It was all going to be perfect…right until your attempt to control the universe and create the perfect holiday moment hit reality and fell apart. Tears might follow, but disappointment and stress will certainly be there. So how do you escape the vortex of bad Christmas emotions?
Well there isn’t any really hard and fast rules on avoiding stress, but here are a few things I’ve noticed over the years.
- Keep Expectations Low – A large gap between your expectations for family events or gifts and what really happens is bound to cause stress, so skip it be keeping your expectations modest and lower. For example, rather than try to have all your guests happy at a party, be happy they just showed up.
- Do Less – The modern Christmas seems to be an exercise in excess in every way possible: too much food, too much company and too many gifts. So cut back and go to fewer events, give out less gifts, eat a bit less and ask yourself do you really enjoy sending Christmas cards? Perhaps you are doing more work than you need.
- Book Downtime – In the rush to get everything done before the big day and even afterwards, book some down time. You need to rest and recover from all the extra work so book a movie night (or reading book night) once a week at least to give yourself some downtime.
- Start Early – We try to start shopping for any gifts we need in Nov to reduce the stress of too many nights out in Dec. You can take that a step further be designing any holiday meals to be mostly down in advance and then frozen weeks before you need them. Heck I drafted our Christmas letter almost a month before I sent it out.
- Focus On What Matters – What are your favorite parts of Christmas? Sledding with the family or perhaps just hanging out with friends. Discuss those with your immediate family and plan your time on what matter the most to you…not what others expect of you.
I certainly need my own advice, when last weekend we had the insane idea to paint my son’s room while we sent out the Christmas cards, did the holiday baking, some shopping and some other home improvement projects. It was WAY to much and I have now reminded myself to not do that again. Take care and enjoy the holidays everyone.