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How to Beat Holiday Stress and Exhaustion

How to Cut Corners and Reduce Holiday Stress!

By Kelcey Kintner

This is the time of year when I’m pretty sure my head might explode. With gifts to wrap, cards to send, food to buy, elves to move and a million other things on my to-do list, I really just want to lie down and take a long winter’s nap.

My 9-year-old daughter was recently crying because all the neighbors’ houses are decked out in lights and decorations and we still had nothing.  I mean, seriously?! We are crying over holiday decorations now?

This house is right down the street from me…

christmas decorations

I’m thinking I can’t compete. So I threw a wreath on my door and my daughter seems surprisingly satisfied.

Everyone is a little on edge. I feel like I’m coming in contact with a lot of stressed-out shoppers and drivers. Oh, if you are going to cut me off – maybe don’t do it while you have reindeer ears sticking out of the side windows of your car. Santa would not like that crap.

We figured you could use a few ideas to bring down your stress level during the holidays:

1. Don’t Host! (If You are Hosting, Delegate.)

I’m hosting Christmas dinner which is not a great situation for me because I don’t really cook nor do I really like people coming over my house. Here’s the thing. There are lots of people who love to cook and they might just be coming to your holiday dinner! So leave the cooking to the masters, assign easy items like appetizers and desserts for those who don’t love to cook and buy whatever else you need. As for my anxiety level with all the people in my house, well, that’s why they invented wine.

2. Be a Strategic Gift Buyer

A few years ago, my family eliminated adult gifts and now we just focus on the kids. It’s made things much easier because do I really need to be searching high and low for the perfect plaid sweater for my uncle Marty? No, I do not. I also buy online as much as possible because I don’t have the body strength to shove other customers out of the way as I make my way to the register.

But be careful online – I had one box get lost this year and another came in the manufacturers’ box with an image of the item on the outside. So 10 days before Christmas, my kids were like, “Hey mom! We got a new scooter!”  Damn. With only a few days left until Christmas, you might be forced into the stores.  Try to go during off hours and make sure you are fully hydrated.

3. Don’t Sweat the Holiday Cards

I always love receiving holiday cards whether I get them the day after Thanksgiving or in March. And yes, I did once get a Christmas card in March. So don’t stress yourself out trying to get them out by a certain date or send them to everyone you’ve ever met. The beauty of technology like Facebook and Instagram is that we all get to see many photos of each other’s families. Maybe too many, right? I also have a holiday card motto for my kids: If you are old enough to write, you can address some cards. And if you don’t feel like sending cards out at all this year – just don’t. It’s that easy.

4. The Elf Can Really Just Go on a Shelf

I know everyone has gotten super fancy with the elves. And it’s hilarious. Because who doesn’t love an elf in a Barbie hot tub?! But you know what? There’s no need to exhaust yourself trying to be super clever every night.  Ever notice how kids love the simple things in life? They will be thrilled if you just remember to move the little guy to a different location.

5. Do Exercise

Don’t cut this out. Seriously. I know you have a lot to do. But you will feel so much better shoveling down holiday food if you have kept up your normal exercise routine.

6. Remember Gratitude

The holidays are about being together, not about everything being perfect or getting a ton of gifts. Why is this so hard to remember?! At Christmas dinner, we always go around the table and share what we are most grateful for this year. It’s one of my most favorite moments of the holiday season. And also one of the most relaxing. So breathe, eat and be grateful.

How do you cut corners and reduce holiday stress? Please tell us! We really want to know.

Published December 22, 2013. Last updated December 18, 2017.
Kelcey Kintner
About the Author

Kelcey Kintner

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly, created the humor blog 

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly, created the humor blog The Mama Bird Diaries and writes for the Huffington Post. You can follow her @mamabirddiaries or on Facebook. She’s still trying to fit 5 kids on a Vespa. 

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