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.