How I Reduced My Holiday Stress and Replaced it With Love

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The Holidays can be a stressful time. There is pressure to buy lots of gifts, have amazing parties that your see on Pinterest and blogs, and make everything by hand.

And this seems to start earlier and earlier every year. In fact I just drove by a shopping plaza parking lot which had up all the Christmas decorations, weeks before Thanksgiving. What does Black Friday even mean anymore when stores seem to be having “Black Friday in August” sales?

Sure, sales are fun, but it kind of takes away anything special about it and other Holiday related fun.

As a kid I would probably consider myself a little spoiled (at least in the getting department). To my parent’s defense, my grandmother lived with us, I was an only child, and I was a good kid (not terribly pouty when I did not get what I wanted). That said, at Christmas time I just did not understand when my friends did not get that same amount of gifts as I did.

I would call my best friend on Christmas afternoon to get the scoop. She would name off 4-5 things and I would have a never ending list. And in my young mind I just could not reconcile it. Aren’t you supposed to get a TON of stuff for Christmas?

As I grew I realized my selfishness and was able to see outside myself and that maybe getting all that stuff is not necessary. Simple can be really good, too. And on top of that, not all kids WILL grow out of the selfish/entitled phase. I was lucky to have a good foundation as well as a strong sense of inner morality that helped guide me a lot.

Today, as a mom, I focus on keeping Christmas “light.” I am a big believer in not creating artificial stress on yourself. This includes, not biting off more than you can chew or keeping up with my friends or family or Pinterest. Christmas and the Holidays are not about running around like crazy and racking up your credit card bill. It’s about spending time with those we love and been thankful for what we have.

Around the Holidays you might want to try refocusing your efforts into 3 areas: You, Being Together and Giving. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Focus on Yourself

  • Read a good book. Maybe find a holiday devotional, romance or history. Learn something new about Christmas or just enjoy a fun romance to get you ready for the Holidays, while still taking some time for yourself.
  • Check out some deep breathing or relaxation exercises online. There are tons of these on YouTube. Take some time in the evening or when the kids are still in school to spend 10 minutes doing light yoga or simple deep breathing.

Being Together

  • Find some free Holiday events in your area. Check out a concert or play. If allowed, bring your own hot chocolate and cookies so you are not tempted to spend money.
  • Take a drive up to the mountains as a family. Nothing gets you in the Christmas mood like a little snow and pine trees. If you already live in the mountains, take a family hike where you are. Or if you don’t live near the mountains, well, maybe a county drive might be a fun outing.


  • Give to other family members. Make a game of who can “out give.” Maybe siblings are willing to take over chores for another or see who can volunteer quickest when Mom or Dad need something done. Practice being kind to each other. Keep track of how kind and loving your family is (keep this very positive).
  • Ask around if friends or family need any projects done. If possible, complete them as a family on the weekend.

So what can YOU do to dispel the Holiday stress, craziness and overspending? Do you have any family traditions you would like to share? Please put them in the comments, we would love to hear them.

And if you need help with a Holiday Budget, check the spreadsheet out here from Suntrust.

At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They want to help you reduce holiday stress through tools, advice, and inspiration that encourages you to make your holidays meaningful by spending within your means and focusing on meaningful experiences.

To get started visit

Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.


  1. michelle says

    I love this!! I don’t give my teens gifts anymore, I usually take them to an indoor water park…we create memories…not exchange tangible gifts.

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