5 things to do now for a less stressful (and more meaningful!) holiday season

Written by Lee Cordon
Published on October 15, 2021

Sometimes things can get a little stressful around the holidays, don’t you think? 

I’ve found that a little prepping ahead of time can make room for an enjoyable and meaningful Christmas season. But that planning starts now. 

This is something we focus on in the DoSayGive Christmas Prep Club—thoughtfully planning ahead of time to make room for what matters most during the Christmas season. 

The five “to dos” below are a good place to start so that you may have a more peaceful Christmas season with your loved ones.  

1. Do choose traditions and activities wisely. 

Traditions are so important in helping to shape a family’s identity and point to the reason they are gathering, particularly around the holidays. So choose wonderful traditions for your family that point back to Jesus, ones that your family will remember and continue for years to come.  

But don’t go overboard! Doing three advent calendars, four service projects, a cookie exchange at your home—while fitting in a local showing of The Nutcracker and a Christmas tea—can actually bring you more stress rather than joy. 

Plus, your family won’t come to love the traditions you plan if you’re only doing them to check off a “list.” (I know I have made that mistake many times!)  

So think now about what traditions are worth your family’s time and what you might want to let go this season.  

2. Do determine your family’s limits when it comes to holiday get-togethers.  

When my husband and I were new parents, we took our nine-month-old to three different family gatherings on Thanksgiving Day. 

It was exhausting, not to mention miserable for everyone involved! I am sure my stress about the whole day boiled over to affect everyone else at these gatherings (which, in the end, was not gracious at all). 

As much as you may want to please everyone, determine what you and your family can handle during the holiday season. Go ahead and put the most important events and gatherings on the calendar now so you can make sure not to overschedule your family. 

Make room for what matters most to your family during the holiday season. For us, that means having plenty of down time at home around the fire, with Bible reading and conversation, and our nightly Jesse Tree Advent tradition. 

3. Do set a budget for gifts and stick to it.  

We all know Christmas is not about the gifts—but it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle! Setting a budget now will help you stay on track when all of the holiday shopping emails start to fill your inbox. 

And keeping the gift-giving simple at home is an easy way to maintain the focus on the birth of Christ and not the commercialization of the holiday.  

A friend of mine has a little checklist she uses when buying her children’s gifts. It includes four simple items: One thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, one thing to read. Then she fills her children’s stockings with little trinkets and candy. I love the simplicity of this and how it sets the expectation with children come Christmas morning.

4. Do get on the same page with your extended family about gifts.  

Now is the time to get in touch with your extended family and decide whether or not you plan to exchange gifts and, if so, the budget for those gifts. This will avoid hurt feelings come Christmas Day. 

Drawing names, just giving gifts to the children, or even sponsoring a family in need is a way to keep things simple with extended family.  

5. Do shop earlier than later.  

Fighting the holiday traffic and crowds on December 22nd is no way to spend Christmas break! This year it’s even more important to shop early so you don’t run into shipping delays or stock issues. 

Slowly purchasing gifts throughout the fall not only spreads out holiday spending, but allows you more space to do the meaningful things you want to do during the holiday season. 

Consider a few extra resources:

A Christmas to Remember

O Come Let Us Adore Him

Two Christmas Pictures

Looking for some gift ideas? Check out these Christian Parenting resources:


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Lee Cordon

Our gift and budget checklist makes sure you don’t forget anyone this holiday season—with our Christmas Prep Club you can have all your holiday tasks and shopping done by December 1st!  Lee Cordon is the Creative Director of DoSayGive.com, a lifestyle site about gift giving, etiquette, motherhood, and style. She is a wife and mother to four children and resides in Dallas, TX.

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