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6 Tips to Avoid the Holiday Chaos

6 Tips to Avoid the Holiday Chaos

How I Took Christmas Back

I love this time of year.  It’s often a happy, magical time.  But to many, this time of year also brings emotional and financial stress and our dreaded never-ending to-do lists, which can make us all turn into the Scrooge.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle with Christmas gifts left to buy, holiday cards to get out  (Note: I’ve missed that deadline for two years now. Sorry, friends.), wrapping presents (Ok, I might cheat and use bags.), holiday parties, travel headaches…the list goes on.  Are you tired yet?  I am.

But I’ve learned over the years to take my Christmas back. I have let go of the guilt and let go of my own expectations for perfection. Who cares if the Christmas cards become New Year’s cards or even Easter cards? Who cares if I use bags instead of perfectly wrapped gifts? Who cares if I skip holiday parties because I would rather be at home enjoying my own Christmas tree? Call me imperfect or call me selfish, but for me, I call it taking my Christmas back.

I love my family traditions, although post-divorce I had to learn to create new traditions. I love Christmas, I love giving, I love celebrating the true meaning of Christmas, and I no longer get stressed or worry.  I truly do enjoy.

Here are six tips that I’ve used to take my own Christmas back over the years and avoid the holiday chaos and blues. I hope they help you too.


1)  Stop with the unrealistic expectations.

Be authentic, be real and be who you are. A Pinterest-inspired, amazing table setting both sounds and looks awesome, but for me, probably not a reality.

Christmas cards out before New Year’s?  Maybe this year…maybe.

Christmas lights on the house?  Yes because I am hiring it out.

Homemade treats for the kids holiday parties? Not likely.

But that’s OK. I am here enjoying the moment. We all need to realize that the must do’s will get done, and we must let go of the rest.


2)  Be present, and for goodness sakes, put away your phones. 

Truly be present in the moment. Watch your kids as they sing at school.  Look at the holiday lights all around you.  Watch your family as they unwrap their gifts.  Listen to the conversations around the dinner table.  I am going to try harder at home to heed my own advice. I challenge you to do the same.


3) Do something for others without expecting anything in return.

‘Tis the season of giving.  Over the years, I have tried to give and do for others not just during the holidays but all year long. I don’t always post these things on Facebook. I don’t do it for that reason.  I do it because I believe we all have a responsibility to give back. During this holiday season, remember that it’s better to give than to receive.  Teach your children that.  Adopt a family, give to one of the many local charities in Columbia or lend a helping hand.  Do it not for the recognition but rather because you want to do it.

Say a prayer for those who are struggling.  The holidays can be hard on those who have lost someone, those who are alone or those who are dealing with a new sense of normal.  I’ve been there, and it sucks.  I had to look deep inside myself and create new traditions.  Reach out to those who are hurting with a quick email, phone call or card.  I know that meant so much to me.


4) Say no, so you can say yes to what matters.  

Learn to set priorities to determine what and how much you will do by saying yes at the right times and saying no at the right times. This is what many call finding balance.  I call it “resigning as general manager of the universe.”  The reality is that we can’t be all things to all people, and we must start to take care of us by learning to delegate and saying no. So all of those holiday parties you get invited to and don’t really want to go to, don’t. Say yes only to those you want to go to.


5) Take care of you. 

‘Tis the season to be tired. But if momma ain’t healthy, ain’t nobody healthy.  Sleep, exercise and do something for you.  You are giving to others this time of year. Be sure to give to yourself too.\


6) Be grateful, find the joy and yes, even be a little silly.

It’s easy at times during the holidays, in particular, to think about what we don’t have.  Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. For me, this means, putting on my Santa hat and dancing around the house like a crazy woman.  I laugh, I smile and I find the joy. I dance mostly just to embarrass my kids.

So this crazy holiday season, avoid the chaos, take your holiday back and most importantly, find your joy.

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