10 Steps to the Happiest Christmas Ever

Christmas is portrayed as a happy holiday, but the reality for many is just the opposite. Instead of joy, there are stress, debt, and guilt. Unfortunately, for most families Christmas is the most stressful period of the year. Endless interactions with friends and relatives, last-minute shopping, great expenditures, and the pressure of holiday preparations undermine the delight and fabulous atmosphere of the holiday. If this sounds like your usual holiday season, you can take steps to ensure that this Christmas will be the happiest.

1 Start today

If the stress of last-minute shopping is what keeps you from being happy during the holidays, starting making purchases right now may work better. Try to do your shopping throughout the year so that you don’t have to brave the stores when the crowds are awful. If you plan it right, you won’t even have to brave Christmas traffic. Apart from shopping, your to-do list should also include gifts, food, decoration ideas and expenses and even a seating plan. When making a guest list keep their e-mail addresses and phone numbers handy so that you can easier contact them before Christmas Eve.

2 Focus on activities, not gifts

Enjoy the Christmas spirit with your family instead of worrying about material things. While gifts can be nice, the real memories come from sledding with the kids, taking a late-night drive around town or caroling with friends. Spend some time surfing the Internet and you’ll find hundreds of great ideas to get your children involved in free festive activities. Everything that is done together, from making Christmas crafts to playing games and puzzles, is always appreciated. Having fun together should be high on the priority list. Don’t forget to grab a camera to capture those moments of joy and delight.

3 Skip some of the parties

You don’t have to attend every party on the block. Pick a couple that you can’t miss and politely decline the rest of the invitations. You shouldn’t have to pack your schedule with more than you can really do comfortably. This way you’ll have more time to spend with your family and eliminate excess stress. However, if you want to meet your friends, colleagues and neighbors, consider hosting a big party and gather together all the people you want to share Christmas cheer with.

4 Share your blessings

Nothing brings greater joy than making other people happy. Whether you invite someone with no family over for dinner or take a food basket to a needy family, you’ll find that you get much more from it than they do. By sharing with those in need you show a great example of helpfulness and generosity for your kids. Declutter your home and I bet you’ll find a lot of new yet unnecessary things like unworn clothes, toys or accessories. While you don’t need these items, someone may need them. It will make you happy to help others, so go ahead and start sharing.

5 Budget carefully and stick to it

Spending too much over the holidays can cause even more stress. It also results in guilt after the holiday is over, when you realize you probably didn’t need to spend so much. In short, a budget can help you save money and feel better about it. While planning your budget you should pay special attention to not so visible yet great money wasters like overseas telephone charges, postage, unplanned purchases and extras. This will enable you to compute your Christmas budget more realistically and avoid splurging. Define the limit that you can spend on each category and always keep your eyes open for ongoing expenditures. If your expenditures seem to exceed the limit, consider free and low-cost ways to celebrate this Christmas.

Read also – 10 Wonderful Christmas Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

6 Play more games

Playing games is not for kids only. Fun Christmas games are the perfect icebreaker to help your guests come in contact with each other and feel comfortable. Board games used to be a staple of holiday gatherings. It’s still a lot of fun to break out the Monopoly board when you have friends pop by. Christmas party can be a good opportunity to try something new like Ticket to Ride, Bookchase or Pandemic. Not only is playing games an enjoyable way to spend an evening, it’s also budget friendly.

7 Skip the gifts

When it comes to gift giving, it can be challenging to pick the right thing for each person, not to mention expensive. Instead of trying to make everyone happy, why not suggest that your family skip gifts for the adults this year? If desired, the money could be put toward a charity or you can just completely eliminate the whole tradition. Many families do this and find it much easier. The children will still receive gifts, of course. Doing a Kris Kringle is also a good way to save money this Christmas. Prepare the box filled up with the names of your guests and let your guests buy a present only for the person whose name they drew out of the pile.

8 Make it handmade

If you can’t bring yourself to completely eliminate the gifts, you might want to try making each gift more meaningful. Presents that have been created by your own hands are extra special and will be much appreciated. You don’t have to be very skillful or seasoned to make a nice greeting card, a small stuffed toy or a bracelet. The Internet is full of simple and amazing ideas and tutorials even for beginners. Stock up on the DIY supplies and rejoice your friends and family with unique handmade presents.

9 Take time to relax

It’s easy to find yourself running all over the place during the holidays, but relaxation is the key to happiness during the holiday season. Even on Christmas Eve, when most mommies and wives are busy with meal, gifts and last preparations, you should carve out some time to sit back and indulge yourself. Take time to sip your hot chocolate and enjoy life a little. You’ll be back to work soon enough, so make the most of your time off. If you need some extra hands don’t hesitate to invite your family or friends to help you with cooking and serving and use this time to take fragrant bath and dress up. Christmas hustle and bustle are great, but from time to time you should slow down and enjoy the present moment.

10 Teach your children to enjoy Christmas without money

You may feel that Christmas is better with fewer presents and more fun, but what about the kids? Teach them from a young age to appreciate the season and they will be more than happy to celebrate with activities instead of mountains of gifts. Incorporating several unique family traditions into your celebration will make the holiday utterly breathtaking for your kids. Even simple activities like festive cooking or decorating your home and Christmas tree can become so precious family traditions. This way you’ll teach your children that family time and memories are something most valuable ever.

Read also – 8 Marvelously Delicious Christmas Treats

Christmas should be a time of family togetherness and happiness. It doesn’t just happen, though, you have to make the holidays cheerful and bright. Luckily, there are lots of ways to reduce stress during this holiday season by following simple strategies and tips. Take action to make this your best year yet. How are you going to celebrate this Christmas?