It’s the season where everything should be Merry and Bright, yet it’s often filled with more to-do’s, stress, and overwhelm than the rest of the year.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

This year, I decided to fill my schedule with LESS to do. I thought about what was most important and also what kept things simple, but intentional. This created way more peace to my holidays and life during a more stressful season.

I’ve said “no” to a lot of things this season that overwhelm me. My priorities in this list could look different than yours. But this is how we’ve been able to keep sane through this list–10 ways to keep your chill this holiday season:

  1. Skip the printed Christmas cards and go digital. These days online photos of the family are endless. Therefore a Christmas card in the mail isn’t absolutely necessary. Perhaps you enjoy this, however for us this year, our budget was limited (and time) therefore digital (or none) was the way to go. Of course, we’ve LOVED receiving cards on our end, but don’t expect one in return. Sorry!
  2. Limit gifts to 3 total for each kid and just one for the spouse. Christmas isn’t about filling the house with more junk. Let’s be intentional about what we buy and limit our spending to a few quality gifts instead of a plethora of things nobody really needs. Allie Casazza and I talk a lot about this in the latest podcast episode:  It’s one of my favorites.
  3. Decide ahead of time if extended family are getting gifts for one another. If so, do a raffle and draw one name per person to gift with a money limit attached. This not only makes buying presents less overwhelming but it brings a better quality, more intentional gift for the person receiving it as well.
  4. Outdoor laser lights for Christmas. Instead of Christmas lights, we do laser lights that flash on our house. It takes 2 minutes to set up and Voila! Instant lights all over the house! Not only is this an amazing time saver, it does provide a pretty unique effect from all the other lights you see at Christmas time.
  5. Simplify your inside decorations. This year, with our giant move from California to Idaho, we decided to keep inside decorations quite simple and I’m SO thankful we did. We put up a tree and stockings and that’s it. It still looks festive right when you walk in, however the clean up after Christmas will be a piece of cake!
  6. If you do want to get more Christmas decorations, purchase them AFTER Christmas. This is when the best sales on Christmas decor is. So if you really wanted to get that gorgeous wreath, wait until the day after when it’s all 70% off. But still to a small list of items because remember, you don’t need to cram your house with more unnecessary Christmas stuff.
  7. If the cookie isn’t amazing, throw it out. There’s no reason to kick your health to the curb during the holidays. You can still enjoy a few sweets without the added pounds involved. So, if you grab a cookie and try a bite but it’s not the most amazing cookie you’ve ever tasted, toss it. There’s no point in adding extra calories to your waist for mediocre treats. I also use a three bite rule of the amazing stuff: three bites of something yummy won’t kill your calorie count for the day.
  8. Clean AFTER guests leave. This can be a tough one. We tend to want our house nice and shiny before guests arrive. But the truth is, as long as it’s picked up, they don’t notice the dust that may have collected in the corners. Therefore do a light cleaning before guests arrive and save cleaning the house after the guests leave. That way you aren’t cleaning the entire house twice in twenty-four hours.
  9. Read the Christmas story to your kids multiple times in the month of December to help them remember the true meaning of Christmas. No not the Christmas story about Santa. The story of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Repetition with kids is key to helping them remember what Christmas is really all about.
  10. Take a nap. Literally. Make sure you take a nap if you’re feeling stressed, irritated or overwhelmed. A thirty minute nap will solve almost anything. Trust me.

What about you? What do you do to lessen the overwhelm and keep your chill during the holidays?

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