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It’s the last day of November, and as a working homeschool mom, you know what that means. Crazy-busy times are on the horizon. Add all the expectations of the holiday seasons, and the idea of a stress-free Christmas seems more like a fanciful dream.
Even the most organized mother who knows all the time management tips can feel stretched thin between homeschool, household, and work responsibilities.
So I created this tip list for a stress-free holiday and I’m happy to share it with you!
10 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas
Christmas is an important holiday for our family. It’s important to me to create good memories and lasting traditions that reflect our family’s values. In the past, I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to create the “perfect Christmas.” And this usually led to me feeling exhausted and stressed instead of loving, peaceful, and blessed.
1. Stay Off Social Media
So when I’m looking for ideas for new projects, crafts, home decorating, etc. I look to Pinterest. But you know what?
All too often, I find myself playing the comparison game. And Christmas on Pinterest can be a real anxiety-producing exercise. All those perfect holiday homes, families, meals, and kids!
And it isn’t just Pinterest. Whether you scroll through Instagram, flip through your favorite magazine, or see holiday ads on TV, perfect versions of Christmas pop up everywhere during the fall and winter months. While
True, they’re nice to look at. Yes, they can inspire your own holiday decorating, cooking, and gift-giving. However, these holiday images are just images.
Don’t expect your family Christmas to have that same look and feel. Coveting a magazine cover Christmas won’t lead to a stress-free Christmas. Instead, it will only lead to disappointment and feelings of doubt, anxiety, and irritability.
2. Declutter Your Christmas Commitments
Have you thought about decluttering your Christmas commitments?
What I mean is to cut back on some of the church, community, work, family, and homeschool co-op holiday events you take part in. This can go a long way to helping you achieve a stress-free Christmas.
I know this one is tough if you LOVE Christmas. Yet the fact of the matter is that your time, energy, and enthusiasm have a limit.
Pick and choose one event in each area of your life. Now, I know that this year your options for any holiday celebrations outside your own household are limited, so it’s a bit easier to say “no.”
By scaling back and focusing on the more spiritual side of this holiday, you just might find more joy this season. And when you keep things simple, you have more time to be more intentional about enjoying the events and activities you say “yes” to.
3. Don’t Decorate the WHOLE House
I know, I know. I heard you gasp. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE all my Christmas do-dads collected over the years.
It’s so enticing to decorate our whole house. I mean, I love those HGTV spectacular country homes with garlands of fresh spruce boughs, old-fashioned ribbons, and rustic Christmas decorating pieces. But you know what I don’t love? Taking it all down after Christmas.
One easy step to a stress-free Christmas is to decorate just one room in your house. Choose the room your family spends the most time in, such as your living room or kitchen. This saves time at the beginning and the end of the season.
4. Minimize Your Gift Giving
The whole gift-giving part of the holiday season is one of the biggest sources of stress for many of the working homeschool mothers I know. And the bigger the family, the bigger the stress. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way each Christmas.
Set expectations with your kids, plan ahead and try a new gift-giving solution in your family, such as
- Limiting gifts for your kids to just four each: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read
- Doing a Secret Santa so each member of your large or extended family buys just one gift for one other person
- Setting a dollar limit on gifts
- Gift themes – giving everyone the same gift ie. hat, mitt and scarf sets, gift cards, Christmas pajamas
5. Budget Ahead for the Holidays
One of the most common reasons people feel anxiety at Christmas is because of financial stress. Most of the time, gifts, special meals, and even seasonal charitable donations cost money. In addition to cutting back or changing your habits in these areas, consider budgeting all-year-long for holidays.
Start by adding up your estimated costs for Christmas. Then divide the total by 12. Add a column to your monthly household budget. This way, you don’t get stuck trying to pay for Christmas in January when your credit card bills arrive.
6. Take a Christmas Homeschool Break
Last year we took the entire month of December off from our regular homeschool routine.
(Note: We did some fun holiday things instead, like making Christmas construction paper placemats and doing Christmas scavenger hunts. Since we homeschool year-round, this made sense for us. We all enjoyed the break and were ready to get back to the books when January rolled around.
7. Limit Stressful Holiday Interactions
Now, I know this one is tough. Yet I also know that if you’re reading this, chances are that you have a family member outside of your own household who causes you stress at Christmas. And maybe during other holiday times as well.
Don’t let interactions with this individual get the best of you during the holidays. Limit the time you spend talking with and interacting with this individual.
This might mean excusing yourself from a conversation when you feel anxious. Or it could mean setting a time limit on family Zoom calls or telephone chats.
8. Try Easy Christmas Activities
Christmas activities and making joyful memories doesn’t need to be complicated.
Think back to your own favorite holiday memories. Which ones make you smile? Look for ways to replicate these for your own family.
Snuggle up on the couch and watch a favorite Holiday movie.
Read an old-fashioned Christmas book.
Make easy Christmas toilet paper Santas with the kids. Or bake some microwave Christmas fudge.
If you take the time to make meaningful memories, you have something that will last a lifetime.
9. Gift Yourself Some Self-Care Time
I find that the simpler I keep things around the holidays, the easier it is to stay patient and kind. When I have too much on my plate, I get stressed out and irritable.
One of the things that have made the biggest difference in reducing my stress during the busy holiday season is to intentionally plan 30 minutes of self-care at least five times a week. And honestly, it can be a challenge to find this time. But I need it.
When I say self-care, I refer to anything that gives me joy and peace. This includes reading or listening to a fiction book, knitting, baking, or journaling. My only rule is that my self-care activity can’t have anything to do with homeschooling or work!
Your self-care activity might include a workout, bubble bath, painting or another form of crafting.
10. Set Boundaries With Time and Energy
In addition to setting boundaries with difficult family members and outside community and church commitments, remember to set boundaries with your work responsibilities too. I know this can be a big challenge, especially for moms who own their own businesses while homeschooling.
For many of us, our biggest sales months are November and December. And we feel the pressure to burn the candle at both ends. I’m just as guilty of this as you are.
But you know what I finally realized? My business will be here next year. And for as many years after that as I want. However, my youngest children are now seven and 10.
We have only a few more years of enjoying the holiday seasons with them as children. And I want their memories to be wonderful.
So I pick and choose my December work commitments carefully.
Commit to a Stress-Free Christmas in 2021
As the celebration of Christ’s birth, Christmas should be a joyous time. Yet, for busy working homeschool moms, the added responsibilities can cause stress and anxiety. Don’t let it!
Remember, the keys for your stress-free Christmas include preparation, letting go of self-expectations, giving yourself grace, and setting boundaries.
Stick to a plan that includes simple pleasures, self-care, and more blank spaces in your planner. And give yourself grace. After all, it is the season to be patient and kind. Make this your motto and you’ll enjoy a much more peaceful and relaxed holiday season this year.