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4 Ways to Take the Hustle Out of this Holiday Season

The holidays bring more hustle than holiness these days. Here's how to not get swept up in the chaos.
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Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
December 8, 2021
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6 min
Minute Read

Parents, it’s that time of year again. That time when I have a heart-to-heart with you about how and why you should not stress over the holidays.

You got a break last year, though an unfortunate one. Covid kept many of us at home. We didn’t travel. Some of us were unable to gather with family. While that was disheartening, it did take away some of the added holiday pressure.  

Every New Year, I see sick parents walking through my office doors. Why? Because you wore yourself out during the holidays, you didn’t get enough sleep, and stress took over—all of this lowers your immune system, making you more susceptible to cold and flu.

I don’t want this to happen to you this year! Especially as Covid is still circulating. This Christmas, parents, promise me you will keep your stress in check. Don’t succumb to the holiday hustle. Instead, focus on simplicity, the meaning of the season, and prepare for stressful situations ahead of time.

1. Keep gifts simple.

The reason most of us stress over the holidays is because we feel pressure to please our kids. The truth is, they are pretty easy to please if we downplay gifts. That’s hard to do in a country where most of us are planning on spending about $1,000 on gifts, food, and other holiday expenses this year, but when we constantly talk about getting them something exciting, perfect, and extravagant, we set them--and ourselves--up for disappointment.

The truth is, after a week, the gift that we worked so hard to get them will become ordinary and boring for them. So don’t sweat gift-giving this year.

2. Talk to your kids about why we celebrate Christmas.

I remember as a little kid feeling frustrated during the holidays because I knew there was something more important about Christmas than simply giving and receiving gifts, but we never seemed to talk about it. So talk to your kids about Jesus. Tell them why he was born. Read the story of his birth in Luke’s gospel. I promise, they will love it. After all, what’s not to love about a story that includes animals, angels, and an epic trip through the desert?

Sharing the true meaning of Christmas with your kids will help take the focus off the consumer side of Christmas and will, therefore, make the holiday less stressful.

3. Prepare for conflict.

Most families encounter some kind of conflict when they get together. In fact, this might be the biggest cause of stress during the holidays. Families can be difficult, and the anticipation of having to deal with those difficult relationships during the holidays causes way more stress than it’s worth.

Think about what may happen when your family gets together and think through how you will handle it. Tip: don’t get baited into an argument. Christmas Day is not the time to settle ongoing issues. Let them go and resolve to work on Uncle Daniel’s temper, Aunt Ruth’s rude remarks, or grandpa’s drinking problems another time.

4. Find support.

This is advice I give parents all year round, but since the holidays are a particularly stressful time, I strongly encourage you to find other parents who can help support you. One of the easiest ways to do this is to join my online parenting community, Parenting Great Kids (PGK). This is a built-in community of parents already committed to helping support one another and encourage each other.

If you’re not already a part of the community, you can join here. Once you sign up, you will have access to message boards and topic threads that cover every parenting topic imaginable, plus you will receive access to all of my online courses and resources.

Joining the PGK community could be the greatest holiday gift you’ve ever given yourself. Join here today.

The holidays always come with some level of inevitable stress but commit now to making them as stress-free as possible. Join the PGK community, take the pressure off gift-giving, prepare for difficult family situations, and once and for all take the hustle out of this holiday season.

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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