Overwhelmed by the Holidays? I Was Too! Here’s What Helped

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Overwhelmed by the Holidays? I Was Too! Here's What Helped
Sources: Gingerbread Man Cookies /// Gingerbread Snowflake Appetizer Plates /// Similar Rug 1 /// Similar Rug 2 /// Slippers

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the holidays? It can be such a fun season, but it also can feel like there is so much we need (or want!) to do and not enough time to do it. Sometimes what is stressing us out is simply our own expectations! Maybe we had grand ideas, but now they’re feeling unattainable. Or maybe you can do all the things, but in the process it would make you (and others!) feel stressed.

I want to encourage you today to pause and remember that this can be a very special and memorable holiday season even if you have to simplify your to do list and embrace imperfection! You might think that doing ‘x y and z ‘ would make it the best Christmas ever. Or maybe circumstances stole some of the joy in this season and you just don’t feel like doing it all. Maybe by doing less, or simply focusing on different things, this season will turn out to be just as special and even more joyful for all!

What helped me feel less overwhelmed this holiday season is to focus on these two goals:

SIMPLE and MEANINGFUL

Overwhelmed by the Holidays? I Was Too! Here's What Helped
Source: Gingerbread House Lidded Mug

If you’re overwhelmed as you make plans for the day or have holiday decisions to make, try to filter them through these two words as a test. Is this simple? Is it meaningful? If it passes the test on both, it might be worth pursuing. Otherwise, give yourself permission to move on!

Remember that what is or isn’t “simple” in this season might look different than a previous season, and that is okay! If it causes a lot of anxiety, it probably isn’t simple enough.

Here are a few things I’m doing this year to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the holidays by keeping it simple, but meaningful. You’ll also see a post linked at the end from last year with more ideas. Take what inspires you, and leave the rest!

Overwhelmed by the Holidays? I Was Too! Here's What Helped

Being selective with my Christmas decor and using what we have. Each year I pare down our Christmas decor and I feel better every year because of it! This year I’m not even pulling out all of my options. For the most part, I use what I have, or when I do get something new I give away something else. I enjoy decorating for Christmas, but as soon as it tips over to feeling overwhelming, I stop there. It will feel festive, but simple!

Overwhelmed by the Holidays? I Was Too! Here's What Helped
Room details

Embracing imperfection. We are so excited to be hosting family for Christmas (our first official holiday hosting since the remodel!) and as much as I’d love to have everything perfect, that just won’t be possible and that’s okay! I know that my guests will not care about (or probably even notice) the things that are still on my “want-to-do list”. What they likely WILL remember most about this holiday is how welcome they feel, the joy of being together, good conversations, and making memories. And what I will remember is that I wasn’t too overwhelmed by the holidays so I will enjoy hosting again!

Overwhelmed by the Holidays? I Was Too! Here's What Helped
Winter tablescape and room details

Decorated a simple but memorable table. I didn’t try to decorate a snazzy dining room that would impress social media, but I set a simple Christmas table where we can make memories all December long. First I pulled out our everyday white dishes, added a few festive appetizer plates (snowflakes and gingerbread houses), woven chargers, put a small tree in a pot, set out some mix and match cloth napkins (green frayed and blue striped) and a table runner and added some faux pears and candles. It isn’t fancy, but it’s inviting and cozy and festive enough to make special memories all month long! You can see our Christmas table here.

Simple but special touches. I picked up these snowman marshmallows and gingerbread cookies and recently. Are those necessary for a fun holiday? Definitely not, will they bring a smile to our faces alongside a cozy mug of hot chocolate? They sure will! 🙂 Simple and meaningful! I got mine pre made, but you could of course make your own if you have the time or desire, or make them with holiday guests! Here’s a gluten free and vegan gingerbread cookie recipe we’ve decorated.

Focusing on the warm and cozy. No need to feel overwhelmed by the holidays when it comes to decorating. When I’m feeling stressed by decorating, I remind myself that even if we didn’t have a single bit of Christmas decor up, just a few warm and cozy touches would feel make our home feel welcoming for the holidays. Warm lighting (lamps, candles, copper string lights, lights on a Christmas tree), comfy seating pulled around, blankets for people to curl up in, and a nice welcoming scent in the diffuser. Anything else we do that’s specifically Christmas-y will be a bonus!

Overwhelmed by the Holidays? I Was Too! Here's What Helped

Simple activities.

  • Family albums. We are setting out our family albums right in our main living room for our family to flip through.
  • Board and card games available for people to play (see our favorite games here). including this new bookshelf Monopoly game.
  • Gingerbread house making. We did a gingerbread house making competition a few years ago with our family and it was so memorable. It can be easy to execute (but feel free to enlist a family member to help you facilitate!). We grabbed a few boxes of mini Gingerbread house making kits for 50% off recently to do it again this year! See gingerbread house inspiration here.

More ideas in this related post: How to Make Christmas More Festive, Magical, and Memorable (10 Simple Ideas)

“The best winter holiday traditions bring people together and leave a lasting impression. Keep them simple and sustainable, and give yourself permission to let go or evolve to new traditions.” – from my book A Lovely Life

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