Dreaming of a Sweet and Simple Christmas

10 tips for a stress-less holiday

Tracie Miles-6548-EditI am SO excited to introduce you to our guest writer today –  Tracie Miles from Proverbs 31 Ministries!
She is the author of Stressed-Less Living: Finding God’s Peace in a Chaotic World .

SLL Book Cover


Tracie writes:

Do the holidays stress you out? Join the club!

As moms and wives, it seems we take the brunt of the holiday pressure. Trying to make sure that everyone is happy, fed, and festive, in addition to the house being a holiday haven and making sure all the gifts perfectly selected, purchased and wrapped, can make even the most organized, calm and collected woman turn as nutty as a fruitcake.

Every year we all jump onto the holiday highway and speed up to ninety miles an hour until we turn the calendar over to a new year, while inadvertently letting our overall health slide along the way. Unfortunately, living in the fast lane of stress even for just a couple months, not only affects our emotional health, but it can affect our spiritual and physical health as well.  If we want to avoid letting the chaos of the season zap our energy and our holiday joy, we can intentionally choose Christmas peace over Christmas chaos.

Despite living in a culture focused more on the retail aspect of the holidays than the spiritual aspect of the birth of Jesus, we can choose to keep things sweet and simple by remembering to set our hearts right with Christ and intentionally planning to minimize our stress. Out of all the decisions we will face this season, this is one of the most important, and is a gift we can not only give to ourselves, but to our families and loved ones as well.

If your heart is dreaming of a sweet and simple Christmas this year, below are 10 tips to help you plan for a stressed-less and joy-full holiday.

Stand up for Christ.  Say Merry Christmas without worrying about offending someone. Standing up for our faith creates pride in our Savior, while being hesitant to acknowledge Him in an attempt to be ‘politically correct’ can sometimes cause pangs of guilt.

Touch your loved ones…. with a hug, a phone call, a personalized Christmas card, or a plate of cookies. Christmas is about the giving of ourselves more than the giving of gifts. And the gift of touch is priceless.

Release yourself from feeling obligated to be a holiday super woman. Over committing not only leads to burnout, but keeps us too distracted on the things, and people, that really matter.

Evaluate traditions. All too often we continue with traditions year after year, which may add additional stress to our holidays while not adding value to the season.  Consider changing or ceasing certain traditions that don’t seem to hold great value anymore to you or loved ones.

Settle grudges. Unforgiveness and bitterness can cause a great deal of inner turmoil and stress, especially among families. Pray about anyone you may have been holding a grudge against and ask God for the ability to forgive them. What better time of year for restoration of relationships than Christmas?

Simmer a delicious, aromatic hot beverage on the stove, such as hot apple cider, Russian tea, or hot chocolate. Seasonal fragrances can be like a soothing balm for a stressed out soul.

Laugh. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the chaos of Christmas, and forget the pleasure and enjoyment of a hearty laughter. Make time to watch some funny holiday movies, like Elf, Christmas With The Kranks, The Grinch, or one of your favorite oldies that simply make you smile.

Establish lists. A major stressor of the holidays is a lack of organization. Make a list of gifts to buy, social plans, baking to be done,  ingredients needed, etc., and then put them in order of priority. This allows you to tackle your to-do’s one at a time, without feeling overwhelmed.

Save money when possible and avoid shopping malls.  Rather than purchasing gifts based on convenience or feeling obligated to buy expensive trendy items, conduct on-line searches for the best prices, and look for one of a kind specialties instead of trendy items. Try to  focus more on the thoughts behind gifts, rather than the money in the gifts.  This not only prevents anxiety from holiday crowds, but also prevents the stress that comes with over spending.

Settle down for a long winter’s nap. Even Santa needs a break every now and then. Make time to relax this holiday season doing activities that relax your heart, soul, body and mind. Remember that even when holiday craziness is in full swing, Jesus offers calm in the midst of the chaos.  And when our hearts are at peace, our holidays can be too.


Thank you Tracie for sharing this with us today.

You can visit Tracie on her blog here>> http://www.traciemiles.com or on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest.

Walk with the King,



  1. Great advice!! As I’m not a mum or wife myself, I don’t have that stress yet, but I know from experience that my mum goes nuts over the holidays, doubly so because her birthday is 2 days before Christmas (which adds another celebration to the mix!).

    I’ll help her as much as I can this year

  2. Great list! The “settling grudges” is a biggie. The tensions from those unresolved issues can dampen and even destroy holiday gatherings.

    My favorite it so evaluate traditions. We let go of an extended family tradition several years ago to free ourselves to attend Christmas Eve service at church. While it was hard for the family to understand (they are not believers), we headed into Christmas Day with lighter and more joyful hearts.

  3. Hello ladies! My heart is also for helping people experience a stress free holiday season focused on being thankful, family, and, most importantly, celebrating the birth of our Savior. I am writing a 4 part series that I thought some of you might be interested in. The first has to do with travel tips. The second is about stress. Next week’s has to do with dealing with family. (Ouch!) If you are interested, feel free to check it out at http://www.drlaurelshaler.com. Hope it’s okay for me to share that here. Just want to add on to the wonderful info being shared by Courtney and her guest today. Blessings to all!

  4. So Good to read this! This time of year there is so many distractions trying to keep us from remembering WHY we celebrate! JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!!!

  5. Thanks for this! Grateful for the reminder that my sisters in Christ are seeking simple, sweet ways to bless others and our Lord this Christmas! 🙂

  6. Yeah, our Holiday gatherings on my side of the family are minus my DH since my sister,brother and SIL refuse to forgive my DH even though he apologized for his actions. And then with his infidelity, makes them not like him even more. So I go over to my parents house to see my family on Christmas Day sans DH. It’s sad because these are people who ‘claim’ to be believers and attend church services but if they truly were followers of Christ, they would’ve forgiven him as I have done. Jesus said to FORGIVE as He forgave us.

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