I find this year to be such an interesting time of year. As I roam around, I see so many people looking extremely stressed out and rushing to get their to-do list for the holidays completed. I hear so many people having conversations with others expressing how they feel overwhelmed with everything they “need” to do over the next few weeks and how they just wish there was enough time. Well, what if I told you you don’t actually have to do ANYTHING this holiday season? You don’t have to wander around a million stores looking for gifts to pass out to every person you know. You don’t have to plan the fancy Christmas party you plan every year. You don’t have to try to squeeze in the family pictures you take every year. If you need permission to not do these things (which you honestly don’t), then YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION! Let go this holiday of the many unnecessary stresses we add to our to-do list every year and enjoy this holiday season STRESS FREE. Today I am sharing with you 10 different things you can let go this holiday season. Let’s dive right in!
1) Buying New Decorations Every Year
I was at a seasonal decoration store, which I will leave unnamed, the other day and it was PACKED. The lines were ridiculously long, there were so many shoppers that it made it difficult to roam the aisles. People’s carts were LOADED with Christmas decorations. I totally understand that it can be fun to decorate your home for the holiday season but to be honest, a lot of the shoppers looked stressed to me. I even heard a few people on their phones complaining to the people they were talking to that they were tired and couldn’t wait for Christmas to be over. I truly wanted to go up to these people and just say “Hey, you don’t HAVE to be here. You don’t have to buy all the decorations. You don’t have to change your decorations every year.” Of course, I couldn’t do that but I can say it here! Decorate your home to the point that it brings YOU happiness and do nothing more. You don’t need to keep up with the new trends every year. There is something very special about bringing out the same decorations every year for you and your family to enjoy.
2) Too Many Gifts for Kids
I took the pressure of piling gifts for my kids under the tree off years ago. It was something that was becoming so stressful and truthfully, extremely expensive. Now, we just get the kids a few gifts each and they appreciate them so much and play so well with them. We buy things for our kids as they need them and this just works out so well for everyone!
3) Grown Up Gifts
Another thing we cut out was buying adult gifts. Specifically my husband and I no longer stress about buying each other gifts at Christmas time. It was becoming an unnecessary stress trying to figure out what to get one another and to be quite honest if there is something we really want or need throughout the year we just get it for ourselves so gifts really just aren’t necessary.
4) Throwing Elaborate Parties
I’ve gone to plenty of holiday parties thrown by friends and family and the ones I enjoyed the most were the more relaxed ones where the kids could just play, we didn’t have to get super dressed up, and the hosts were relaxed as well. You don’t have to throw fancy parties every single year. Don’t get my wrong – if throwing parties is your jam and you love to do it, go for it! But if you do it out of a sense of duty or obligation, just cut it out this holiday season.
5) Buying Matching Family Pajamas
I will tell you the truth and say I did get into the matching pajama trend the first couple of years after my kids were born. Then I started to stress out about it every year because sometimes they were hard to find or they were ridiculously expensive. As soon as it become “not fun”, I took this tradition out and it just took a load off of me!
6) Taking Holiday Family Pictures
Another thing that was becoming stressful was booking a photographer during the holidays to take family pictures. Not only was it hard to book a photographer, but it was also VERY expensive and during stressful economical times like we are in now, it’s just another thing that we could cut out as a family and not feel like we were missing out on the joy of Christmas.
7) Sending Out Holiday Cards
I stopped mailing holiday cards to all our family and friends a few years ago. I did this because I noticed that I was tossing the holiday cards I was receiving instantly and realized chances are my family and friends are tossing out ours after looking at them as well. It just became something that was becoming repetitive and tedious and so out it went.
8) Buying Gifts for Anyone and Everyone
I remember there was a point in time where people were giving gifts to just everyone at Christmas time. You were almost expected to give a gift to your kids’ teachers, babysitter, postman, etc. and it became overwhelming. I now opt to give out gift cards as they can get whatever they want and need but I also limit who I hand out gift cards to because it can get expensive really fast!
9) Elaborate Christmas Baking
Baking is something I love to do! It brings me so much joy but I have to be careful with how much baking I take on. There were a few years where I handed out a huge container of treats to over 20 different family and friends and after awhile it became stressful, costly and again, repetitive. So, what did I do? You guessed right! I stopped! Now I just bake a few special recipes with my kids or just whenever I am truly in the mood and I LOVE it!
10) Buying Things on Clearance After Christmas
The last thing I stopped doing was trying to run out to the stores the day after Christmas to buy clearance items. At one point, it used to be fun to do this but after having kids it became more of a chore to wake up early and try to fight the crowds. Also I was just buying things that I didn’t even really need and that I had to store for a year so I just stopped and I have truly enjoyed just staying home the day after Christmas with my family.
And those are 10 things I eliminated from my Christmas “list” to make it just a little more enjoyable. I understand that some of these may sound crazy to you. You may even think this is the Grinch writing this post. But if you think about it, eliminating one, or a few, or even all of these stresses isn’t going to take away from the joy of Christmas. I bet it will make you enjoy the season more as you will be more present with the handful of things you do decide to include. You will enjoy time with your family and you’ll have an amazing holiday season.