Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season

The holidays stress me out


Surely I’m not the only one.

Instead of being kind and generous, I end up frazzled and stressed. I snap at my family and end up in tears, feeling like a Grinch.

tips for a stress free holiday

Ready to make this holiday season your best? Here are my best tips for minimizing stress and surviving the holiday season.

Start Early

Early preparation can be vital for any big event, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.

While you’re working on beach and ocean crafts in June, start thinking about ideas for gifts or events you’d like to schedule.

Clear Expectations

Take time to talk with your husband about what he wants for the holidays. Does sending Christmas cards rank high on his list, or would he rather drive around and see Christmas lights?

Set some goals TOGETHER, then work as a team to make your holidays special. My pal Angie had this discussion with her husband and saved herself loads of stress.

Take Time for Yourself

Long before Dec 1st, take a look at your calendar. Be sure to leave some open days to decompress or get your hair done.

Leave room in your schedule for coffee with your girlfriends or dinner with your husband.

Eat Right and Exercise

You won’t be at your best if you’re only drinking coffee and scarfing down Christmas cookies all day long.

Make sure you’re getting plenty of protein, calcium and water. Push away the cookie tray and get some vegetables instead.

Don’t overlook the importance of exercise during this time of year. It will help keep your mind balanced, as well as helping to ward off the after Christmas scale changes.

stress free Christmas

Keep It Simple

Comparing yourself to others is always a confidence killer. It breeds resentment.

Let other folks knock themselves out with elaborate Elves on the Shelves ideas and perfectly decorated Christmas trees. Choose things that are important to you and your family and stick to them. You’ll be able to breathe a bit easier out of the rat race. Keep things simple.

Create a Golden Rule

Coming from a divorced family, my holidays as a child were horribly stressful. I remember being away from home, being shuffled from house to house.

As an adult, I have to work hard to push down the feelings of anxiety that start creeping up when the holidays draw near.

I’ve created a Golden Rule for my family. We only attend ONE holiday get together a day. As much as I’d love to see every person in my extended family on Christmas Day, I’m not hauling many small children all over town. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Instead, we spread Christmas celebrations out over a week or more. This way, my children can spend more time with our family and not be so overwhelmed.

Go Easy on Yourself

You don’t have to have a house that’s decorated from top to bottom, perfectly wrapped gifts under the tree and a seven course holiday meal to make Christmas special.

Take an honest look at past Christmas seasons. Pick out the memories that touch your heart.

make your own ornaments

For me, it’s making ornaments with my children, setting up our Nativity scenes together, and enjoying Christmas hymns on the Pandora station my husband created for me.

Need more ideas about holiday planning without losing your mind? You can watch the iHomeschool Hangout for more ideas on Holiday Preparation.

Remember to let your holiday season fit you and your family, not what you see in the magazines.


Don’t miss these great linkups, filled with great ideas for crafts, homeschooling and more! 


  1. Yes, eating cookies all day long is not a good idea. Not that I would know or anything :)

    Good reminders to take care of ourselves during this busy season so we are better able to care for others!

    • Girl … we had a potluck at work the other day, and I ate two pieces of cheesecake, plus donut holes.

      Later, I was sorry. My stomach didn’t let me forget my mistake. Yuck!

      Love to see you drop by!

  2. I love the picture of the kid in the green and red crepe paper – talk about festive!! I also agree that starting early and staying organized can make the holidays much, much easier. I can’t imagine trying to navigate the season with a brood of kids, too.

    • Mel, that’s actually one of my daughters. It’s a fun game they played at an AHG party – you had to ‘decorate’ a person like a Christmas tree with red and green crepe paper. The kids had a load of fun.

      Having all the children around makes the holidays all the more fun for us! We’re just very choosy about the activities in which we partake.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I love the holiday season but agree, it can be so stressful. And sometimes I’m guilty of just placing far too much expectations on myself. This is a great reminder. Thank you for sharing on Inspire Me Wednesday. Featuring you in next week’s issue.:)

    • Part of my stress is ‘left over’ from being a kid — even at 40, I still struggle with it. I fight my tendencies to overschedule and go, go, go, since it really makes us all crazy.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and thanks for featuring me! :) It’s great to know that sharing my tips are helpful to others.

  4. A good reminder that the holiday seasons are for good memories making times – #magicmoments

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this post. I encounter this problem every year, I want Christmas to be enjoyable and memorable but I just get stressed and worn out. I can’t stand having to visit multiple people on Christmas day instead of being able to enjoy, I can’t stand having to coordinate families and try to keep everyone happy and grandparents visiting times even. This year I made the decision that everyone comes to our house, I’ve almost finished present shopping so I’m ready and organised, I’ve already told family members what to bring for Christmas lunch and dinner, I am putting a lot of effort into being organised and less stressed this year!

    • Look at you, already ahead of the game! I’m a tiny bit stressed, since I’m seeing my calendar fill up already, and it’s not even December. Between work, doctor’s visits, and seasonal plays, we’re getting crazy already.

      Deep breath!

      Thanks for coming by, Eva!

  6. Stopping by and pinning from the Monday Parenting Pin It Party! Super cute and great tips! Happy Holidays!

  7. Greats ideas -thank you! Yes, it is definitely important to spread celebrations out a bit when you have small kids! We are travelling for the first Christmas with our kids this year, so I’m planning on spending extra time there in order for the kids and us to be able to get used to it all and enjoy some family time without too much rushing.

    • Yup! Our Christmas celebrations end up going on for almost a month – between my mother, my grandmother, my mother in law, and my best friend, my kids have a LOT of celebrations to attend!

      Thanks so much for coming by!

  8. Starting early is so key! Helps to avoid the feisty shoppers and frenzy in the air! Supposed to be such a peaceful time of year, but sometimes the craziness of shopping makes everyone so rude and in a rush! #GoingGreen

  9. This is a very good reminder for anyone (like myself) who is feeling frazzled. Totally agree that we should focus on what is important to us and not go on a competition frenzy. Shall make this a note to myself, thanks for this! Hopping by from What’d You Do This Weekend :)


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