3 Steps to a Happier Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again when our to do list and activities just seem to “take over” our lives. We feel we have to say yes to everything, we stop exercising as much and eating as healthy, we spend more money than we wanted on presents, and we are left with that New Year hangover, regretting and wondering how things got so out of hand!

But it doesn’t have to be that way! It is possible for the holidays to not feel so stressful and overwhelming. You have the chance to enter the new year with a feeling of joy and peace if you just take a few moments to stop and really become intentional about what you want out of the next few weeks. It’s totally worth it. 

3 steps to a more peaceful holiday season:


The first step is look back at the last few years and really ask yourself what went well, what didn’t go well, what you wished you hadn’t done, and what you wish you had done. Did you eat too much? Do you wish you had exercised more? Said no to more activities? Was there a family member that you had a difficult time dealing with? Did you have enough down time? Did you eat too many sweets? Did you spend time with the people you wanted to celebrate with? How did you feel?


This is part where I hear groans, I know, but I planned out my next 6 weeks last week and I can’t tell you how great it feels, and it only took about 30 minutes!

First, brainstorm:

  • When you want to exercise
  • When you’ll indulge in sweets and alcohol (be specific)
  • When you want down time in front of the fire or watching movies with your kids
  • When you’ll take that family holiday photo
  • When you’ll send out holiday cards
  • When you’ll make cookies or bake
  • When you’ll cook and what you’ll cook
  • What events or activities you’ll attend (seeing Santa, riding the polar express, going to religious events, seeing holiday light shows, and other holiday related events included)
  • Where you’re travelling and when
  • What days you’re taking off work
  • Who you want to buy gifts for
  • How much money you’ll spend on gifts
  • How much money you’ll spend on food
  • When you’ll buy gifts
  • When you’ll wrap gifts
  • When you’ll have down time
  • When you’ll clean your house
  • When you’ll schedule a date night
  • When you need a sitter
  • Who you want to see and when you’ll see them
  • When and how you’ll decorate the house


Get out your calendar and pencil in:

  • Your exercise time, down time, and date nights with spouse, nights out with friends (#1 priority)
  • Next, add in events and activities (the ones you know now) and travel
  • Then add in when you’ll drink and eat sweets, when you’ll shop for gifts, when you’ll send out holiday cards, when you’ll cook, when you’ll clean, when you’ll wrap gifts, and decorate the house
  • Set menus (or pencil in when you’ll meal plan) and plan when you’ll grocery shop for guests

Overwhelmed yet?

Thinking about planning this much can feel overwhelming, but if you just let things happen to you, you will be overwhelmed for next 6 weeks! I know it seems extreme, but if we really want a more peaceful, restful, joyous holiday season, planning is the key to freedom from stress and overwhelm!

Make a date with your spouse after the kids go to bed to plan together. It’s way more fun that way. Get a cup of cocoa and sit on the couch and just imagine you’re a kid again and you can feel that anticipation of gifts and the holiday spirit and fun.

Life can be this simple, I promise. And it starts with planning.

I have even created this holiday planning worksheet for you to fill out to get you started. And I’ll be reminding you to take the time to do this for the next week. We can hold each other accountable!

Next week, I’ll be discussing how to plan to better deal with difficult family members, travel situations, cravings, stress and overwhelm, disappointment, and how to feel better about any other challenges you may face this season!

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