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Lastly, I say something to this effect to my clients all the time when I see how hard they are on themselves: Be nice to yourself. You deserve the peace of this holiday season as much as everyone else. You deserve the best.

Merry Christmas! 

Less Stress. More Best.

Several years ago, however, I realized that each year the week after Christmas, this awful feeling came over me. I call it Christmas Regret. I got caught up in the hub-bub of it all. There was so much to do I lost sight of why I was doing it in the first place. After years of this experience, I took a step back and asked myself how I could shift this and make the holidays peaceful and more meaningful. Maybe you relate.

From that place of refection, I have changed the way I celebrate Christmas. I can’t control what other do, but I can make different choices for me. Now I enjoy a much more peaceful season and don’t feel wrung out and bitter after the whole thing is over, which I’m pretty sure meant I was doing it wrong. I feel a greater sense of freedom and enjoy the sense that I'm running my life, not my life running over me.

We’re in the thick of holiday season. Lists are being made, lights are being strung, and children are melting down at every Target you try to run through quickly.  Christmas is a wonderful time of year. For some, it’s the best. I love Jesus, so celebrating his birth is special. That God came to earth as a man to demonstrate His love is amazing and good news.

  1. Think outside the box: You don’t have to do what everybody else is doing.
  2. Set rules (for yourself): Decide ahead of time, like at the beginning of December, how many events you are going to go to (or host). An example would be: I’m going to only go to one social each weekend. Limiting your social calendar allows for downtime and family time.
  3. Schedule sitters: Get on your babysitters schedule early and throughout the month. Shopping solo or you and your spouse is amazing.
  4. Don’t add stuff: When thinking about your gifts to others, consider purchasing events or activities to do together, not more things or toys.
  5. Make Room: Use the month as a great incentive to purge. Ask the kids how many gifts they think they’ll receive this year? 15? OK, let’s donate that amount or even more to a homeless shelter or worthy cause like Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis.
  6. Give to fight the “gimmies”: Involve your kids in volunteer activities. Meals on wheels, packing food events, helping seniors, etc. This is great all year, don’t just try to cram it in December because that may make you more crazy!
  7. Less shopping: Don’t buy for everyone in the family, draw names for a gift or suggest a white elephant game to play a dice game.
  8. Be creative: Kill time while kids are on break & save money by having the kids make their gifts for family members.
  9. Amazon Prime. Need I say more?
  10. Opt Out: Lastly, I used to buy for many people. The lists, shopping & wrapping only grew each year. Family, kids’ teachers, bus drivers, postmen, parents, care givers, grandparents, nieces, etc. You get the picture. It was Jesus’ birthday and I wanted to give myself to Him, but I didn’t have enough to go around. I decided to ‘opt-out’ on presents to everyone. That’s right, I quit buying all those Christmas presents. I make sure those people receive gifts at other times in the year: end of the school year, their birthdays, Thanksgiving, etc. I want to show them love and appreciation, just not everyone all. at. once. It’s worked very well for me.

Christmas Regret

10 ideas to reduce holiday stress