It’s OK if Your Holidays Aren’t Totaly Stress-Free and Simple

posted by Andrea | 11/25/2013

nora screaming

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. Andrea Dekker is telling you that it’s OK if your life is stressed and crazy!

Well, kind of :)

As you can see by the photo above, Nora’s first Christmas was not her favorite day ever (it was a stressful day with lots of crying for BOTH of us!)

It’s Thanksgiving week — and we all know that from now until January 2, things tend to be a little crazy.

So many parties to attend, so much food to make, long lists of gifts to buy… and then wrap… and then remember to bring to your parties.

There are budgets to stick to, trees to decorate, concerts and programs to attend, houses to clean, new clothes to buy, family pictures to take, holiday cards to send… plus all the other stuff we need to do on a daily and weekly basis.

And if your family is anything like ours, you’ll have no less than 6 family birthdays tossed in between Thanksgiving and New Years Day (seriously, this is just in our 2 immediate families — Dave and Nora are two of the birthdays!)

As much as I try to simplify things by shopping ahead (or going with clutter-free gifts), baking and cooking in advance, making lists, simplifying my holiday decor, and writing down every single thing in my planner — there is still stress, and it’s still not a blissfully simple time of year.

But I LOVE it… most of the time!

Since the rest of my life and the rest of my year is usually somewhat stress-free and simplified (thanks to a lot of thought and intentional effort on my part), I can usually handle 6 weeks of craziness… especially when it’s good holiday craziness spent with family, friends, food, and fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely still going to do as much as I can to plan ahead, work ahead, simplify, organize, and de-stress this busy time of year.

BUT, I’m also not going to feel like a failure if (when) things get crazy, Nora gets crabby, our house gets trashed, Dave and I both feel we just need need a nap, or I drop the ball and forget to bring the food I made in advance and lost in the freezer :)

As much as magazines and store marketing would like us to believe, there is nothing we can do or buy that will magically de-stress or completely simplify this busy time of year.

It’s just not possible! 

However, I think the main reason we often feel a little stressed and extra busy is because we’re trying to make the most of these 6 short weeks.

We’re trying to pack it all in — family, friends, parties, gifts, food, decorations, donations, volunteering, Christmas programs at school and church, playing with the kids while they’re home from school, and trying to make as many memories as we can in our limited time.

Am I right?

Yes, sometimes there are negative stressors this time of year — but most of the time, I think that holiday stressors are “happy” stressors — if there is such a thing!

So for those of you (like me) who have worked hard planning ahead, getting extra organized, and trying so hard to simplify this busy time of year; please PLEASE don’t feel like you failed when January 2 rolls around and all you’re left with is a messy home, crabby kids, a droopy tree, and shreds of gift wrap everywhere.

This probably means you did such a great job of planning ahead and getting organized that you had so much extra time for lots and lots of fun and memories! Either that, or you didn’t do anything to plan ahead but still had lots and lots of fun :)

Good job mom! 

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5 comments

  1. Lydia @ Five4FiveMeals.com

    11/25/2013

    Good job to you too! This year will be extra stressful with an extra baby, but I am relishing it. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  2. Lizanne

    11/25/2013

    So true…as with everything, I think a lot of it has to do with one’s attitude. Of course, there are stressors that we sometimes can’t avoid, particularly around the holidays, but I think you have a great attitude. I never thought about it that way, but I think you hit the nail on the head in saying that we are trying to make the most of this wonderful time of the year…so let’s make the best and enjoy it!

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  3. Janice

    11/25/2013

    Good holiday reminder for us all. We can just be too hard on ourselves as we look to be super mom, wife, grandma, hostess, etc. I love your “progress not perfection” admonition.

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  4. Olga

    11/25/2013

    Andrea,

    you hit the nail on its head! I love love to read your blog.
    Thanks for a good reminder.

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  5. Amy Schaffer

    11/27/2013

    Love this post! My mom always taught my sister and I about “happy stress.” I, like any wife Nd mom, want everything to run smoothly, look beautiful, and be a bargain during this time of year. :) What I want my children to remember is the fun we had, the people we celebrated with and the many, many blessing we enjoy. What I pray they don’t remember is a frantic Mom who is so stressed she is no fun! I am praying I can still be fun and joyful in the chaos which is sure to hit at some point in the next few weeks! :)

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