Holiday Stress


I love this time of year! The weather is finally beginning to change, and every day feels a little bit like a holiday as we draw near to Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Isn’t it weird how the holidays can contain such a striking combination of happiness, joy, pressure, and disappointment? What do you do to help make the holidays a time of celebration and fun rather than a time of stress and frustration? Are there particular traditions your family is involved in? Are there new traditions you’re thinking about trying out for the first time?

For the past several years, we have started a new tradition in the way we exchange gifts. Rather than trying to purchase gifts for every member of both of our families, we now draw names, and each person is secretly paired up with a family member for whom they are responsible to buy gifts. We ask that everyone provide a wish list of items so that we’re not just buying people useless stuff or things they don’t want, and we keep who drew what name a secret until it’s time to exchange gifts. Everyone really seems to enjoy this new approach, and it has removed a large amount of the financial pressure the holidays used to bring.

So what about you? What things do you normally do to celebrate the holidays? Have you heard of any good ideas that you’d like to share with others?

2 thoughts on “Holiday Stress

  1. I love this time because of the traditions. I have so many, both from when I was growing up and ones that Brock and I have begun together. I can easily let myself get too busy with all of the things I want to do to celebrate.

    A few years ago, I started doing something that has been a personal benefit. I did not begin it with a purpose of making it a yearly tradition but it has developed into that. I have begun using a time in December to go through the Christmas story (in each of the Gospels but usually Luke) as a devotional time. I always seem to look at it from a different perspective each time, with whatever God is teaching me at that point in my life. I have focused on Christ’s fulfillment of prophecies, the perspective of different people involved, God’s provision, etc. Though it is a story I have known for many years, I am amazed at what I still learn each year and it is like I am reading it for the first time. I have a feeling that this year I will pay attention to Mary’s perspective because I am pregnant for the first time.

    This has become a special part of my personal celebration of Christmas. It is always a reminder to me about God’s provision of salvation for me and the rest of the world. I am reminded of the creativity and wisdom of God and most of all, his great love.

  2. Okay, now that the holidays are over, I have time to reply to this blog!!

    One of the things I remember most about Christmas as a child was making and decorating sugar cookies. My mom would tint sugar and coconut and mix up many colors of frosting. I’m the baby of the family, so I was always envious of everyone else’s creations. (Mine never looked quite right.)

    Now that I’m a mom, I have continued that tradition. My kids love making Christmas cookies and look forward to it every year. We’ve tried several different approaches, but their favorite is rolling, cutting, and later frosting the little stars, trees, bells, and santas. A favorite picture of mine is all of us with a big spread of our decorated cookies. The best part is getting to eat them!

    For those who are not friends with their kitchen, Pillsbury makes this an easy family activity nowadays. Precut cookie dough can be purchased along with the ready-to-decorate frosting. Very simple and lots of fun!

Comments are closed.