Reduce Stress and Recapture the Joy of Christmas

By Donna Rossa

A 1996 study reported that 75% of women and 54% of men feel stressed during the holidays.

Instead of looking forward to the holidays, does your stress level begin to skyrocket? The pressure of producing that “perfect Christmas” has become worse over the years because of TV and other media productions. It’s time for you to start enjoying the holidays again. By simplifying and organizing your Christmas tasks, you can renew your spirit and the spirit of the holidays!

Here are some quick and easy ideas for each task involved during this season. Pick one that resonates with you.


  • Consider a grab bag or Secret Santa.
  • Exchange lists. Everyone lists 3 things under $____.
  • Buy consumables and gift certificates.
  • Give gifts that cost nothing: time, friendship, shovel snow, etc.


  • Decide on a budget and stick to it.
  • Keep a shopping list with you at all times.
  • Make it a goal to have shopping completed by December 1st.
  • Use catalogs or shop on line.


  • Have the kids decorate the boxes.
  • Set up a wrapping station so all materials are handy.
  • As you buy, wrap immediately.
  • Use bags from the Dollar Store.


  • Don’t send any cards; call instead.
  • Send a final card explaining that you’re simplifying Christmas starting next year.
  • Spend 15 minutes each night, writing out your cards.
  • Divide the task between other family members.
  • Send email or Send Out cards.


  • Put up a single symbolic statement.
  • Buy a pre-lit artificial tree.
  • Get the kids involved in decorating.
  • Use timers for decorative lighting.


  • Order your goodies from a bakery.
  • Avoid overbooking or double booking.
  • You supply the main entrée and have friends/family bring the rest.
  • Delegate chores to family members.
  • Use paper plates.
  • Focus on cleaning only the kitchen and public rooms.


  • Reduce the “To Do” list. Ask yourself “If I don’t do this, what will happen?”
  • Learn to say “NO”.
  • Set deadlines.
  • Have checklists.
  • Spend a few minutes (or more) relaxing each day.
  • Physically reduce stress by getting a massage, taking a hot bubble bath, etc.

Plan to recapture the real meaning of the holidays. The Grinch finally realized what Christmas is all about. “And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. ‘Maybe Christmas’, he thought, ‘doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps is something more.” Shift your focus. Concentrate on spending quality time with friends and family during this holiday season.