“What should I buy for the kids this year?”

Mary looked through the toy catalogue, wondering what to get for her two young nieces, a nephew, and a goddaughter. She had also been going through different Christmas menu plans, trying to decide what food to order for the upcoming party. Her friends were coming over, and she wanted everyone to have a good time.

Then there was the gift exchange between her and her close friends. Mary made a mental note to head down to the department store the following weekend to find suitable gifts. While there, she thought, she could also pick out new ornaments for a live fir tree which she was sure would be the showstopper at her party.

“Oh, I’d better remember to order the tree before it’s sold out,” she said to herself. Last year, she had been too late, and had to make do with an artificial Christmas tree. She wasn’t going to let that happen again.

It was only the first day of December and already, it seemed like Mary was falling behind in getting things ready for Christmas. “Christmas,” she mumbled to herself with a deep sigh.

“What a stressful time!”

A woman stressfully pulling out Christmas tree decoration on 1st December.

The Season’s Stressors

A woman carries some gift boxes.

Do you share Mary’s feelings? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the thought of the many presents you need to buy, the gatherings to attend, the food to prepare, and the house to decorate?

For many of us, the Christmas season seems more stressful than joyful, more tiring than heartening, and more manic than merry.

Surveys have shown people feeling stressed out by the festivities each year, mainly by the pressure to buy the right gifts for friends and family, and having too many dinner parties to host or attend. Some even report family relationships being strained by gatherings that cause more tension than joy.

Not surprisingly, some of us might wonder: Is there any way to escape it all? Maybe we could say no to parties? Perhaps we could stop participating in gift exchanges?

Or, if we can’t avoid all this—it is the season of giving, after all—how can we get through the festive season … and enjoy it at the same time?

How to Survive the Season

How to Survive the Season

Here are some practical ideas you might want to consider:

The gift box icon

Set a budget and stick to it.

It’s easy to get caught up with the festivities and end up splurging on special items and wrappings—and spending more than you should. Remember that people who truly care about you will cherish your presence more than a present.

The checklist board icon

Make a list of your expectations.

Christmas is often marketed as a magical time of love and celebration. When the reality doesn’t seem to match up, some of us spiral into disappointment and resentment against others or ourselves. If that’s you, try this: make a list describing your “perfect Christmas” in detail—have fun but be honest! Now comes the hard part: examine each detail, keep the ones you can control, and throw out the rest.

Two people hang to two love balloons icon

Hang out with people you actually like.

That means turning down certain invitations. But if it’s something you can’t avoid—like an office party you’re obliged to attend—you could try to limit the time you spend there. Decide in advance how long you want to stay, and leave when your time is up.

The Christmas tree icon

Keep the decorations to a minimum.

Instead of putting up a tree this year, why not try a table centrepiece? Or if a tree is a must-have, then do away with the other decorations. Pinterest and Instagram may show you picture-perfect homes, but don’t feel pressured to match these ideals. Really, there’s no end to creating the perfect Christmas set-up.

The group of people icon

Involve others in the menu.

If you’re hosting, create a menu and get your guests to indicate which dish they would like to contribute. You may want to be the perfect host, but there’s no need to take everything upon yourself. Delegate!

Christmas ornaments

You might wonder, however: How can Christmas still be special without the best in gatherings, food, and presents? If we’re cutting back on these celebrations—even if it’s necessary to our mental well-being—would it still be Christmas?

The answer is
The answer is

Because doing away with gatherings, food, and presents does not change the fact that Christmas is ultimately about the birth of a baby boy named Jesus. Even if you don’t know much about it, you would probably have seen Christmas greetings or heard songs being sung about Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ being born on Christmas Day.

The Bible, on which the Christian faith is based, says of Jesus:

Isaiah 9:6

These words show what Christmas is all about—it’s not about decorations, parties, and gifts, but about the arrival of Jesus in our midst. It is Jesus Christ who gives Christmas its name and true meaning.

If you feel worn out by the many things you need to prepare for Christmas, rest assured that you don’t need all these things to make Christmas the most wonderful time of the year.

Christmas time is wonderful—not because of anything else, but because of Jesus Christ.

He came to
bring joy and peace to the world.
He came to
give us hope.
He came to
show us that God loves us and wants to have a relationship with us.

Would you like to know more about Jesus?

Click here

Would you like to know more about Jesus?

Click here

Share this with your friends:

We would love to help you grow in your relationship with God.

Sign up to be notified of our latest print and digital resources


Follow us