Friday, October 26, 2012

Avoid the Holiday insanity

                                                                         © Robert5061 | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Does it seem like the Holidays hit you like a tsunami? Do you barely have time to recover when the shock waves knock you over again?

It has become out of control for so many of us. I saw a sign that said "Are you ready for Merry Hallowthanksmas?"  A few year ago my Mother said "enough is enough!" and the holiday season has been so much better for all of us.

Some tips for slowing down and elimintating stress from the holiday season.

Can you get together another time of year?

Is there a group of people you get together with during the holiday season that would benifit from getting together at a later date? Maybe you could suggest  something like, "I enjoy getting together with you, but the holidays are so busy for all of us. Maybe we could get together in February or March and do a Weekend brunch (or whatever seems appropriate for the group). I really want to spend time with you and catch up on what is going on with your life, I think we could do this better when we are not all so busy."

We had a Christmas party on Valentine's  day one year. Our freinds had a foreign exchange student at the time. You can imagine his surprise and perplexed look. "I thought Christmas was in December?" He didn't quite get it, but he had a nice time. We were able to really enjoy one another and it was a lovely party.

Gifts and more gifts oh my!

Instead of a pile of gifts so high they could reach to the moon and back. Let's settle down and give a few gifts and really enjoy them. I was surprised by a movie I watched recently. It was set in the wild west. It was Christmas. The main character was a young lady in her first year of marriage away from her family. She worked hard and made gifts for her new family, (the farmhands on the ranch). One of the older gray haired gentleman said "Thank you, this is the first Christmas gift I have ever recieved." It struck me. If we were to be transported back to that time, all the gifts for one family would fill that old farmhouse cabin and be spilling out the door. The family would have to sleep out in the barn with the animals. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed by the river of gifts we cannot enjoy them, we get swept away.

Janice of celebrating family has written a great post detailing how they got away from the pile of presents. They made a move to real gift giving with a meaningful purpose.  The link to her post is included below
Celebrating family... gift giving with purpose

Do you really need to give gifts to your second cousin's dog?
How many neighbors do you really need to give to?
How about Teachers and others, could you recognize them and give them gifts later on?
A surpise gift in the middle of the year can go alot further than a token gift lost in the shuffle of a busy holiday season!

Non traditional gifts:

The promise of time spent later on.  
My parents speak the language of time spent together. Over the last few years they have given up the traditional gifts and spend the money on a summer getaway for us all. Christmas is a real joy, we get an envelope with a note that tells us what summer getaway Mom and Dad are planning.  It has really helped the stress level for my parents, and we get a chance to all get together again.

The gift of service.
Some of my favorite Christmas memories are the years that we gave service. We spent several years working on service projects instead of exchanging gifts one with another. Those things make memories.

Now is the time to re-evaluate. What are the things that are most important to you for the Holiday season?  How can you simplify the holiday season? Are there some traditions that can be simplified or eliminated? What are your biggest holiday stressors? What can you do to lessen or eliminate those stressors? What can you do to increase holiday joy?

Now it is your turn. Leave a comment below as to what you are going to do different this holiday season.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more - I like to simplify the holidays to actual enjoy memory making time with my precious kiddos and remembering the reason for the season!! Thanks for the reminder to simplify =-)

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a GREAT weekend,
    Beth =-)

  2. Agreed!!! I am trying to rein in my parents who are the last people who think that my little one needs the river of presents (and everyone else). I told them only one present under $25 for each adult at our gathering. My mom said that wasn't good for her..not sure what that means. Well, it better be because we already discussed how we weren't needing anything else so now my parents are trying to pay for part of a vacation and others... I feel it is to make up for Christmas but at least we won't have things that we don't need at the house.

  3. Popping over from Loving Our Children Tuesday. I especially like the part about giving less gifts. I know our kids don't play with half of the toys they have and I've started packing up toys and rotating them because they just have way too many. I want them to be grateful for what they have - not always want more. Sometimes less IS more. Blessings from Croatia: A Little R & R:

  4. This post is so right on. We really do need to settle down during the holidays and focus on what matters!


  5. Love this post - I agree with your points, and am in the process of setting up some newer tradition for my little family this holiday season, unforgentaly for me, my larger family isn't so willing to be flexible with their traditions. I guess learning to care for my little family first and others next is going to be a lesson surrounding this holiday season... Mostly I'm stepping back from some of the bigger events because it's hard with two young kids and a strict budget to buy a million gifts and run all over creation in a short amount of time. I'm staying with the hope that all the other events of the year will be more meaningful for the larger side of the family now, and hopefully more wonderful memories for my little ones.


  6. loved this post!! was about 10 yrs ago when we had guests sleeping here for christmas and when we were putting the gifts under the tree, i got embarrassed because there was so much stuff. i changed my perspective and my habits that day...and things got a whole lot easier and happier!!!
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.
    happy November!

  7. I really like your first point, and as one who seldom thinks outside the box, it was a good one. Why not have a Christmas party in January, or February? Might just solve the problem of which inlaws get to see the grandkids open presents, too! Since my hubby and I were married on December 28, we usually celebrate (rather than neglect) our anniversary by doing something special in February. So maybe I can think outside the box a bit after all. Visiting from Be Not Weary today :)

  8. Such a great post! I totally agree. The meaning of the holidays can be utterly lost beneath the piles of gifts.

    This year is our first year out of school so I actually have money to spend on gifts for my children. I want to bless them, but rather than spend money on toys they don't need, we are giving them cowboy boots, tokens for horseback riding lessons and a few books. (My 5-year-old thinks riding a horse is pretty much the best thing in the world!)

    Thanks for linking up with us!

  9. This year I am going to stay away from giving the kiddos toys for Christmas. They have more than enough. I will be getting them a few things they need and can actually use (sleeping bag, tent, etc.) As for the kiddos we discussed the fact that they have enough and I already know what they like, so they are to be thinking and making a list of what they want to get their grandparents, dad, etc. Thanks for this great post and sharing your ideas with Simply Helping Him this week! Blessings! :)