8 Tips for a Stress Free Holiday

Pinecones, Cranberries, and Garland for Holiday Decorations

Your holiday break is supposed to be a time for you to decompress and relax, but it is often a time of immense stress. There’s shopping and cooking and relatives to deal with. It all might seem so overwhelming, but there are ways to survive the holiday stress.


Make Lists. Check Them Twice

A Person Sitting at a Desk Writing a List in a Notebook with a Blue PenI make lists all year round because I’m a pretty forgetful person, but lists are especially important when it comes time for the holiday.

A list of everyone you need to get a gift for is a great place to start. Sit down in advance and write out all the names of the people you buy gifts for. Once you get the gifts, write what you got them next to their name so you don’t forget that either.

If you play Santa for young kids and you have to hide your gifts, keep a list of what each child is getting and where you’ve hidden it. I can’t tell you how many times my mom has found presents weeks or months after Christmas because she’s forgotten that they were hidden.

If you’re hosting a holiday meal, write a list of all the food you’re cooking and a list of what everyone is bringing. Again, my mom has hosted holidays and we will find part of dinner still in the fridge at the end of the night. If you cross everything off as you set it out, you won’t forget anything.


Ask for Help

Trying to think of what to get everyone can seem impossible to do alone. That’s why it’s best to ask for ideas. Parents will know what their kids want because they’ve probably been telling them all year long. Older kids will be able to tell you themselves. This saves the hassle of overthinking things and getting someone something they might not want or need.


                                                                                                        Wrap as You Go

Hands Holding a Wrapped Present over a Table Decorated for the HolidayDon’t wait until the week or night before to get all of your wrapping done. When you buy a present for someone, wrap it right away. This way, you will be done in time to sit back and enjoy your holiday.

Some tricks for remembering who gets what:

  • Put tags on presents that are not “from Santa”
  • Use different wrapping paper for each child so you know whose is whose
  • Write down what wrapping paper you used next to the person’s name and the item on your list


Take a Break

Your holiday break should be just that… a break. A time for you to relax and catch up on your “me time.” Find a day or two to do whatever it is that you want to do. Your work life, loved, ones, and mental health will all thank you.

Studies have found that taking a step back from your stressful work life makes you all around happier and actually more productive when you return to work. So, stop stressing about work for a day or two and go make some lasting memories.


Try Aromatherapy

A Vial of Lavender Essential Oil Next to a Lavender PlantFor those of you who are new to the idea of aromatherapy, it is the use of essential oils for the holistic treatment of different physical and mental health issues. It has been practiced in India, China, and Egypt for thousands of years, but has just recently become popular in the United States.

There are hundreds of different essential oils that you can use for hundreds of different issues. The ones you should be reaching for this holiday season are lavender, jasmine, and sweet basil oils, as these all help to decrease stress and anxiety while promoting a sense of calm.

For more information about aromatherapy and how to use it, check out my article about the benefits of aromatherapy.


                                                                                                        Stick to Routine

As hard as it can be during the holidays with travel and downtime, you should try your best to stick to your routines, especially your morning and evening routines. This provides a sense of consistency that will help you function better during the day and maintain your proper sleep health at night.


Avoid the Diet

Woman Setting the Table for a Holiday Meal


Everyone always tries to diet during the holidays and it’s a big mistake. You’re surrounded by holiday treats and attending holiday meals. It is certainly not the time you want to force yourself to “be good” and only eat healthy foods. This will just cause unnecessary stress and disappointment that contradicts the holiday spirit.


Just Say “No”

This one is important. You need to learn how to tell people “no” when you don’t want to do something. People always try to use the holidays as a reason to get together. If you’re not really happy and excited to do something, don’t do it. Don’t put yourself through that stress if you don’t have to.

There is always an event or two that you have to attend that you really don’t want to. In those cases, make your appearance, do your best to have fun, and then leave when you’ve had enough. The holidays should be about family, fun, and relaxation…not forcing yourself to go to that work party you have “no” interest in. Your time is much better spent doing something that makes you happy!



  1. yes! Avoid the diet!!! That is so stressful, and honestly it sucks being that person that has to say no to everything when everyone else is just trying to enjoy themselves. I have really been looking into getting into aromatherapy more. I use a diffuser at night but I have only ever used lavender. I think it keeps a calm environment, especially for our baby who still sleeps in our room. The only problem is my diffuser is always barely working. Can you recommend any diffusers?

    • Sydney, I absolutely can! If you take a look at my Ultimate Guide to Relaxation Products the very first product on there is an amazing diffuser. It’s called the URPOWER Essential Oil Diffuser and it is the second edition, so it has been updated. It’s a great product with great reviews!

  2. Number 7 and 8 are the ones that will definitely help me stay stress free.  Not worrying about a diet during the holidays sounds wonderful.   I like this…just enjoy and then diet for the new year!  For me, I buy things as I see them for gifts.  What I mean is I start my shopping way early.  This takes away all the stress of last minute shopping and trying to find something last minute.  I am usually done by the end of November, giving me so much breathing room and just time to enjoy the holidays!  

    • That’s another great tip! Starting early really does take the stress out of the holidays, and, if you’re already finished by the end of November and a last minute thing pops up, you won’t have to add that to the list and increase your stress.

  3. You are right, winter holidays are most of the time a stressful time for a lot of people, including me! I didnt know about aromatherapy and I will definitely take a look at your post about that subject shortly. We all put pressure on our shoulders when it comes to Christmas time and taking the time to plan well with time *and a check list) is a good tip. 

    About the diet stuff, I’m thinking the same. I’m a very active person but it won’t effect how I eat during Christmas time. That’s the spirit as you say! The thing I will do is to eat a little bit of everything but not overeat. Eat smart. There’s always a way…

    The most important thing for me is to find some time to relax and put everthing aside for a couple of days (number 4). Holidays passes so fast and it happens only once a year. Saying no is something that we all need to do. With a small child (2 year old), learning to say no to different events/party was something that we need it to do. A real stress reliever!

    Thanks for sharing! 

    Regards, Al 

    • Al, thanks for reading! Eating a little bit of everything is a great tip for the holidays and every other day. It allows you to eat what you want and still stay healthy. If you restrict yourself, you end up “cheating” and overindulging in something bad for you, which makes you feel guilty. There’s no place for guilt around the holidays!

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