Heart Choices: Tips For Reducing Holiday Stress -->

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Tips For Reducing Holiday Stress

It's November aleady and did you know that there are only 24 days until Thanksgiving ...and only 52 days until Christmas?

I don't know about you but this year seems to be more stressful. I turn on the news and all I hear about is the mess our economy is in, the downturn in the housing market, the politics of this very important election, rising gasoline prices and rising unemployment. And that's just to name a few.

And now ... the normal stressors that often accompany the upcoming holiday season.

What should be a joyful time of year can often become quite the opposite. We may not have control over all the stressful variables in our lives, but we do have the choice about how we respond to them.

This year I really want to make the choice to enjoy this season despite the stress I may be personally experiencing. So, I decided to start with a list. Some of the items are things I've already done and others I am considering.

I invite you to add your comments and share any suggestions you might have to add to this list. How do you get ready for the holidays? Do you have any tips to get better organized?

Here's the beginning of my list:

  1. Decorate the house with some fall items such as pumpkin smelling candles and a centerpiece for the table.

  2. Unpack my book "Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember" by Barbara Rainey. Each year I reread this book about the history of our country. It's a relatively thin book so it doesn't take very long to read and I learn something new each time. This is a great book to read to your children.

  3. Plan the Thanksgiving menu in advance and enlist the help of family members. Assign dishes to others and organize recipes.

  4. Put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. I must confess that our tree isn't real so this makes it possible to enjoy the tree for a longer time. Enlist the help of the family and make this a fun event.

  5. Write Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving. I don't mail them immediately but at least they're written and addressed. My friend Sue told me that she prays for each person as she writes out their Christmas card. I hope to do that this year.

  6. Shop for gifts early and use a list. I also try to purchase gifts throughout the year when I find something and especially when it's on sale.

  7. Focus on people instead of things.

  8. Be flexible in my plans.

  9. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, the Salvation Army or any of the numerous opportunities at this time of year. It's a great way to teach your children about the service of giving.

  10. Keep a thankful list and update it with at least one thing every day.

  11. Cut back on the amount of money spent on gifts. Consider making a few gifts by using your creativity or even baking a food gift.

  12. Get out the Christmas music early and listen to it. I love music but often forget to turn it on. I get focused on tasks but when I remember to play music, it always brings a smile to my face.

  13. Keep the focus of the season on the reason; the birth of Jesus Christ.

And in the midst of all of the activities, dont' forget to have fun. Keep a sense of humor and laugh; it's infectious!

I know my list isn't complete so I hope you'll add your comments and suggestions. Let's make the choice this year to not get caught up in the commercialization and stress of the holiday season, but instead enjoy and create special memories.

Debbie Petras
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  1. Great suggestions!!! And the main reason is keeping your focus on what you are celebrating and now what commercialized media tells you.

    (Hey your picture is surrounded by Laurel Wreath's heheheh _)

  2. Debbie,
    Loved your list, good suggetions. Fall is my favorite season of the year, and although Phoenix doesn't really have that much of an extended fall season, I still pull out lots of fall decorations. I am not big on Halloween (at all). But I do put out lots of pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn. All those things go out early October and stay out until Thanksgiving. Then right after T-day, I pack them away and replace with Christmas. I have one of those big plastic bins for all the seasons, and I just pull down one as I'm putting the other(s) up.

  3. Great ideas, Debbie. Thanks for sharing them. I'm making my "formal" list this week, and am going to add reading that book to it. :-) We want this to be the most Peace filled holiday season, and I love it that in bloggy-land, I get daily encouragement to make it that way!

  4. Debbie,

    Great post, my friend. Keeping the main thing the main thing is so important. Loved your focus on people instead of things and volunteering.

    ((hugs)) to you today.

  5. I had already decided that I would put up the tree before we left for the Thanksgiving holiday; that way, when we return, it's done. We'll also be spending less this year and looking for good bargains. I've already got the Christmas cd's ready for exchange in the van. I just love the holidays and want to enjoy them so much this year.

    Another thing, we're also saying "no" to a lot of evening activities in December and concentrating more on family time.


  6. We always spend Christmas at Farfar and Farmor's place (The Grandparents) - so does the whole family. So for the whole week everyone helps in preparing for Christmas - baking gingerbread decorations for the tree, chopping wood for the fireplace, dropping off family gifts to friends and making Christmas Eve dinner together. Because there is so many people around, the load is made lighter. Christmas is about us all working together and sharing one another's company. Kind of like the attitude of the Seven Dwarfs - we whistle while we work.

  7. Hi Debbie,

    I linked here from The Simple Life at Home when I saw that you too are an AZ girl living in Phoenix. I love meeting bloggers from my own area.

    This is a great list and one I'm sure you will add to as the days approach. I haven't even started thinking about the holidays ~ I suppose I better get with it.

    Have a great day.


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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