I love the holidays, but let’s be honest parents, they’re stressful. I see a lot of you come through my practice the months of December and January because you’ve made yourselves sick from stress. This has to stop. The holidays are meant to be a time for family connection, rest and reflection.
These days though, it seems we’ve made Christmas more about buying fancy gifts, attending parties and Christmas shows at your children’s school and then trying to do all of your family Christmas traditions. Moms everywhere are stressed out by Advent calendars that include doing a meaningful activity with your child every night. It is all too much, and it all ends up distracting us from the true meaning and purpose behind Christmas.
I do believe it is possible to have a more fun and relaxed holiday this year. To avoid getting caught up in the stress, keep these three tips in mind:
- Keep it simple.
The reason that most of us stress over the holidays is because we feel pressure to please our kids. The truth is, they are pretty easy to please if we downplay gifts. That’s hard to do in a country that is expected to spend over $720 billion on holiday gifts this year, but it’s important to not get swept up in consumerism.
When we constantly talk about getting our children something exciting, perfect and extravagant, we set them–and ourselves–up for disappointment. The truth is, after a week, the gift that we worked so hard to get them will become ordinary and boring for them. So don’t sweat gift-giving during the holidays.The reason that most of us stress over the holidays is because we feel pressure to please our kids. Click To Tweet
- Talk to your kids about why we celebrate Christmas.
I remember as a little kid feeling frustrated during the holidays because I knew there was something more important about Christmas than simply giving and receiving gifts, but we never seemed to talk about it.
Talk to your kids about Jesus. Tell them why he was born. Read the story of his birth in Luke’s Gospel. I promise they will love it. After all, what’s not to love about a story that includes animals, angels, and an epic trip through the desert?
When you share the story of Jesus with your kids during Christmas, they will begin to associate the holidays with more than gifts and get-togethers and learn that the greatest gift we can all receive is the grace that Christ gave us.When you share the story of Jesus with your kids during Christmas, they will begin to associate the holidays with more than gifts and get-togethers and learn that the greatest gift we can all receive is the grace that Christ gave us. Click To Tweet
- Prepare for conflict.
Most families encounter some kind of conflict when they get together. In fact, this might be the biggest cause of stress during the holidays. Families can be difficult, and the anticipation of having to deal with those difficult relationships during the holidays causes way more stress than it’s worth.
Think about what may happen when your family gets together and think through how you will handle it. Tip: Don’t get baited into an argument. Christmas Day is not the time to settle ongoing issues. Let them go and resolve to work on Uncle Daniel’s temper, Aunt Ruth’s rude remarks or Grandpa’s drinking problems another time.
Parents, don’t let the holidays drag you down. Confront what causes you stress, deal with it, and enjoy this season with the ones you love.