4 Simple Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Managing Holiday Stress

Dear Selfless Esteem,
Holiday stress is getting to me at the “most wonderful time of the year. At least I put aside money throughout the year, so I feel prepared financially, but I feel overwhelmed trying to get it all done. What are the best ways to manage holiday stress?
Christmas Stressed

Dear Christmas Stressed,

Holiday stress makes Christmastime less merry quickly. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 4 tips to manage holiday stress. 🎀

1. Simplify and Streamline

Managing Holiday Stress by Simplifying and Streamlining.

Whatever your to-do list is, now’s the time to delegate and accept any offers for help. It’s all hands on deck; even small children’s hands can do some age-appropriate jobs, such as sticking stamps on Christmas cards. (If they protest, tell ’em Santa’s watching—just kidding 😏).

For Christmas dinner, set out different kinds of cold cuts, sliced breads and cheeses. Then just add pasta salad and a plate of store-bought Christmas cookies. And you’re done! If you enjoy making homemade dishes, save the effort for another day, such as Easter, which is an equally special occasion but with less activity in the days leading up to it.

For many years, I’ve benefitted from drawing names in the family to reduce the number of presents to buy and wrap/ship. Consider implementing that in your family for siblings, nieces, and nephews. (And for beautiful gifts with embroidery featuring classic monograms and custom designs, check out Thread of Roses.)

Try to consolidate errands into one stop, such as a shopping center that has a postal service, grocery store, etc. all in one location. This will save time and transportation money.

For the sake of managing holiday stress, say no to some events. Refuse any guilt trips from anyone, including yourself. If you feel bad about it, see the post, “Defeat Self-Criticism.” (You might also be interested in the post, “How To Overcome Productivity Addiction.”)

2. Use the 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 days of Christmas are from December 26th until January 6th, the Epiphany. Use this to your advantage by spreading out the festivities. Whatever doesn’t need to be scheduled before 12/25 can be done during this time, such as Christmas movies, baking, and crafts. Also, some special events are offered past Christmas Day; check the activity calendars in your area.

I personally benefit from the 12 days of Christmas because I don’t feel pressured to take down the Christmas decorations. I can enjoy the halls decked with boughs of holly a little longer.

3. Take Care of Yourself

Managing Stress during the Holidays through Self Care

Although this is a busy time of the year, keep self-care as a priority. For example, try to maintain any self-care schedule you already have in place, e.g. therapy, chiropractic adjustments, exercise classes, massages, mani/pedis, lunch dates with friends, dog park outings with your fur baby, etc.

Remember to take small breaks, e.g. during Christmas shopping trips. And dismiss any expectations of perfection; this will prevent frustration. For instance, not every ornament has to go on the tree—save your time and energy instead. (For more information, see “6 Effective Ways To Manage Stress” and “The Ultimate Guide for Beating the Holiday Blues.”)

4. Take Time To Reflect

Take a moment to slow down and meditate on the wonderful reason why we celebrate Christmas. God sent His Son Jesus to live a sinless life on Earth and take the punishment for our sins (Romans 3:24-25).

Rejoice in this truth of God’s amazing love and salvation by singing all the verses of a Christmas carol, such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” or “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (Charles Wesley & Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy), focusing on the encouraging lyrics. Hymnary.org not only has all the lyrics, but also scripture references, sheet music, and more. Also, you can enjoy the musical performance below by Keith and Kristyn Getty.

“God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” performed by Keith and Kristyn Getty

Most importantly, spend time praying to God, thanking Him for the gift of His Son Jesus. (For more details about focusing on God, see the posts, “Why Selfless Esteem Is Better Than Self-Esteem,” “The Real Truth About God,” and “How To Pray in 5 Simple Steps.”) And notice personal ways He shows love to you every day. Then receive His love and peace. ❅

This post was originally published on 12/3/22 and has been updated.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New King James Version®. Copyright © 1984 by Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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  1. TC

    I really like the drawing names for gifts concept. I can only imagine how much people in large families would benefit from that advice. : ) I love the different hymns that you recommend, I actually listen to them any time of year. : ) I think my all time favorite might be O Holy night. Wishing you a blessed time of rest and celebration with your family this Christmas!

    1. Gina Leggio

      Thanks so much for your comment. Glory to God! Yes, “O Holy Night” is such a beautiful song. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas celebration too!

  2. Michael

    Great advice as usual! I’m 60 years old and I had never really listened to the lyrics of “God rest ye merry gentlemen”. Great Christmas Carol and easy to play on my Ukelele! Thanks again for your insight! I look forward to your advice every week!

    1. Gina Leggio

      Thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad the song brought you joy and increased your repertoire. Glory to God!

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