A couple of years ago, I tried to finish my holiday shopping early on and found myself stressed out and annoyed.

I soon realized that I was mismanaging my holiday season to-do list, and I needed to change a few things before I spazzed out, leaving my friends and family with no choice but to give me a serious side-eye.

Once I made those changes, the to-do list was a lot more manageable and life was a whole lot sweeter. I truly do believe that the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but I also believe that we tend too put way too much pressure on ourselves, resulting in a season that is stressful and less than cheerful.

I refuse to be that mom who goes nuts creating a perfect holiday experience for her kids while she silently suffers. Oh no! I want to have fun and enjoy these next few weeks, too. And you know what? I am pretty sure my kiddos want the same for me. Happy mom, happy kids.

Here are a few things I figured out over the years that have definitely served me well. I hope they help you have a joyful, peaceful holiday season.

Don’t Run Any Errands On an Empty Stomach

I have no idea what I was thinking, but there was a time when I would leave bright and early to run errands without even eating or drinking coffee. Crazy, right?  Dealing with holiday tasks on an empty stomach is just stupid. Even if you aren’t hungry, throw a snack in your bag and grab your favorite warm drink to keep you going. And try to shoot for a breakfast option that has plenty of protein. It will give you the fuel you need for your busy morning.

Consider Digital Holiday Cards or Stick With “Happy New Year” 

If you haven’t purchased holiday cards yet and you are starting to get stressed out about getting it done, go digital. Create a card on a site like Canva and send it to friends and family via email (or even text). And if that doesn’t work for you and you really need to touch paper, spare yourself the stress and just send out Happy New Year cards.


Don’t Feel Obligated to Get Anyone a Gift

Christmas is about having a giving spirit, so doing anything out of obligation defeats the purpose. If you are unable to purchase gifts for everyone because your budget is tight this year, or you just aren’t moved to buy gifts for certain people, it’s totally okay. Really, it is.

Shop Online

Brick and mortar stores are for suckers! Just kidding–kinda. Full disclosure: I hate shopping. I’m sure you may love it, but even my friends who love to shop aren’t thrilled about searching for parking spaces and navigating crowds. You still have plenty of time for free shipping opportunities. Just leave the stores alone to avoid crowds, and if you have to go, go first thing in the morning. Even if you have work, it is honestly worth using a few vacation hours to get it done in the morning and avoid the rush that occurs later in the day and on weekends. And, of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t tell you that Amazon is my go-to site for holiday shopping.


Focus More on Traditions and Less on Stuff

We buy so much during the holidays, but our families benefit a lot more from creating new family traditions that often don’t cost a thing. I am currently figuring out a few new traditions I want to start in my home. I like things too, but more stuff often leads to more stress.


Think Small

If you want to get a gift for co-workers or people who are a part of a particular group with you, consider something like a $5 gift cards to Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks.  I have received these from colleagues and it honestly means a lot. There is no need to go BIG.

Give Your Time

If you get wrapped up in your own life and all the “stuff” you have to do, consider giving a few hours to help those who are less fortunate.  It’s a great way to serve, you will feel better, and it will help you put everything else in perspective.This holiday season my kids created a care package and sent it to a family in Puerto Rico. Click here to learn how you can do the same.

With about three weeks until Christmas, take the time to breathe, relax and enjoy this season.

It’s not about the stress. It’s about time spent with the ones you love most.

What are your tips for having a stress-free (or less stressful) holiday season?


Photo Credit: Createherstock

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