6 Tips for a More Relaxed and Joyful Christmas Season

 Image by  Jake Berry

Image by Jake Berry

For a more relaxed and joyful Christmas season, try these six tips:

1. Get plenty of sleep.

When you're expecting company and events to attend, it’s easy to stay up too late visiting or lying in bed planning. Try to pick a consistent time to hit the hay so that you can fully enjoy whatever activities are on the schedule the next day. There’s nothing worse than waking up grumpy to a day that is supposed to be full of celebration. If you need to calm your mind from planning before you go to sleep, try writing a list of the ten most important things you want to do the next day and when you will do them. Sometimes writing them down allows your mind to stop worrying about them.

2. Go early to every activity.

Getting stuck in traffic on the way to a holiday concert or struggling through a slew of cars in a parking lot is no way to enjoy the holidays. Plan to leave early to get where you need to be. Consider exploring something nearby on foot before the event so you can park ahead of time and find your location. If you’re in a safe area, do a little window shopping at local shops, or find a local place for a pre-dinner snack or coffee in the neighborhood.

3.  Bring interactive games or conversation starters.

Electronics can be a drain on holiday bonding time with friends and family. If you’re worried your family is cocooning too much in their wired devices, try the following: Whenever you go out, bring a fun, quick, and easy game, just in case you have precious downtime while in a coffee shop or waiting for food at a restaurant. Pull out the game and get everyone laughing together as you wait for your meal. For a quick game that I learned over Thanksgiving from my younger game-guru brother, click here

4. Try not to double-book.

Most people have at one time or another committed to two or three (or more) events in one day. Try to schedule just one main event for a day, especially if that event means spending time with people. It is a beautiful thing when you are able to be present where you are without needing to check the clock to see when you need leave for the next activity. Sometimes that one scheduled event can turn into also having lunch, going to a movie, or causally browsing the area. Ror this to happen, you have to be free to explore the opportunities.

5. Prioritize

Humans are not omnipresent (everywhere at once). To reduce stress, you may have to pick and choose your activities. Decide what is most important to you during this season and work toward making those activities a priority, such as catching up with friends, relaxing with family, or enjoying artistic venues.

6. Make Space for Quiet Reflection

With so much going on during the Christmas season, it is easy to get caught up in a hectic whirlwind that leaves you exhausted and frazzled by January. To help avoid this, make time during each day to think about things you are thankful for and the blessings you enjoy because of the birth of Jesus Christ. Sometimes an Advent calendar can help. When I was growing up, my family had an Advent story book where the main character ended up in Bethlehem on Christmas night.

While everyone in my family knew what was going to happen, it was fun to see how the adventure unfolded and we enjoyed a special time together each day. Don’t worry if you are behind on Advent; it just means you get to read an extra portion another night! Check out the following resources (click on each image to access the link) for a wonderful Advent story: