I am very aware of the possibility that Christmas may not be everyone’s favorite holiday.  There is a complexity of issues that have the potential to sabotage the season. I’ll be making a list this week of a few things that have helped me keep Christmas from getting spoiled.

Reject those holiday invitations.

Take control of your schedule. Decide ahead of time how many parties, events, or gatherings you will attend. Be selective. This is supposed to be an opportunity to enjoy quality time together. Just make sure you don’t create such a busy schedule that you or your family never gets a real break. Pick a few events that make the most sense to participate in this season, and say no to the rest. And don’t feel guilty about it.  Remember this, if you really want to feel guilty: Once your children start school you will only have 9 or 10 Christmas vacations to spend with them before they get their drivers license. Then your holidays will changes forever. Everybody’s schedule gets a little crazier, and time starts slipping away fast.  So make your holiday time as a family count while you can.

Be intentionally late with some of your presents.

Who came up with the idea that all of the presents have to be bought before Christmas? Some of our best memories as a family have been shopping for each other a few days after Santa Claus is back at the North Pole. That’s when the crowds reduce in size along with the prices. Your money goes a lot further when everything goes on sale, so don’t give Santa all the funds. It’s just smart to decide on your budget but not spend it all before Christmas day. I have designated a specific amount for each one of my four children. Of course there is that extra money I spend on the child I love the most. (I actually keep receipts in case I have to prove in a court of law what I spent on each one). But seriously, the point is I don’t spend all the budget. As they have gotten older, they appreciate the cash as much as the gifts. My Christmas shopping goes kind of like this: I try to at get them something they want (chocolate) , something they need (a coat), and something I want them to have (the newest book on finding a career). Then I give them the extra do whatever they want to do with it. It actually makes Christmas shopping less stressful knowing I don’t have to figure it all out before Christmas.

These are a few things to consider this holiday season. We will add two more each day this week. As we go along, please share your ideas on how you reduce Christmas stress.

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five