Family Holidays Traveling

8 Tips for a Less Stressful, Happier Holiday Season

I was asked to participate in the#HappierHolidaysSweeps, sponsored by Country Inns & Suites. Although I have been compensated, all opinions are my own.

Every year, it seems like the Holidays come faster and faster, leaving us with less time than the previous year to get everything done and ready. Of course, we realize that time isn’t really going faster but sometimes our expectations of what has to be done gets bigger and bigger every year and we’re faced with a lot of stress and feelings of guilt, instead of the love and joy we’re supposed to be feeling this time of year. No matter what Holiday you are celebrating this year, there are plenty of ways to make it a Happier Holiday! Here are a few tips to help you.

Old room with christmas tree

© archideaphoto / Dollar Photo Club

Don’t try to compete – We all have at least one friend who seems to have the perfect Holiday decorations (that they undoubtedly made with their own 2 hands with a huge smile on their face), the perfect family picture around the Christmas tree, who sends out their Christmas cards early in December and who always posts great pictures of all the crafts they are doing and all the cookies they are baking with their kids because they were done shopping back in August. We then think that that’s what we should be doing and we need to do it ALL. But, not all of us are crafty or can bake or have all their gifts wrapped and under the tree weeks before Christmas morning (I’m usually at the store on Christmas Eve because I always forget stocking stuffers). Find the one thing that you love doing and do it great! If you truly love baking, focus on that. Love decorating the tree? Have a ball! Do the thing that makes the Holidays Happy FOR YOU and don’t stress about what everyone else is doing.

Start a tradition – A tradition can be as big or small as you want it to be. Growing up, my Mom would let us open new pajamas and a board game on Christmas Eve. When my family and I moved into our current home 7 years ago, we found out that in this neighborhood, you can buy luminaries and put them around your front yard & driveway on Christmas Eve. It’s so amazing to drive around before bedtime and see all the lights lit up. One year, my oldest son asked why I didn’t put those wrapped chocolate coins in the stockings. I never really thought it was a big deal for the kids but he told me that he looks forward to them every year because they are a tradition. Find something that you can do each year & make it fun for you family.

Don’t try to make it a “perfect” Holiday – When we put expectations on ourselves that everything needs to be perfect and better than last year, we’re only setting ourselves up to fail. Here’s the thing…no Holiday is perfect. Something is bound to go wrong or not happen…your pie is overcooked (or undercooked), the present you bought isn’t the right size for the receiver, you forgot to send out a Christmas card to someone that sent you a card and on & on. These things are going to happen, do your best but don’t feel like a failure if your Holiday isn’t “perfect”.

Christmas tree branches background

© SSilver / Dollar Photo Club

Don’t overschedule yourself – It’s fantastic to be invited to 10 different parties/cookie swaps but if you say yes to every single one, plus all the shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping presents…it’s too much! Don’t feel obligated to RSVP yes to everything.

Don’t go crazy on gifts – One thing that worked really well (financially and stress-wise) was my extended family and I decided to just focus on the kid’s for Christmas gifts. If you have a big family, drawing names or setting a very small budget really helps (it’s fun to see what people can come up with when you have a $5/person budget!)

Watch those fun Holiday movies – No matter if your favorite Holiday movie is Elf, It’s A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, watching these fun movies will always put you in the Holiday spirit. Take some time out for you and your family and watch a few!

Don’t wait until the last minute to wrap gifts – I mean, unless you like that sort of thing! This is something I always forget to do and kick myself every single Christmas Eve because there I am sitting on the floor, my feet asleep, wrapping gifts. I tell myself every single year that next year I will wrap as I buy, but I never do!

Avoid the stores – If you can, do a lot of your shopping online. I have bought 95% of the gifts we’re giving online and I couldn’t be happier about that! To me, there’s nothing worse than heading into a busy store this time of year, trying to find that perfect gift, having to stand in line with a bunch of people that are just as crabby as I am…it’s just no fun!

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Country Inns & Suites wants to make your Holidays a little happier too. When you head on over to Twitter or Instagram, post what makes for a Happier Holiday for you and your family. Use the hashtag #happierholidayssweeps and you’ll be entered to win, it’s that easy! You can enter up to three times a day (ending 12/22/14 at 11:59 am CT) (one time daily per entry method – Twitter, Instagram, and Registration Form hosted on the Country Inns & Suites blog). I bet you’re wondering what amazing prizes you can win, right? There will be 25 Grand Prize Winners for the entire program period. Each Grand Prize Winner will four (4) free nights at a Country Inns & Suites location, and a $300 gift card. How’s that for a Happier Holiday? (Contest is open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are at least twenty-one (21) years old at the time of entry.)

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You can find out more about Country Inns & Suites and the Happier Holidays Sweeps by visiting their website and you can also find them on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Google+ | Blog


  1. Adrienne McElwain December 17, 2014
    • Tara December 17, 2014
  2. Dinah December 17, 2014
    • Tara December 17, 2014
  3. Abby Burd December 21, 2014

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