When Christmas Stresses You Out

When Christmas Stresses You Out | Through Clouded Glass


I have a little confession to make - Christmas time stresses me out.

When I was a child, Christmas season was a month full of fun.  Parties, Christmas decorations, good food, time with family and friends, presents - what was not to love?  Little did I realize how much work went into all that Christmas magic every year, especially by my mom.  Now I'm the mom, and I realize just how stressful all the logistics of Christmas can be.

Over the last couple years I have been trying to figure out how to go about making Christmas less of a stress - so I can have a December that is a month full of fun for me too!  These are a few things that I have figured out so far (I'd love to hear any of your tips, so comment below with your thoughts)!






Shop Ahead 

You know who is the queen of planning ahead for Christmas?  My sister.  That girl starts her Christmas shopping in April, and I wouldn't be surprised if she has all the presents wrapped and ready to go by the end of October.  I tease her sometimes about the fact that she shops so early and listens to Christmas music in July, but she has one thing figured out - Christmas time is less stressful if you plan ahead.  

There really is no reason not to start your Christmas shopping in April.  I took a cue from her this year and bought several presents early, and even though I still have a bit of shopping to do, I am finding myself less stressed going into the holiday season.  Another reason to shop early is that it spreads the expense out over several months, instead of getting a big Christmas present bill all at once in December.  You can't plan ahead for everything (Christmas cookies baked in April may be stale by December), but get started early on the things you can plan for, like presents and the budget.

Simplify

It is so hard to simplify Christmas because there are a million different elements to the holiday that feel so essential.  Doesn't everyone bake an array of Christmas cookies every year?  Don't we need to have an adorable (and perfect-looking) picture for our Christmas card?  And shouldn't every child create handprint reindeer for Grandma and search for that creepy little elf every morning in December?

The short answer - no.

Choose two, maybe three, favorite Christmas goodies and let the rest go - or participate in a cookie swap so you can have a variety of Christmas cookies without all the effort.  Send out good 'ole non-picture Christmas cards - tuck a snapshot inside if you want your extended family and friends to see how your kids have grown.  And for goodness sake, back away from Pinterest.  If you have time for all the Christmas crafts, go for it, but otherwise, know when to say no.  

It is okay to pick and choose your Christmas activities, and you shouldn't try to do everything.  I think it's nice to have a handful of family Christmas traditions that you do every year, but everything else can be on a year-by-year basis.  


Remember Why We Celebrate

"Jesus is the reason for the season" can start to seem cliche around this time of year, but say it with me anyway: Jesus is the reason for the season.  

It's less important to make every detail of Christmas perfect, and more important to be a blessing to our families and others, and to reflect Jesus's love to those around us.  Remember the real reason we are celebrating.  Jesus, who was God, was born as a human baby, so He could grow up and become a sacrifice for our sins.  He was born so He could die and rise again, so we could live.  That is mind-blowing, and it is tragic to become so busy with all the Christmas preparations that we miss that.  Slow down with each Christmas activity and take time to remind your children (and yourself) why we are doing all this in the first place.

When Christmas Stresses You Out | Through Clouded Glass


A great resource for reminding kids about the true meaning of Christmas is the book, "A Merry Little Christmas Prayer".  If one of those traditions you decide to keep is giving your kid a Christmas book for each day of advent, add this one in!  Each page describes a Christmas activity, and then relates it back to the best Christmas gift of all, which is Jesus's birth.  It is written in poem form and is beautifully illustrated.  I am so excited to break this one out to read to my kids in the next couple weeks, and I think it will be a Christmas bedtime favorite for our family.


What are some ways that you try to combat the Christmas time stress?


(I really want to know, because I'm still figuring it out myself!)

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Note: I received a copy of "A Merry Little Christmas Prayer" in exchange for a review.  This is my honest opinion.


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Lauren English said...

Beautiful. I love your heart to see Christmas be more simplified! Christmas has felt pretty calm for us these last few years but I think having kids will make everything a bit crazier. We don't do a lot of Christmas shopping and decorating still feels new and exciting because we're in a new house! These will be great tips to think about as we have kids and things get a little more complicated. Thanks for sharing, Callie!

Rebecca Jalernpan said...

This was a great post. Also I laughed out loud when you mentioned the creepy little elf! I too start shopping really early because it means that when the "holidays" are upon us I can actually enjoy the things like baking cookies and such and not have to rush around the stores!

Rachel G said...

I think accepting that it's going to be a busy season and expecting to remain on your toes rather than mentally fighting back against that busy-ness helps, too!

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