6 steps to a saner Christmas- part 1

 christmas

Happy Holidays or Holiday Heachache?

The holidays can be a huge headache for a lot of people.

It is a shame if we don’t get to enjoy the spirit of the season because we are so stressed out. I am thankful that this year has been one of the least stressed holiday seasons I’ve had in a long time. I have lowered my expectations due to my crazy year, and it has made it so much better.

I wanted to share some steps to having a saner, more relaxed Christmas/holiday season. In this 1st part, we are going to talk about some things to limit to restore some sanity.

3 things to limit

1. decorations and cooking- It is up to you to decide how much decorations to put up. Tree or no tree? Outdoor lights? Christmas-y stuff on every open surface?  If you LOVE to decorate for the holidays, then go for it, but if you just do it because you have the decorations and you’ve always done it, then determine if it truly brings you joy.

As far as cooking goes, again this is going to have personal choices in it. If you LOVE to cook and it is a big part of the holiday fun for you, then go for it. It you like to bake lots of goodies, then do so. Just don’t do things mindlessly. Make the choice of what you want to cook. As for our family, I am not much of a cook. We do Christmas eve at our house and I am looking at instituting a non-Christmas type meal for this event. I can make a mean chicken casserole! We do get to have turkey and dressing, etc at our extended family event on the day after Christmas!

2. shopping and gifts – You truly need to consider that you have a choice in how much or how little you spend or exchange gifts. If your children are young, start now to set the expectation that Christmas is about family and giving of ourselves to others, and the birth of Christ (if this is your belief). Don’t let them believe that Santa has an unlimited budget to bring whatever they want.

You may have to have difficult conversations with family members and it may be to late to do so for this Christmas, but consider broaching the subject while everyone is in a merry mood this year. Explain your reasons for wanting to cut back gifts, whether it is monetary, consumption, minimalism, or just plain simplicity. Come up with an acceptable plan: exchange names, give only gifts of food, only buy for children and then only a small gift.

Once you reduce the gifts to be purchased, you can reduce your need for shopping. Again, if you love to shop then go for it. If you happen  to be like me and despise going to the mall or walmart, then consider some other ways you can purchase.

Obviously you can shop online. Another thing I would suggest is buying from smaller businesses rather than the big-box stores. And if you can purchase from locally owned small businesses, even better! Studies show that 45% of your purchase stays in the community if you buy from a local business vs 15% if spent at a big box company. And, you can always make gifts, whether you are crafty and make some really cool stuff, or you like to cook and can bake up some goodies.

3. obligations – This is a big one. This is what keeps people running around crazy and families out late. And this is one you can make a big impact on.

Think of your family goals. Do you want to be involved in their schools? Then volunteer and go to their parties. Do you want your children to give back? Then make cookies and take them to homeless shelters. Do you want to increase the culture in their lives? Go see a Christmas play or Handel’s Messiah.

Once you know your priorities, then make decisions on all the opportunities that are available to you. You CAN say NO!

This year we have done much less, but we did have a party at our house last week with about 20 people over! This week is my hubby’s company party. I admit we don’t LOVE the company part of it <grin>, but they hold it at a Ritz Carlton in the country on a lake, the atmosphere and the food are awesome, and the entertainment is amazing (the Swinging Medallions!) We get a deal on a room, so it is a great date night, and we are looking forward to it! 

Take inventory

Sit down this weekend and see if there are some things you can mark off your list! Leave me a comment and tell me what you were able to eliminate. And on Monday, watch out for Part 2 of Six steps to a saner Christmas. We talked about things to cut back on, next we’ll talk about the things you want to be sure to do!

If you think you know someone who could use a little help for the holidays, please share by clicking the appropriate buttons below!

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