Sanity Check: Three Ways to Trim Your Christmas Stress


I am just going to come right out and say it.

Ba Humbug.  

The holidays can be hard. It isn’t that I don’t like celebrating the holidays, but I would be lying if I said I don’t often feel overwhelmed by the parental pressures (most of which are self-inflicted) that I feel go hand in hand with baking gingerbread cookies and drinking hot cocoa.

I want this time of year to be burned into my kid’s memories as a magical time full of joy and fun and love and light. But, the stress and cost associated with finding the time for all the activities, parties, and “holiday traditions” can leave me feeling like the Grinch. I wish I could spend the entire month of December visiting Santa, wrapping gifts, decorating the tree and baking cookies. But sadly, I have other responsibilities too. So this year, it’s time to prioritize and focus on events that really give me a bang for my warm fuzzy memories buck. Rather than trying to do it all, I am going to pick and chose and cut corners where I can. Most importantly, I am going to scale back and learn to say no. Here are a few places I am trimming the stress while still trying to spread the holiday cheer:

Christmas Cards

Table Cloth Backdrop, I think yes.  photo1

I love sending our annual Christmas card! But, this year we moved to a new house and I need to update people with our new address. Usually, I schedule a time to meet with a photographer and get the kids all dressed up in order to capture that perfect photo. This year, I am using one of the thousands of great photos I took this year instead and saving myself the time and money. I am also ordering post cards instead of regular cards which will save me money on postage, and time on stuffing envelopes.

Christmas Decorations

I love seeing the beautiful Christmas lights hung around the neighborhood, but this year we just don’t have time to dedicate an entire weekend to hanging lights all over the house. A couple of years ago, we made a life size Grinch for the front yard who looked like he was stealing the lights off the house, just like in the movie. One string of lights and we are fully decorated; minimal effort. If we have the time, we can go see other light displays around town. Check out this map of all the best places in town, HERE. 

Christmas Grinch
Our Grinch.

Christmas Tree Right-Sizing

Every year that I have known my husband we have always bought these huge, 12-14 foot Christmas trees. Not only is this expensive, but it takes so much time to decorate a tree that size. This year, we are purchasing a permit from the Forest Service and cutting our own smaller, more reasonably sized tree. I am super excited for this because I think the kids will love the adventure of “hunting” for our very own.

Giant trees take a ton of ornaments!




What other ways can you cut back on your holiday stress but not your holiday memories?

Let us know in the comments!

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Rachel is a native Coloradoan, though originally from the Western Slope. She followed her husband Chris to his hometown of Colorado Springs after having met in engineering school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. Together they have four beautiful children, Tommy (2011), Tazzy (2014), Zach (2015) and Zinny (2018). Having a young and active family keeps Rachel on her toes trying to find ways to keep the ship sailing while still meeting all the demands of motherhood. Though Rachel loves her most important role as Mommy most, she also works full time outside the home as a Water Resources Engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources. This role helps keep her life centered, bouncing from detailed and complex discussions relating to Colorado Water Law with her husband ( a mechanical engineer) to daycare and preschool drop off and pick up schedules, while being constantly interrupted by the equally complex musings of her 4 year.