Christmas is quickly approaching and life is getting busier… and much more stressful. As the mom of two little ones, I fully understand how crazy life can be around the holidays. There is so much to remember! I have a mental checklist of things to do that seems to be growing every day rather than shrinking. Needless to say, my holiday joy has turned into holiday stress. It’s exhausting to say the least!

 

Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress? 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas | alyssajhoward.com

 

I received some very helpful advice this week from a friend. She helped me to realize that the last thing I want for Christmas is for my daughters to remember their mom running around completely stressed. How can I teach them that the Savior brought joy and peace into the world, when I am anything but joyful or peaceful?

 

In theory, I desire joy and peace during the holiday season. But understanding something in theory and putting it into practice are two entirely different things. How do I slow down? How to I find joy and peace when I have so much on my plate?

 

I’ve been pondering this thought all week and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

 

  • Be willing to cut back – even if it means letting go of a tradition or two.

This was the first year since being married that I didn’t mail out Christmas cards. I remember as a kid receiving Christmas cards from relatives and more often than not, it was our only update all year as to how things were going in their lives. We received numerous school pictures from my cousins, and it was exciting to see how much everyone had changed since last year.

But with social media in place, I realized that everyone on my Christmas card list was also a Facebook friend. They receive updates all the time and get to see pictures of my family regularly. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of sending and receiving cards, but this tradition for me personally was all stress and no joy.

This brings me to my next point…

 

  • Cut out the holiday stress and leave the holiday joy.

Now there are some things on our to-do lists we simply have to do. But there are also many Christmas activities and traditions that we choose to do. Is there anything on the “choose to do” side of the list that brings nothing but stress?

For me personally, it wasn’t that the activities brought me stress, it was more the fact that I had too many activities. With too many things to get done, I didn’t have time left to enjoy much of anything. I knew it was time to prioritize my “choose to do” list. I picked my favorite things, and cut out the rest.

 

  • The gift of time is rare and priceless.

As much as I want to do everything on my Pinterest idea list for Christmas, it’s never going to happen. (I’m pretty sure Pinterest was created by super mom wannabes!) It’s important to remember that our children see us as super heroes when we spend time with them. It’s not about the gifts. It’s not about the traditions, the perfect decorations, or the perfect meal. My girls are all smiles when I simply get on the floor and play with them.

 

  • Remember why we’re celebrating in the first place.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercialism of the holiday. (I personally love Christmas shopping!) But the reason behind all of this has nothing to do with stuff. It doesn’t even have anything to do with tradition. It’s all about Him.

Jesus didn’t enter the world with a lot of fanfare; rather He came quietly and peacefully. Let’s keep that the focus this holiday season.

 

Don’t let your to-do list steal your holiday joy!

 

Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress? 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas | alyssajhoward.com

 

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6 thoughts on “Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress: 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas”

  1. Remembering to cut back as well this holiday season. For me, it’s saying no to holiday parties! I want my holidays to be of joy and not stress. I think you’re setting a great example to your little ones Alyssa.

  2. You’re correct when you say it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit and believe that all the traditions we have in place must be followed, even if it means sacrificing our sanity and sometimes health.
    Thank you for sharing your heart on this subject!

    1. Oh goodness! It’s so easy to get caught up in everything I want to do for the holidays! But it’s good to be choosy and to really enjoy the few things we love rather than stress ourselves out trying to do everything. 🙂

  3. Alyssa, this post holds much wisdom. We all need to remind ourselves of each of these points at the start of Advent 🙂 Joy can be found as we scale back on the stress we put on ourselves this time of year. Seriously, I would bring this post back around next year! May you & yours have a most blessed Christmas!

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