I’m no Christmas Grinch. I love the joy and magic that the Christmas season brings my young children!
But, the silly season can also be emotionally and financially stressful.
Before you break the bank or losing your Christmas cool, let me reassure you that with some simple planning, creativity, and self-care it is possible to dial down the stress this Christmas and enjoy a fun, festive season with your family.
10 practical tips for a (mostly) stress-free Christmas
1. Create a realistic budget
The temptation to overspend during the holidays is real (hello Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales!), but creating a realistic budget can be your saving grace. Take stock of your financial situation and set a reasonable budget before you start shopping for gifts, decorations, and festive activities. Then, stick to it as closely as possible! (Don’t be afraid to get creative with affordable, homemade or regifted items to keep costs down.)
2. Plan ahead for gifts
There’s nothing that makes my blood pressure skyrocket like last-minute gift shopping in an overly crowded shopping centre (and that’s before I’ve even found a car park!). So, plan your gifts well in advance. Make a list of recipients and allocate a budget for each person, and start shopping early. This will help you stay within budget and to take advantage of sales and discounts – online and in stores.
3. DIY decorations
Get creative and get your little ones involved in crafting ornaments or decorating stockings. This will add a one-of-kind Christmas touch to your home, create some special family memories, and save a small fortune on store-bought decorations. If you’re recycling materials to make decorations, it’s also a win for the planet!
4. Potluck Christmas feast
Hosting a Christmas feast can be a big expense. Why not turn your celebration into a potluck gathering? Each guest brings a dish which lightens the load on the host (both in terms of time and $$$) and makes for a diverse and delicious spread. Bonus if you have friends who are exceptional cooks!
5. Set boundaries and remember it’s okay to say ‘no’
Family dynamics can be tricky at the best of times, but at Christmas this can be especially so. To boost your chances of a (mostly) stress-free Christmas, set clear boundaries and communicate with kindness, honesty and well in advance with your immediate and your extended family about your needs and expectations. Consider hosting a small, simple gathering at home so you can reduce travel and disruptions to routine for your little ones. Remember, it’s okay to prioritise your family’s wellbeing – even if this means saying no to certain events.
6. Set realistic expectations (and unplug from social media)
It’s hard to not compare yourself when it looks like that is other people’s standard. But don’t let social media fool you – remember that it’s okay if not everything over Christmas goes perfectly! You don’t need to do a styled shoot in matching Christmas jumpers, have a curated Christmas tree, or stage a scene for the elf every day (but hey if you want to, go for it!) . Setting realistic expectations can help you manage both emotional and financial stress. So, ditch striving for perfection in every detail. Instead, enjoy creating meaningful moments with your family. This is what a stress-free Christmas is all about!
7. Prioritise self-care
Remember to take care of you amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. That might mean scheduling some “me time” to recharge your batteries, even if that’s simply a relaxing bath, a quiet cuppa, a nourishing meal, or a short walk. Being well-rested, emotionally grounded and stress-free (even momentarily) means you’ll be better equipped to handle any Christmas curveballs that get thrown your way!
8. Explore free festive activities
Thanks to Australia’s (mostly) beautiful Christmas weather, it’s likely you’ll find a range of free, local festive activities you and your family can enjoy, like local light displays, carols, or markets. These activities can get the kids – and us grown-ups! – into the Christmas spirit, and provide cost-effective (and screen-free) entertainment.
9. Create new traditions
Simple activities like baking cookies, watching classic Christmas movies, or taking a stroll to admire neighbourhood decorations can become family traditions for your little ones. They’re also wonderfully inexpensive! These are the moments that make the holiday season – and your little ones’ childhood – special.
10. You can be grateful and still find Christmas hard
Dial down the chaos of the season by taking a moment to practice mindfulness and express gratitude for the time spent with the people you love, the laughter (and food!) shared, and the memories created. While this might help you shift the focus from material aspects of Christmas, it’s okay to admit that you feel grateful for your blessings and still feel overwhelmed.
Remember mama, whatever you do (or don’t do) this festive season, you are always enough🖤
What are your tips for enjoying a (mostly) stress-free Christmas? Tell us in the comments below!