10 Ways to Keep Your Holiday Season Simple

mage courtesy of cescassawin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

image courtesy of cescassawin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever felt you were one day behind where you should be? Meaning today is Monday, but I feel like I’m only caught up to things that should have been done Sunday.

Even for my typical quiet December, I’m starting to feel the pressure of the holiday season. I had plans Thursday night, Friday night, all day Saturday, and was running around all day yesterday running errands, seeing my friend in A Christmas Carol, and having dinner over at my friend’s house.

All fun stuff, but I’m pretty pooped!

That put me behind in blogging, paperwork, sending out Christmas cards, and you know…life stuff. And this coming from someone who has very little Christmas obligations in the first place!

I imagine I’m not the only one out there that is tired or a little stressed, and looking at Christmas cookies like if you eat another one you’ll puke.

It’s times like these it’s good to take a step back and get a grip. I think we often put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be the perfect hostess, friend, party guest, parent, daughter, son, or brother or sister. When the truth is people probably care a lot less than you think…in a good way of course.

So when you start to feel that way, here are some things you can do to make life this time of year a little simpler. 

1. Don’t say yes to every holiday party. I know it seems there are a million parties this time of year. Pick your absolute favorites and skip the rest. The benefits are saving money by not having to bring a gift or a plate of food or wine to the party, saving calories by not stuffing your face at the buffet, the cost of a cab if you drink too much, gas, parking, etc. You may feel some guilt, but people will get over it. Now get into those yoga pants and pop in a movie.

2. Don’t overdue baking cookies or slaving over a hot stove every waking second. Save yourself some time and money by scaling back on cooking this holiday.  The world will keep spinning even if you don’t bring spinach dip to the party. And let’s face it, we don’t need as much food as there seems to be this time of year.

3. Along those lines, cut back on alcohol, caffeine, and sugar! They are taxing on the system and adrenal glands, and can make you tired and grumpy, and possibly weaken your immune system. You don’t want to head to Grandma’s house with you and the kiddies sick AGAIN this year, do you?

4. Cut back on Christmas gifts, or get a gift cards instead. If you haven’t done this already, talk to your family and friends about scaling way back on the gift giving. I’m sure they would appreciate the break as well. Or I’m a big advocate of gift cards. Maybe some people are upset that it’s not more personal, but it’s better than getting a pair of ugly socks you’ll never wear.

5. Get some sleep!! Do steps 1-4 and you will find you have more time to get some extra z’s, and you won’t be jacked up on sugar and caffeine either.

6. Turn off the news. Obviously we have been faced with some pretty tragic news events this past week. Absolutely devastating…but even if that didn’t happen, it seems that all you hear aside from the usual bla bla bla is negative stories, often interwoven with Christmas related mayhem. Something that isn’t going to help get you in the “holiday mood.”

7. Pick and choose your charities. This is another area that people feel major pressure this time of year. It seems that people are coming at you from every direction from friends, schools, and the workplace, to the guy ringing the bell at the grocery store. It may be hard to say no, but if you’re reading this blog, my guess is you’re on a budget. Your money is important to you, so donate or buy gifts to the ones that mean the most to you, and skip the rest.

8. Find blocks of time to disconnect. Again, everyone reading this probably has a blog, twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc. It’s hard to avoid it completely, but if you are out for a dinner with friends, or visiting family, put down the phone or step away from the computer. It will be there when you get back, and the world won’t end if you don’t reply to that email right away.

9. Group your errands together. Plan ahead so you aren’t driving all over town shopping and running errands. Doing so can eliminate spending money on gas and stress on the road.

10. Do only those things that mean the most to you, and avoid or limit everything else. This pretty much encompasses 1-9, but it needs to be said again. Don’t burn yourself out being a people pleaser. Your time and energy are valuable, so do things according to your value system, and you will feel much more content this holiday season.

And of course make sure you keep exercising and eating healthy (says the girl who ate six chocolate chip peanut butter cookies on Sunday).:)

What things do you do to reduce your holiday stress? 


Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. To support her fundraising efforts to produce more video for this site, please visit her crowdfunding page!

Latest posts by Tonya (see all)

  • Mackenzie Randompath

    Turning off the news has been a hard one, especially this past weekend. I had to make a concerted effort to turn the channel.
    Sleep is a big one, especially at this time of year! I think we all need more sleep :)

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      I know it’s hard to not want to feel connected and somehow the news is one way we do feel connected, but after awhile…once you have the basic info…it can just be overwhelming.

  • http://my-alternate-life.com/ Jordann

    These are all great tips! Honestly I haven’t been too stressed out just yet, my Christmas commitments don’t really get under way until after I’m off work so hopefully there will be lots of time to get everything done.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      Good luck!

  • holly

    I definitely agree with all of these- especially saying no to some of the holiday parties. I hate rushing around the entire month of December trying to go to everything.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      Me too!

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    Great points! We try and combat it by not saying yes to all the parties we’re invited to and we really try and focus on spending time with our kids. They have so much fun at this time of year that seeing them enjoy it makes it worth it.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      I cam imagine!

  • http://www.youngadultmoney.com/ DC @ Young Adult Money

    Good points, though I am going to consume plenty of sugar and caffeine : ) Thankfully we don’t have too many holiday parties. The year before we got married we had literally 5 or 6 Christmases in the span of 5 days.

    • Jon

      Yeah I’ve already hit the sugar and caffeine pretty hard too! I dunno, I kinda like the idea of all the Christmas parties, think it’s an awesome way to catch up with people that we just haven’t committed to seeing throughout the year. And everyone’s happy!

      • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

        I think that’s fine if it works for you. But for someone like me, and possibly other people, too many social outings can get overwhelming, and there seems to be more this time of year. So basically I’m saying that if it does overwhelm you, you can say no! :)

  • http://www.thehappyhomeowner.net/ The Happy Homeowner

    Sleeping and disconnecting when things are so crazy is very important–trying to keep a frenetic pace will most likely cause you to get so run down you get sick….not worth it in my opinion!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      exactly! I like going into the new year feeling good.

  • http://twitter.com/SavvyScot The Savvy Scot

    I agree on the cutting back on alcohol food etc. People start the binge to early and finish too late! MODERATION is good :)

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      I think everyone thinks they will just start fresh jan 1, but why wait??

  • K.K. @ Living Debt Free Rocks!

    I really try my best with point#8 – many of us are so stuck to our phones and other gadgets and react to every incoming bell or whistle of a message…connecting with people and giving them our undivided attention is important.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      Really this seems to happen ALL year. I’m bad at it too sometimes.

  • http://twitter.com/seedebtrun See Debt Run

    Most of these will be really hard for me…but I need to try! We have 4 holiday parties only, so that’s not awful, right? Have a wonderful, relaxing Christmas, Tonya!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      I don’t think it’s bad as long as you don’t get overwhelmed. I’m introverted, so too many social obligations drains me. Have fun at them!

  • http://www.momoneymohouses.com/ Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses

    I definitely think not saying yes to every party is key, which I’m terrible at. I’m also pooped!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      I said yes to a party tonight (wrapping gifts for an adopt a family type thing), but I’m just dropping off the gifts and that’s it. There are tons of people to do it. I just want to be home.

  • http://twitter.com/RFIndependence Pauline

    I used to get overwhelmed but I drastically cut my social commitments around the holidays. Before I made it a point to go back home for Christmas and after being stuck in snow storms the past two years and missing all the good stuff I decided not to try so hard and life is much easier!

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      Exactly, sometimes it’s good to just stay and chill. And what a nice place you’re chillin’!

  • http://luke1428.com/ Brian Fourman

    I prefer staying around the house as much as possible, catching up on projects, reading or playing with the kids. I have found the years when we had to travel great distances to be with family for Christmas were much more stressful.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach

      I agree it can be really stressful to travel. They you run into possible weather delays as well. ugh!

  • http://twitter.com/Thefrugalpath The Frugal Path

    Sometimes you need to give something up in the name of preserving your sanity.

    • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Budget & the Beach


  • http://twitter.com/CanadianBudgetB CanadianBudgetBinder

    So true about the baking as we have had to cut back over the years. We were spending days on end in the kitchen baking all sorts of recipes. We decided no more and stuck to the traditional 3 or 4 kinds and this year was much easier for us.