How to Reduce Holiday Stress

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, Christmas will be coming only too soon. My 5 year old who has no sense of time, only knows the order of holidays. He knows that its Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas.

Just this morning when I told him Thanksgiving was next week, he asked me if Christmas was the next day. When we saw Christmas items in the store the other day and I asked why he thought they were skipping Thanksgiving, he said that the store workers couldn’t wait for their presents too.

Needless to say, the little people in my house are eagerly awaiting the holidays. And to be honest, so am I. I love this time of year. I don’t let it stress me out. I take precautions each year to ensure my holidays are more fun than frenzy. Check out my tips below to find out how.

Check out these tips for having a relaxed fun filled holiday season without the stress.

Order Cards Now

I like to order my Christmas cards well in advance so I have plenty of time to address them and mail them out. Since I am lucky enough to be related to our family photographer, we were able to schedule our family pictures and get the cards ordered this week.

However, in the past we have taken cute pictures of the kiddos at home or even just took photos from throughout the year for our card. We did the photo shoot because it’s Belle’s first Christmas and our schedules happened to align. But it is not something I would stress over.

It’s more important to me to have the ordering done early than to stress about a photo shoot. Then I can address a handful of cards each night for a week and be all ready to send out some Christmas cheer.

Don’t Host Pre-Christmas Get-togethers

If you can avoid it, do not host pre-Christmas get-togethers. At this stage in life with young kids and babies, hosting parties during the month can be hectic. There’s events at school, visits with Santa, and a ton of other things to do.

On the other hand, I definitely like to attend holiday get-togethers. We have some single or childless friends who host parties as well as people with older kids. I am perfectly content to leave the hosting to them.

We will of course bring a gift for the host which may mean making a batch of cookies or picking up a bottle of wine. But we don’t have to do all the cooking and the baking and the cleaning with 3 young kids running around.

I say, why stress when you don’t have to. Only too soon we will be in a stage of life where it will be easier to host the fun holiday parties and we can return the favor. We just aren’t there at the moment.

Do Host Christmas Day Potluck Style

While I don’t want to host the pre-Christmas parties, I am all about hosting Christmas Day. This means we get to avoid the need to pack up 3 kids and tons of gifts and drive all over to see family. They come to us.

I also like to do it potluck style. We plan ahead and everyone either brings a side or a dessert. I can make the main dish and have it prepped in advance so it can just be popped in the oven on Christmas day.

We set out some meats and cheeses, pretzels and crackers, guac and chips and we are good to go. If it stresses you out, don’t feel like you have to make things yourself. Your loved ones want to spend time with you not judge you on whether everything was made from scratch.

Wrap as You Shop

I like to wrap presents at the end of the day that I purchased them. This gives me something to do with my hands while I relax in the evening. It also means the kids won’t find unwrapped Christmas presents if they happen to snoop or I happen to be lazy.

This prevents me from having a mad rush of wrapping right before Christmas. Plus, if I run out of paper or tape or labels or bows, I will know in advance and will have time to pick those items up.

christmas decor

Know Your Non-Negotiables

Every holiday season comes with a ton of events: the school show, the ugly sweater party, the office party, the visit with Santa, etc. The list goes on and on. Know which of these are the must dos and which ones you are OK with missing.

This means that if you are starting to feel stressed, you know exactly which things you can cross off your calendar.


Don’t be a perfectionist, be a happiest. In other words, don’t worry about the perfect decorations, arrangement of ornaments, holiday card photos, crafts, etc. Do your best and then take a rest. Enjoy the company of family and friends.

Make sure to maintain the other things that you do to reduce stress the rest of the year. Exercise, perform a hobby, have sex, practice gratitude. Keep up with the things you do to keep yourself sane the rest of the year.

When in doubt, do less. A great holiday season isn’t about doing it all. It’s about doing what you do with joy and being fully invested in the experience. Not stressing about a million other things.

What do you do to reduce the stress during the holidays? Let me know in the comments.