Ahhh- holiday stress. I don’t know anyone who really deals with holiday stress in a great way, except my mother. Every other woman I talk to this time of year is in crazy-whirlwind-hold-on-tight-it’s-going-to-be-an-insane-one mode, and we all give each other those knowing, empathetic nods. Yes, I haven’t sat down yet today either, and nope, still haven’t special ordered that toy.
If you’ve been reading along with this blog, you know I’m not one for craziness. Simplifying is my deal. However, even when we simplify all our holiday tasks, there are still so many of them that eat up our time.
I asked my mother what her advice is for dealing with holiday stress.
Figure out what you love to do the most, what truly brings you joy during the holidays, and scale back on (or cut out) the rest.
My mom has always been one for solid advice. Her answer actually made me feel better about something I had cut out that particular year, but wasn’t feeling so great about letting go. It was the year of no Christmas cards.
No Christmas cards gasp?
The holidays are full of creative outlets, and Christmas cards are no exception. I thought I loved the Christmas card tradition- what could be more fun?
I thought I loved selecting pretty cards, until I couldn’t find any my picky self really liked. Any that weren’t attached to a really expensive price tag, that is. I couldn’t take on the guilt of buying them. I also had a growing hodgepodge of leftovers sitting in an unused pile, also making me feel guilty and wasteful.
I thought I loved taking a family picture, until I realized taking a good picture with young children involved is never fun.
I thought I loved compiling a newsletter of our family’s year, until I started to write one, and struggled to get a result that was cute but not cheesy, praising without bragging, and informative without being completely boring.
I’m not cut out for that kind of work.
The last year I sent cards, I realized I had spent four hours on them.
Almost half a day. And that didn’t count the time it took to take the family picture and shop for the cards.
I don’t know how that happened, but I did know that I was in contact with most of the people on our list via Facebook, and they saw consistent updates on our family throughout the year. I decided that our Christmas card tradition was officially over.
It has been so freeing to not worry about them since.
The point of this post is not to convince you to give up Christmas cards. If you love that tradition, and it fills your soul, then you absolutely SHOULD do it! I put an insane amount of effort into decorating Christmas trees, and I’m sure that would not fill some people’s souls the way it fills mine. I don’t think I should give it up in the name of “simplicity.” Instead, I cut out something that didn’t bring me the same joy.
I know some who love shopping in the hustle and bustle and excitement. Some wouldn’t miss the annual choir performance. Others get our their creativity in the kitchen, and have awesome baking memories with their families. Others find joy in potlucks, parties, and open houses. Don’t forget those who deck out their houses in amazing light displays. There are many wonderful and worthy holiday activities to experience.
We just don’t have to do them all.
Find the ones that bring you true joy (and let all the rest go- – – it will be ok, I promise!).
Wishing you, and me, wisdom and discernment in our holiday planning this year… and no yuletide meltdowns ;).