Make Your Holidays Less Stressful

Remember when you were ten years old and the holidays were exciting and FUN? I loved the decorations, the smell of the Christmas tree in the house, the family feasts, and the possibility of getting of tons-o-toys.

Then the older I got, the more stressful and less merry the holidays became. For several years, I even dreaded December a little because my schedule became insanely busy, my bank account got smaller, and my waistline got bigger.

Hmmm, interesting that a few years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer just two days before Christmas, no? Maybe there is something to that "stress causes illness" theory. Well, after beating cancer, I decided to stop the madness, simplify things, and make some changes that would help bring some sanity back to my holiday season. Here's what I've done over the years:

1. I stopped decorating the house if I wasn't in the mood or didn't have time to do it. This has resulted in me pulling out our cute little aluminum tree and retro decorations about every other year. Though he enjoys it when I decorate, my husband has ZERO interest in helping me do it, so I only do it if and when the mood strikes me. I find I can just as easily be filled with the holiday spirit by enjoying everyone else's decorations.

2. My circle of fabulous girlfriends and I decided to stop buying one another Christmas gifts since we all live in relatively small houses, and we all have most everything we need. Instead, we just enjoy one another's company at the Christmas party that one of the gals throws every year. This has saved all of us a boatload of money, time, and space.

3. Speaking of parties, I stopped saying yes to every single social invitation that comes up in November and December. By protecting my personal/sweetie time during these weeks, I find that I'm more relaxed, centered, and rejuvenated.

4. I try REALLY hard to eat more veggies, drink more water, exercise more regularly, and only nibble on all of the yummy treats that pop up all season long. I'm never going to "just say no" to holiday goodies. But I do try to minimize the damage but nibbling instead of binging. I also have found that I feel a heck of a lot better if I limit my party libations to just one adult beverage.

5. I focus on the positive things in my life like my good health, my supportive family, my wonderful friends, my sweet little dog Ruby Pearl, and my growing organizing business. I also start brainstorming, planning, and visualizing for prosperity in the following year.

6. I make sure I set aside some time and money to give back either in my neighborhood or by volunteering through my business. It's true that when we give, we truly receive.

Now, if I could only talk my husband into taking care of all the Christmas cards this year.

How have you simplified and de-stressed your holiday season? I'd love for you to leave us a comment letting us know!


esp said...

Suellen, I really love your blog. You are inspiring and sane, and offer such good commonsense advice! I simplified my Christmas list a few years back and save a lot of money each year by baking for family members. I make everything in bulk, get it over with in one weekend, and everyone loves getting homemade treats. Plus, I get to eat some!

Suellen said...

ESP: Thanks for your kind words and great idea edible gift-giving. Which reminds me, I think I'm going to order more cookies from The Cookie Wizard ( to give to some folks. I've tried his cookies before and the apricot oatmeal square are to DIE for!