How to Reduce Holiday Stress

We all feel it, the weight of the Holiday season. It starts creeping up right after Halloween and doesn’t leave until sometime in mid January. What should be a season filled with family and love can leave you feeling more like the ringleader of a pirate circus on Mars than a mother.

Here are simple changes you can make this year to put your mind at peace. The key to this approach is to take baby steps. Adjustments can take some time, and as long as you are taking small steps you will find more ease and less stress during this time of year.

I am sharing from my family to yours: 5 steps to help you enjoy more and stress less.

Have the Family Come to You

The easiest way to burn out from all the merry making and family time is having to travel. My husband and I both have divorced parents so holidays were always stressful. Now that we have our son and live in Boston, its even more difficult. It’s a lot to be expected to visit everyone for each major holiday. When we moved to Boston we told our parents that we would not be traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and we were more than happy to host anyone that wanted to come visit. Sometimes you need to really think about what is healthiest for you and your family. Be sure to stand firm in your decision.

I understand that families with elderly grandparents may have a harder time with this suggestion, but this is a great opportunity to reach a compromise. Split up holidays and rotate who is traveling throughout the year.

Order Out

It is not the end of the world if you aren’t making all your holiday meals from scratch. This year we decided to order our entire Thanksgiving dinner from Wholefoods, precooked and all. It ended up being more cost effective than buying all the ingredients ourselves. The best part is there is NO cleanup for us this time. Plus I don’t have to spend an entire day in the kitchen when I could be spending stress free time with my family.

Secret Santa Exchange

Money and budgets can be a thorn in your side when planning family gift giving. You can also be stressed out trying to come up with ideas. Our family has been trying to de-clutter from all the material objects we get every Christmas. My sisters and I have implemented a secret Santa gift exchange between the four of us. It saves us time and money, plus everyone still gets a gift. We usually make wish lists on Target and Amazon, then share them with each other.

Here are some websites that do the work for you:

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They generate who you will be shopping for, and you can even upload your wish list and share with the other participants. Go buck wild and do a secret Santa with your entire family!

We usually Skype with our families on Christmas day to open presents “together”. Even if its only through a screen, they still get to be a part of Dante opening gifts.

Write a Letter

I always want to write letters to Dante for him to read later in life. It’s a great way to share memories with your children when they are older. The holiday season brings with it touching memories and moments of reminiscing. What a perfect time to put pen to paper.


I an a firm believer that this season is as much about faith & family as it is about giving of your time and talents. Go volunteer at a community dinner, homeless shelter, or soup kitchen. Its wonderful to serve your community and give back, and it gives you appreciation for what you have. This world makes it hard to be satisfied with all we are blessed with. Especially when marketing and our media is always dictating what we NEED to be happy. Take the time to make an impact on a strangers life and I guarantee you will be surprised to find that they left an even more meaningful impact on you.

I hope these suggestions and steps are helpful to you in your peace journey this holiday season. Here’s to the more merry you!

Check out my other new post on Toddler Tantrums and the corresponding podcast.

Be You. Be Resilient.

<3 Mika

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