I have been gathering what others think makes Christmas stressful. Here are the top five stresses – the “10%’s” of Christmas – and some “90%” ideas. I know some of you love the busyness of the season but for those of us who do not, here are some ideas:
#1. The season never seems long enough.
Start it earlier. Because of my colourful childhood, I have many families to celebrate with. We decided that trying to cram it all into one weekend was too stressful. So now we start in November and spread the family visits over many weekends. Trust me – that makes it feel longer! By mid-December, the only Christmas left is Christmas morning when Santa arrives.
#2. There is too much to do.
Stop doing so much. Take a good look at your list of things to do and ask what you can eliminate or delegate. Consider buying your baking, giving gift cards, and letting your children wrap the presents.
#3. It costs too much.
Stop spending so much. We only buy for the small children in our immediate family. Set spending caps with your families and stick to them. My friends and I do not buy for each other’s children. At the beginning of the year, start a Christmas budget and save a small amount each month. Teacher gifts are small donations to charities. Teach our children to be grateful for what they have by being grateful for what we have.
#4. Family dynamics come into play.
Don’t let them. I grew up around five different families and all the excitement that comes with that. It was very interesting for me to watch how people would park their differences around the holidays. Husbands could pick up children from ex-wives and still come by to have a drink with their new family. Put your hand on the doorknob of the house you are about to enter this season and choose to see the 90%s of the people on the other side. Before you enter, breathe deeply and choose love first. Change your family dynamics by changing yourself. Don’t drag the past to every family gathering.
#5. It needs to be more meaningful.
Make it more meaningful. Traditions do that, so create more traditions. We celebrate LangMas on the first snowfall by ordering supper and watching a Christmas movie. The Christmas tree goes up in November. We buy a new ornament that reflects our year, and celebrate our religious traditions. These will be what our children remember.
Have a wonderful stress free Christmas!