More Joy, Less Stress: How to actually enjoy the festive season again.

“The simple things give the greatest happiness.” – Bob Hope

For many parents, this time of year around Christmas, can be anything but merry! We go straight from the busy work year to Christmas celebrations, with little time in between to unwind and relax. This running anxiety leads us into the holidays, which is a key contributor to ‘holiday stress’ and the tendency to take on too much. Even though many of us are off work and away from the daily grind, the holidays can be effortful for the grown-up’s. While we may be well meaning in our pursuit of a great celebration for our families, the festive season can be filled with pressures for us if we let it. The holidays should be a time to reflect with gratitude on the year past and set intentions for the year ahead.

If this isn’t the case for you, but you would like it to be, maybe it’s time to make some changes. Here are some handy tips to help you take the pressure down a notch;

  • Target your efforts; Ask your children ‘what would a great Christmas day look like to you?’ to find out what is important to them – the answers might surprise you! We often think children want truckloads of presents, but they often say a food, playing a game, going somewhere or doing something with family.
  • Limit the debt; Commercialism and media tries to show us what the perfect, glossy Christmas should look like and how to ‘buy’ our way there. This is a major source of financial stress for families. It’s important to remember we do not need to go into debt to show people how much we love them.
  • Christmas comes in all shapes and sizes; Inevitably we may have a quiet Christmas, go away on a vacation with our own families or choose not to spend the day with lots of family and friends. There is no shame in this. Make it clear early on so that people can make other plans, it is also important to be empathic to those who may have been hoping to share the day with you. If this is being said to you and not of your choosing, do your best to accept it with grace.

A cult classic book to help you is Unplug the Christmas Machine: A Complete Guide to Putting Love and Joy Back into the Season by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli. It’s an oldie published in the 90’s but a good read also. Let’s be realistic about what we can and can’t manage over this time. Keep it simple, be mindful not to get caught up in the hype and feel good about taking Christmas back!


  1. Thank you for this lovely reminder that Christmas is a time for unique celebration and respecting the sovereignty of our own families in whatever way seems right for us. More and ease joy.

    1. The holidays can be pressure and expectation filled for many of us. I’ve developed some great resources for parents to learn tapping themselves and with their kids – it’s a handy technique to use, not only during the holidays but throughout the year as well. Tapping has certainly helped me navigate and process the feelings attached with the hard conversations that setting boundaries can often involve. Thanks so much for the kind feedback Tabitha! Merry Christmas 🙏

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