It was Christmas Eve about three years ago. I was standing in my closet and fear gripped me. I was holding four stockings in my hand. One was full to the brim, and one was completely empty and the other two, about half full. I had completely forgotten to fill my hubby's stocking and my son's was only half full! My daughter got the full one (mine was the other half full one). I'd been so busy doing all the things that I'd completely forgotten the stockings. While in the big picture, it wasn't a big deal, it was on that morning. I felt like I'd ruined Christmas for my whole family. I was stressed to the max and couldn't cope with the mistake I'd made. This made me mad and irritable. Instead of laughing it off, and enjoying what we did have, I stressed. The good thing that came out of it I was bound and determined that this wouldn't happen again!
I am so thankful that instead of piling on more stuff, I've realized I needed to pare down Christmas. No one could be everything to everyone. It would be ok if we didn't all have matching PJs. It would be ok if we didn't bake 1000s of cookies. It would be ok if I didn't have 100 hand addressed Christmas cards. It would be ok if we didn't have a 10 course meal 3 days in a row. It would be ok if every second wasn't magical like a magazine.
Have you ever started to stress out at Christmas? Do you ever feel like there is just WAY too much to do? Well, I've made a little list of thing you can do to pare down the stress. Things that have worked for me.
There are always lists of things to do every holiday. This year, create a TO DON’T list. It may take some time and mindset changes but eliminating the stressful stuff has made Christmas so much more magical.
Here are a few things you may want to do in place of all the things that make you stressed.
Note: it won’t help if you just add it to your list. Replace it with something else.
Get outside. Get fresh air. Move your body. Play. Movement and play are proven ways to make you feel better! Do something like build a snowman or have a snowball fight.
Sing! Singing is a mood booster - did you know that? Either sing along with your favourite carols or have a carol sing.
Make an event out of what you “have” to do. For some shopping is amazing- they love it. For me, it’s stressful and a charge. What I do is make it an occasion. Dress up nicely, make a list, and put on some carols. Bring my kids and make sure I have plenty of time. That makes holiday shopping so much more bare-able. You can change the way you look at any task. Put on some carols while you wrap and sing along (see tip 2 about singing). Smile a actually make an effort to feel the cheer
Create mindful moments. On a cold night, light a fire, put on some carols, and drink some hot chocolate. Either by yourself or with your family. Make it a chance to just be. Enjoy each and every sip of your hot chocolate. Take deep breaths and experience your night with all of your senses.
Find the magic. I find looking at Christmas through my kids eyes makes Christmas so much more. Do something like go to your kids school play. Those are adorable, you can’t help but smile.
Eliminate. What’s one thing you don’t have to do? What’s one thing you can take off your list that would let you breath easier? Can you either completely eliminate it? Can you delegate it? Take a deep look at what are you doing, ask, why you are doing it? Does it serve you and your family? We did some huge changes a few years ago. We talked to our people and asked if we could just do something together rather than buying something. We still buy for the kids, but we no longer buy for the adults. We also stopped with the elaborate exhausting traditions like making 3 huge meals all in a row. We now usually have one special meal but we don’t do all the things. We dropped the shoulda and kept all the love-to-dos. Christmas has turned into a relaxing day to chill with family.
This Christmas, I'm happy to tell you, the stockings are full and so is my energy bank! Well, aside from this awful cold. De-stressing my holidays is one the BEST things I could have done for me and my family! I think my family would say the same.
If you want to schedule in some of these with the stickers I've made here, here is the link to get 'em.