Have A Stress-Free Holiday

Just Say “No, Thank You”

  • Is a voice inside of your head not just humming “Fa la la” but also moaning in anticipation of the holidays?

  • Are you excited about gift shopping for a dozen distant relatives you see one time a year?

  • Do you dread the preparations, the cost, and the social overload of the season?

 It’s okay to admit it. If so, then read on. This blog is for you.

You can have a stress free and enjoyable holiday season. Really. The key is to simplify. Focus on these general concepts: value experiences with family and friends over consumerism; scale back; and learn to say, “No, thank you.”


Give the Gift of Time

Save money and travel time by having a “staycation”. You can say “No, thank you” to travel this year, creating more time with loved ones at home and less time with airport TSA or bugs on your windshield. In lieu of traveling to visit distant relatives, video chat with them.

Imagine it. In the comfort of your living room you can enjoy holiday movies or books or play games by the firelight. Put on holiday music and sing. Make homemade decorations. You can find instructions for simple but beautiful crafts online. Check out: (http://www.woohome.com/diy-2/top-38-easy-and-cheap-diy-christmas-crafts-kids-can-make)

If you like to bake, make cookies with your nearby family or friends or host a cookie exchange. What is that? You and a few friends bake 3 to 4 dozen cookies, meet at someone’s house and swap cookies. For one baking session, you end up with a wide variety of holiday desserts.

You can slow down by going with friends and family on a holiday walk to see the outdoor displays in your town. Except for a little fuel to get there, it’s festive and free.


Create a Slow Comfortable Pace

As crazy as this sounds, you don’t have to be part of the holiday rush. Let go of the activities you think you should do and only do the ones that bring you joy and truly fill your heart with happiness. Use three magic words for the rest: “No, thank you.”

We all know that harried consumer experience of the season, right? Holiday shopping involves making a list of who you need to give a gift to, figuring out what each person would like, driving to the mall, hunting for the perfect items, standing in long lines, driving home, then wrapping and labeling everything. We often get hyper-efficient in order to get all this done and beat the traffic home. There’s little time to stop and admire the mechanical Santas in store windows. It takes a lot of time and energy even to shop online. And of course, there is the expense, too. Believe it or not, you can say, “No, thank you” to all of this.

One idea to consider is skipping the holiday shopping. Let your family and friends know at least a month ahead of time about your plan to simplify your life for the holidays by not doing a gift exchange. They will not be receiving a present, and you are not expecting one from them. This may sound radical to some of you, triggering feelings of fear or guilt. Others may welcome this concept and exhale a sigh of relief. Either way, this could be a way to start new traditions that reflect your values.

If you want to give a gift, consider a consumable such as a gift card to a restaurant, or to a museum, or movie theater, or make a donation to a charity in their name.

Or for nearby relatives and friends, you can have a fun holiday pirate gift exchange. Basically everyone brings one wrapped gift with an agreed upon dollar limit. Check out this link for the rules (https://www.whiteelephantrules.com/). This way, everyone buys only one gift, goes home with a gift, and shares laughter and camaraderie.

There are lots of ways to make the holiday festive but with less stress. Are you exhausted at the thought of crawling in the attic to pull out all the ornaments and wall hangings? And then spend hours putting them all away just a week or so later? Consider scaling back your holiday decorations by having one big impact item, then adding a few candles and music.

Whether you utilize all the above ideas or just one, the key to having a stress-free December is to be true to yourself. Think about the pace you want, what you value about the holidays, and the reality of your available time and energy. Say “No, thank you” in ways that are right for you, and do what brings you joy this holiday season.

 This post was created by the following NBOC members:
Laurie Light of Laurie Light, Professional Organizer