plan christmas kwanzaa new year with joy not stress

It’s a season of lights, joy, and coziness. It is beautiful, and for many it is also stressful. This post is to help you alleviate some of the pressure of the season, and offer ideas for designing a holiday season that brings you joy. 

To help you think about what you like, I broke the list into sections that traditionally cause the most stress. Once you acknowledge what’s stressful, the suggestions below should help you choose things that will bring you joy. 

Four causes of holiday stress:

  • Gift giving. 
  • Get-togethers.
  • Decorating.
  • Traditional celebrations.

Here are ways to tackle each:


Shop throughout the year for general gifts. Things like candles, journals, tumblers and bluetooth speakers can cut down on shopping for last minute office and white elephant gifts. 

Streamline your list of recipients. A bonus here is you are taking pressure off of others to return the favor of a gift.  

Secret Santa. This is truly one of the best ways to limit gift giving. Use a site life Elfster to help with coordinating. Not only will they assign the Secret Santa, everyone has the opportunity to create a wishlist! 

Instead of focusing on gifts, prioritize experiences. Can you have a family day of volunteering? Go shopping together for donations? 


Make plans to be lazy. Host a pajama party and ask each person to bring a dish. Host a kids movie night and serve pizza/popcorn. 

Plan get-togethers that also help your to-do list. Think wrapping party, cookie swap, playdates at local festivals.

Spread out events over several weeks.

Take advantage of the hard work of others. Take a drive to look at holiday lights. Check out gingerbread houses and other festive events.


Spend time on the things that matter most to you. For instance, I decorate my fireplace mantle, but I don’t do a tree. I love snow globes, so I have a collection to adorn my living room bookshelf. It brings me such joy when the sun hits it in the afternoon.

Choose inside or outside. Then make it a group event. Assign age appropriate assignments to every family member.

Forego a tree, or get one that’s prelit.

Decorate over a longer period of time. Lights can be put up beforehand. Wreaths can be pulled out and fluffed. 

Traditional celebrations/rituals

Create holiday rituals that capture the true meaning of the holiday season. As an example, I get my girls three gifts each as a representative of the three wise men.

Prioritize things that matter to you. Minimize the rest. If there is something on your list that you really dislike, but you do it out of obligation, stop. There is a big difference in operating from a place of obligation versus a place of joy.

Make hot chocolate and buy cookies. It sounds good to say you’re making homemade cookies and hot chocolate, but if you don’t like baking why put yourself through that. Buy some really good cookies.

Have an annual holiday movie marathon. Let each family member choose a movie, get some comfy pjs, and prepare a spread of festive snacks.

Think of things your family likes to do anyway, and create a celebration around that. Like hiking? Plan a Christmas hike. Host family game nights? Introduce a new game every year.

I hope this helps and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

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