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5 Ways to Manage the Christmas Chaos for Families

Posted by Kim Schlauch on Dec 9, 2014 3:00:00 PM

Christmas packages

While the Christmas season can be an exciting time, for many families the burden of the added demands and expectations surrounding Christmas on top of an already hectic family schedule can outweigh the joy of the season.  This is certainly true in my life.

The first Christmas season after my return to work following ten years as a stay-at-home mom was a real eye opener for me.  I vividly recall collapsing in a heap on the sofa that particular Christmas night with a greater feeling of despair than joy despite the fact that I had somehow managed to accomplish all the same Christmas tasks I had completed in previous years.  Upon much reflection, I determined I had been so focused on completing the tasks that I failed to acknowledge that, because of my work schedule, I had much less time in which to complete them that season.  In addition, I realized the despair I experienced resulted from losing sight of the big picture: I was so consumed with the tasks that I missed out on the true meaning of the season.  In the years to follow, I was determined to bring back the joy.    

Here are 5 ways I have learned to manage the chaos of Christmas to better experience the joy of the season that I hope you can benefit from as well: 

  1. Set Realistic Expectations.  Determine the time and energy you truly have devote to seasonal events and activities based on your current circumstances.  First, make a list of all the things you want/need to do.  Next, estimate the amount of time you are able to set aside to complete these tasks.  If the items on the list outweigh the time you have, you will need to cut some things from the list.  But how can you decide what to cut? (See #2) Christmas to do list

  2. Focus on What Matters Most. Prioritize your list based on what matters most to your family.  Are the activities on your list ones that you truly have the time and desire to do, or are some on the list for no other reason than you’ve always done them in the past?  Perhaps it is time to forego some old traditions to make room for new and more relevant ones or to simply make more room in your schedule for some much needed down time.

  3. Forego the Guilt Complex.  Don’t feel obligated to live up to others’ expectations, especially when perception isn’t always reality.  For example, a tradition you think is quite important to your mother might not actually be as important as you think it is.  Keep the lines of communication open and find a balance between meeting your family members’ needs and maintaining your sanity.

  4. Maintain an Attitude of Gratitude.  Feeling overwhelmed?  Rather than dwelling on the tasks in front of you, take a “glass half full” approach and be thankful for what you have.  Staring at a sink full of dishes?  Be thankful you have food on the table.  Overcome by piles of laundry?  Be thankful you have clothes on your back.  A daunting Christmas card list?  Be thankful you have all those wonderful friends and family members.  You get the idea.

  5. Give the Gift of Time.   Instead of stressing out about the gift of material things, focus on a memorable holiday experience.  Plan a special family outing or go for a drive to see some Christmas light displays.  Or simply focus less on “doing” and more on “being.”  Rather than all that running around, plan a quiet evening at home with your loved ones in front of the fire with a mug of hot chocolate, a bowl of popcorn and some Christmas music or a movie.



Topics: Christmas

About the Author

Kim is the blog content manager at Liberty Christian School. She has professional experience in the fields of business and education and hands-on experience as the mother of two school-age children. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family, and anything chocolate.