This idea is kind of intertwined with the last one and I almost rolled them both into one post.
But that would have gotten kind of long, especially since the last post was kind of long all on its own.
We already talked about how your holiday stress might be stemming from a desire to impress people.
I also think seasonal stress is a result of not thinking about our priorities.
What do I mean by this?
I’ve talked about it before, but unless we’re intentional about how we spend our time and money, it’s easy to let life drag us around. And usually when that happens, we end up spending our time and money in ways we don’t really want to be spending it.
If this is true in everyday life, it’s doubly true around the holidays. Because of that, I think it’s important to figure out what you want out of the holiday and what things/people you want to prioritize. If you haven’t taken that step, it will be difficult to be intentional about how you spend your time and money.
So, sit down and make a list of the things and people you want to invest your time and money in this Christmas (if you’re married, you’ll probably want to collaborate with your spouse on this so that you have unified priorities).
Do you want to have a low-key celebration?
Do you want to have a lot of company?
Do you want to trim your gift list?
Do you want to stick to a small budget?
Do you want to give generously?
Do you want to get out and enjoy the sights and sounds?
Do you want to set aside time to be at home?
Do you want to do crafts?
Do you want to bake?
Do you want to minimize time spent in the kitchen?
Do you want to spend a lot of time making homemade gifts?
Do you want to have a Christmas with less emphasis on gifts?
Do you want to spend time making traditions with your kids?
Do you want to help people who aren’t as fortunate as you?
Do you want to celebrate with just family, or are there friends that need to be prioritized?
Do you want to see a whole lot of extended family?
Once you’ve got a clear idea of what your priorities are, you’ll have a much easier time deciding what should get a yes, and what should get a no.
I like to give examples, so here are a few.
- Maintaining a cheerful attitude is one of my priorities at Christmastime (well, all year, really, but it takes more work at Christmas!) After all, the holiday season isn’t really that enjoyable for anyone living in a home with a crabby mom. Since I get mentally exhausted by a lot of out and about activities, this means that I say no to those more than I say yes. It also meant that when our children were small, we decided that we weren’t going to be able to run around to several houses on Christmas Day (that wasn’t really contributing to my sanity.)
- Baking with my kids is also a high priority, as is including them in the Christmas decorating process. I also really want to help them get excited about making/giving gifts to other people. So, I schedule in a generous Christmas break from school in order to make time for these things.
- Helping my kids think of others is also important to me, so one of the out-and-about things I say yes to are visits to nursing homes where we sing and play music.
Everyone’s priority list will look a little bit different (yours will probably look different from year to year, even!), and that’s ok.
Whatever your priorities are, having them listed and sorted should provide some clarity for you. And if you’ve got clear priorities, odds are good that you won’t wake up on January 1st wishing you’d done the holidays differently.
Do you try to be intentional about your priorities at the holidays? Share in the comments!
And if you feel like it, you can share some of your holiday priorities as well.
The next post in this series: It’s ok to have an imperfect Christmas. And it’s ok to say no.
Previous posts in this series: