Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

It’s December and preparations for the holiday period are definitely under way. Christmas is a great time of year. It’s great to see the kids getting excited and to have all those Christmas traditions – nativity plays at school, Christmas fairs, carol singing, and choosing presents for friends and family.

Gold Christmas Star

Christmas is coming!

Image Credit: Foolfillment

But while it’s a lovely time of the year, it’s not uncommon to find the period stressful. There’s a lot of expectation around Christmas, and we all want to have the perfect holiday with our loved ones. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get it right, and this can also put strain on our relationships – with our partner and the wider family.

So how should we balance getting our family Christmas ‘just right’ alongside making sure we don’t put any of our relationships at risk?

Financial worries

Christmas is an expensive time of year, and overspending on presents and catering at Christmas can be a particular source of tension in many households. The best solution is to decide a budget and stick to it as best you can, avoiding the financial stress that debt can bring. List what you want to buy and if your budget doesn’t meet it, then see where you can make some savings. Shop online for bargains, make some homemade gifts or organize a Secret Santa, so that the whole family isn’t buying presents for every individual.

Relationship blues

Often our relationship can be put under strain over the festive period. If you’re hosting Christmas, having the wider family stay for more than a day or two can be stressful, especially if there’s any tension between you, your partner and any of in the in-laws. While you all relish the idea of getting together to celebrate, sometimes the reality doesn’t measure up to the ideal you have in your mind. Space is often an issue. One solution is to limit the amount of time people come to stay, so that there’s less risk of cabin-fever developing. Another way round this is to do alternate Christmases with both sides of your larger family.

Nothing in life feels right if your relationship is under strain, and the way most people deal with relationship issues is by talking. If you find that you and your partner are arguing a lot, then it’s sometimes better to talk to a third party who can help you see things from your partner’s point of view. Talking to a friend is good, but they’ll often take ‘your side’ and won’t always be able to give much useful advice. Sometimes talking to someone you don’t know, who can listen objectively, can be a good idea. Many people turn to TheCircle for relationship advice, using a medium or psychic reading as a way of analyzing any relationship problems they may have.

Serving the perfect Christmas dinner

Entertaining can be stressful. Being organized is essential to get that big Christmas dinner onto the table on time. Prep the veggies the day before and have a timetable of what you need to do on Christmas morning in order to get the meal on the table promptly. Delegate some jobs to other people in the family. For example, ask your mother-in-law to bring the cake, and your sister to bring some other desserts. With a little advance preparation and delegation, your Christmas meal doesn’t have to leave you feeling frazzled. And remember, you’re catering for your family – the people who love you and want to spend time with you. Will anyone really care if you’ve overcooked the potatoes?

Take comfort – you’re not alone

Everyone loves the idea of a perfect Christmas Day

Everyone loves the idea of a perfect Christmas Day

Image Credit: Kevin Dooley

It’s not unusual for the hostess to take the burden of getting ready for Christmas very much to heart. They look around and see everyone else seemingly having fun and enjoying themselves getting busy and festive, but inside they feel like they’re just going through the motions. The truth is that if you feel stressed about Christmas and it is putting pressure on you, your relationship and your bank balance, you’re not alone. Feel better by knowing that lots of other people will feel just the same as you, loving the idea of Christmas but getting worked up about it as well. Put it into perspective and try to enjoy it, but don’t have massive expectations for a perfect day that just might not come off.

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  1. Jo-Ann Brightman says:

    It is comforting to know that so many others feel the stress of this season. Thanks for the tips on how to deal with that stress.

  2. ellen beck says:

    A few yeaars ago we decided enough was enough. For the longest time, we felt we had to give to everyone and do everything. It was not making us happy, and it seemed like no one was ever satisfied. It just didnt feel right anymore. We argued, we stressed we just didnt like the hole experience.
    Now, we have slowed everything down… we buy some things but not many. I concentrte on winning toys and we donate to Toys for Tots, we shovel neighorss snow, we say Merry Christmas, we try and concentrate on what its about rather than what the TV says its about
    Pardon the lack of b;s in my posts, I think I overused it and its a hot mess 🙂

  3. Thanks for the great post. It is nice to know there are others out there who feel like I do. I so enjoy the holidays but I do get stressed out about the financial part of it. Since the downturn of the economy, I haven’t been able to spend like I used to. To be totally honest with you, I am relieved when December 26th gets here. I have been trying to find more inexpensive ways to enjoy the holidays by making and baking my gifts.

    • Heather, I totally agree! Every Christmas is more expensive than the last one. Hubby and I were just talking about that and already agreed that next year we are downsizing the gifts and other activities. We want more money for things that we need to get done.

      I saw a research study a few weeks ago and it said that many couples state that they argue with their mates MORE during the holiday season than any other time of the year. YIKES!