It might be the most wonderful time of the year, but for many of us, Christmas is also the most stressful time of the year. Suddenly our already-hefty to-do lists are a mile long, and previously free weekends and evenings are swallowed up by frantic amounts of merry-making. Add that to the pressure of wanting a perfectly decorated Pinterest house and perfectly decorated Pinterest cookies and perfectly decorated Pinterest children in their matching Christmas jammies, and you’ve got yourself a nervous breakdown in the making.
Besides, has anyone ever successfully had tween boys agree to wear matching Christmas jammies? If so, I’d like to speak to them.
Listen, no one wants to turn into a raving madwoman when the gingerbread house turns out less like a prop in a sugarplum dream sequence, and more like this:
Let’s make a vow to take some of the pressure off and work on being more like Buddy the Elf and less like Clark Griswold when he learns he is the recipient of a Jelly of the Month club membership.
5 Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress
First, Make a List
Write down all the things you feel you need to do for the holidays, in detail. In addition to the standard holiday baking, decorating, and shopping, note down all the parties, concerts, and performances that you’ve been invited to.
Check it Twice
Use a highlighter and mark the items that make you feel joyful around the holiday season. Take a good, hard look at the non-highlighted items. Be ruthless. Unless they’re absolutely essential, cross them off. If the thought of making six dozen perfectly decorated cookies for the cookie exchange makes you want to curl up in the bathroom with a bottle of tequila and a box of tissues, go to a bakery instead. Or, better yet, eschew the cookie exchange altogether.
Take the Easy Way Out
There are some holiday things that need to be done no matter what, but they don’t have to consume you. Instead of fighting the crowds at the mall, order gifts online and have them delivered right to your door. If you’ve committed to bringing a dish for a potluck dinner, there is no shame in buying a pasta salad from the deli. Slack off where you can!
Pass the Buck
Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Stop thinking that if you want things done right, you have to do them yourself. I find gift wrapping overwhelmingly hard. And if the strands of hair stuck to the Scotch tape are any indication, it makes my hair fall out, which is why it’s now my husband’s job. There’s no reason you can’t delegate the tasks you’d rather avoid. Kids can address envelopes for cards and decorate the tree; so what if the ornaments are all clustered on six branches or the handwriting is slanted? That’s part of the charm. Accept offers of help and ask for assistance when needed.
You Don’t Need to See Everyone
This is a tricky one, but it’s really important. SAY NO. Schedules become overloaded during the holidays, and there’s no need to go to every single event you’re invited to. If your calendar has gone from “full” to “insane” you can graciously declining. Better yet, arrange for a January Blues party; organize a get together in the month that’s historically kind of depressing. You’ll still see friends and have something to look forward to when the rush of the holidays is over. Win win!