Take the Crunch out of
by Jan Hornford
Too often the Christmas Season becomes a time of obligation, stress, and guilt,
rather than a time of joyful and meaningful celebration. It is so easy to become
overwhelmed by the shopping, the parties, the events, and the decorating. It
seems that we are often trying to live up to an ideal around Christmas - to have
that perfect Christmas where no one gets angry or frustrated, where everyone get
along as you enjoy a perfect meal in a perfectly decorated home. We can
end up feeling disappointed when our expectations are not met or overwhelmed by
trying to do it all or do too much. After so much stress and disappointment it
is easy to feel like you just want to "bow out" of Christmas altogether!
I think that we sometimes get caught up in all of the hoopla around Christmas
because we get caught up in doing what we think we "should" be doing or in
trying to meet other's expectations. Most of us never take the time to sit down
and really think about what we want our Christmas to look like. As you enter
into this Christmas Season, please remember that you can choose how your
Christmas looks. You can choose what you want to do and you can create your own
family rituals that will give you a sense of peace, belonging, and comfort. What
I want for you is to recapture the joy and magic and wonder of Christmas and to
be nurtured, healed, and restored by the blessings of this Season.
Tips for a Stress Free Christmas
1. Make a list of what you really want to do this Christmas. If you have a
partner or family, ask them what they would really enjoy doing this Christmas.
This could be dinner at Grandma's, skating in the park, going on a Christmas
light tour, watching your favorite Christmas movies, etc. Plan to do these
things over the holidays.
2. Set aside time for yourself each day for quiet reflection.
3. Decide how many invitations/week you will accept and from whom. Only accept
invitations to events that you really want to go to.
4. Make a list of the simple things about Christmas that nourish your soul and
bring you joy. This could be sitting in the dark looking at the Christmas tree,
walking in the snow, watching the snowfall with a hot cup of cocoa, making
shortbread, etc. Make time to do these things.
There are many things you can do around gift giving. First is to make a budget
and stick to it. If you have time and energy you may want to make gifts for your
family members. If money is tight, a gift of your time and talents through a
babysitting coupon, yard work, or a dinner invitation to your home may be in
order. I know of one extended family that chose to sponsor a child through an
aid organization rather than exchange gifts.
There are a number of options here. You may choose to forgo cards all together
and instead phone one person a day over the month of December. You may choose to
send out your Cards in January or February when you have more time. A friend of
mine sent a handmade card with a photo of their family glued to it. Inside the
card she wrote single words that captured what the family had been up to that
year. It was wonderful in that I had a real sense of what their family had been
doing and yet it was so simple.
As for our family, my husband enjoys writing a Christmas letter full of photos
that we mail out each year. Now, I know Christmas letters often get a bad wrap
but I for one enjoy them. A letter written from the heart that includes all the
good and bad of your past year is a way to share with others. I have lived
a number of different places in my life and often the only contact I have with
people from these places is through an annual Christmas letter. I love to
receive these letters - it helps to maintain that connection for me.
Start making cookies in November and freeze them for later. Organize a cookie
exchange with your neighbors or purchase cookies from the bakery or caterer.
8. Meals. When you are cooking meals now, make double and freeze the extra for a
December evening meal.
Decide how often you want to entertain and book the times now.
We often hear the need for more simplicity at Christmas. I think this misses the
point. To me, the best approach is to do those things that you love to do. If
you love buying gifts for loved ones, then do so. If you love decorating
your house, the do it! If you love writing Christmas cards then write them!
The whole idea is to do the things that nurture you and your family and to do
them in a way that does not leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
Know what you love, know what you want your Christmas to look like, know what
you can do given the time and money available, and then enjoy!
The key is to take the time and really think about how you want your Christmas
to look and to remember the true gifts of this Season. These are the Divine
gifts of Spirit of unconditional love, peace, joy, hope, compassion, and
generosity. Your ideal Christmas can be grounded in these gifts when you choose
to do so; when you orient your Christmas celebrations around what is meaningful
to you and brings you joy.
* How can your Christmas reflect what is important and meaningful to you and
* What do you need to do to ensure that you can be emotionally connected to the
people in your life over the holidays this year?
* What will nourish your Soul and bring you joy over the holidays? How can you
foster the gifts of Spirit in your life?
1. Commit to doing the things that you love about Christmas and to letting go of
the things that you do not. Write out what an ideal Christmas would look like to
you and start taking action to make that ideal your reality.
2. Set boundaries around your time and energy. Know in advance how you will
decide which social invitations to accept and how many you want to attend each
week. Block off an evening a week for you and your family where there are no
3. Consider how you want to feel (peaceful, festive, joyful?) and how you want
to be (emotionally connected, able to give your undivided attention to the
people in your life, compassionate?) over the holidays.
What do you need to have in place for this to happen?
4. Consider what Christmas means to you at a spiritual level and how you can
foster that awareness over the holidays. How can you bring the gifts of the
Christmas season (love, peace, joy, hope, compassion, and generosity) into your
This year, may your Christmas be joyful and bright. May it reflect what is
important and meaningful to you. May it be a time of peace and renewal. May you
experience all of the blessings of this most sacred of seasons.
Peace and Joy
Jan Jan Hornford is a Life Coach & Retreat Leader whose passion is to help
individuals re-connect with their own wisdom and power and to support them to
create the life they want. For more information, please take a look at her
http://www.futureperfect.ca Or, call