Say No to Stress and Yes to a Simple Christmas

It is time for us to say no to stress and yes to a more simple Christmas. When you think of Christmas, what do you think of? Do you think of the frenzy of shopping and wrapping tons of presents? The commercialism of Christmas? Are you trying to earn brownie points from everyone around you for having the most perfect Christmas? 

The truth is people don’t remember the gifts and the frenzy as much as they remember the conversations that you have with them, the laughter you share or the experiences that you give them. Have you ever gone through the holidays and by the time they’re over you feel a tad bit depressed because all the hype is over? I’m speaking to myself as much as I am to anybody else. If craziness and frenzy are what you like to do, so be it. But you feel this is the craziest time of the year and you are desperately seeking to take back Christmas, I’ve got good news for you. You have many days left in December to take back Christmas.

Here are some nos and yeses to consider:

Say no to perfection

Perfection is unattainable. Perfection is a myth. Perfection is exhausting. Perhaps instead of wrapping your gifts with the perfect box and bow, you can choose to use gift bags this year. Say no to baking 10 different kinds of cookies. 

Say no to one more gift

You have all your gifts wrapped under your Christmas tree. Have you ever walked by your tree and said, “It doesn’t look like that many gifts. I think I will go out and buy some more.” Have a number of gifts or dollar amount in mind and then say no to one more gift. Make a budget, set expectations and have conversations with your family. Say no to overspending  Make the fewer gifts you buy mean more. Maybe have a story around each of the gifts that you’re giving this year. Before you give the gift explain how you found the gift and why you thought of it for the gift recipient. 

Say no to a full calendar 

Every time that you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. Usually that something else is for a higher priority so say no to a full calendar and say no without guilt

Say no to being Wonder Woman 

You are not Wonder Woman. She was on a TV show and she’s not real. Ask for help and delegate. You don’t have to make all of the appetizers for the party and you don’t have to do all of the shopping. Ask your family to help. 

Say no to unrealistic expectations 

Stop striving for “It’s A Wonderful Life” and be OK with “Christmas with the Kranks.” So what if your family is slightly dysfunctional. Stop striving for unrealistic expectations. Make a new list of things you “must do” and “could do” and make sure your “must do” list brings you joy and laughter. 

Say yes to checking your comparison dial

We all compare our worst to someone else’s best. It is so unfair. Check your comparison dial and dial it down. You have nothing to prove to anyone. If you got a Christmas card or letter in the mail that looks perfect, or you see someone else’s kids wait in line to get their picture with Santa and they stand there quietly and don’t cry, forget it. If you are looking at your friend who makes 1,000 cookies and delivers them to the homeless, stop. Comparison has to get out of your life. 

Say yes to being present over perfect 

Christmas is about sharing memories, it’s telling stories and it’s about looking at Christmas lights. Be present over being perfect.

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Say yes to pausing and reflecting 

Stop often this Christmas and be grateful. It’s the perfect time to pause and reflect on the world’s expectations and your expectations for yourself and your family.

You get to define how you do Christmas, not TV and not your neighbor. Only you. Question how do you do it. Ask yourself, “How do I want to celebrate Christmas?” Take Christmas back. Instead of rushing around, let Christmas come to you. Say no to things you should say no to and say yes to things that you should say yes to. 

Something that I’ve been doing for the last several years is the Advent Conspiracy. What you do is to conspire against the commercialism and the expectations of the season and you claim it back into what you want it to be like. The four tenets are:

  1. To worship fully 
  2. To spend less 
  3. To give your time and talents 
  4. To love fully 

I hope these Nos and Yeses can help you turn the remaining weeks before Christmas into a season of less stress and more simplicity. From my home to yours, Merry Christmas.



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