Nine Tips for your Family’s Joy-Filled, Meaningful, Low-Stress Christmas Holiday Season

The Christmas season should be fun, relaxing, and joyful… but sometimes stress gets in the way. It’s busy, there’s extra shopping to do, more parties to attend, travel arrangements to make – but it is still possible to enjoy the holiday season. Read on for nine tips that may help your family this Christmas.

  1. Build anticipation for Christmas Day. This may include an Advent calendar, or perhaps withholding some decorations or family traditions until closer to Christmas, to continue unveiling special holiday moments. 
  2. Set aside time each evening or regularly during the week to read the Scriptures out loud about Jesus’s birth. Include the Old Testament prophecies, such as Isaiah 9. 
  3. Write a Christmas Blessings List alongside your usual gift wish list. You have already received so much from God, tangible and intangible. Give thanks! 
  4. Add a figurine to the Nativity set each night and discuss the meaning of that person’s presence (Shepherd… Joseph… Angel…). Consider their unique perspective on the Messiah’s birth. Close in prayer together. 
  5. Allow all 5 senses to be a part of the Christmas experience. Even a quick minute or two each day of deep breathing in the right setting can calm your heart and ready you for Christmas. Smell the pine tree or some cinnamon. Taste eggnog or Christmas cookies. Touch the bristly Christmas tree limbs or the soft velvet of a wreath’s bow. Listen to a fire crackling. Look at the beauty of the Christmas tree lit at night. 
  6. Set aside special family time, apart from Christmas parties or gift exchanges. Zero in on a favorite meal, movie, or book. The act of sharing family traditions is a big part of why we experience nostalgia and enjoy the holidays so much.
  7. Invest in hospitality and caring for others. Serve a meal in a homeless shelter or invite someone from church to your Christmas dinner. 
  8. Write Christmas letters to your loved ones, and to military members, missionaries, pastors, government officials, etc. 
  9. Look through the Christmas cards that you receive and enjoy them. Have everyone pick out their favorite card scene and share why. Or use this as a jumping off point to call the person who sent the card and say hello.

If I could sum it up in one word… SIMPLIFY. 

Rest (lots). Bake (less). Shop (some). Avoid adding new things to the schedule, but focus instead on enjoying what you already have. And have a very merry Christmas! 

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director