews and find a Tasker who can do anything from moving boxes to cleaning houses, assembling furniture, delivering groceries and more.
On the subject of grocery delivery – If you hate holiday grocery shopping – or shopping in general – use a grocery delivery service like Shipt or Instacart and take back the time you’d spend walking up and down the aisles at the grocery. Schedule a Target or Walmart pickup order and let someone else handle the shopping for you.
If you hate gift wrapping – ask around and see if any teenager you know enjoys it and might be looking for a few extra dollars. Or check Facebook or call around to see what local shops are offering gift wrap services.
I don’t know about you – but Santa didn’t wrap gifts at my house – he just put them under the tree, unwrapped, for us to find on Christmas morning. Smart move, mom. I mean… Santa.
Then again – maybe you think gift wrapping is therapeutic…
Owner, The Keeping Room
I am excited to share with you a few ways that I like to savor the season. It is definitely the most stressful time of year for most people.
With owning a gift store, I tend to be pretty stressed out this time of year, but my most successful way to de-stress is gift wrapping, and we offer gift wrapping as a service.
So many people ask me, how do I get through it as a service for customers, but also enjoy it?
It’s very shocking, but this is SO therapeutic to me. I love to come home and give wrap and sit in some comfy clothes and watch Hallmark movies and just gift wrap all night.I can do it for hours!
I also enjoy taking my kids to go ride in the neighborhoods and look at Christmas lights, and just have childhood memories that I used to do as a kid with them. I think that’s so fun. I hope that this year you get to enjoy some memories with your kids and your family, and everyone stays safe and healthy.
And if you ever need help with gift wrapping and you’re in the Baton Rouge, La. area, we would just love to help you at The Keeping Room. Let’s be friends on Instagram, or visit our website! I’d love to hear from you guys. Have a Merry Christmas!
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