As if our lives aren’t already busy enough, then the holidays get here and the amount of things we have to do seems to double. Or at least that is our expectation that we have of ourselves, that we NEED to do all these THINGS. Let me encourage you to take a step back, examine your life and calendar AND your expectations and see if you can’t have a more relaxing and meaningful holiday.

8 ways to enjoy holidays

8 Ways to Relax and Enjoy the Holiday Season

Here are 8 ways to slow down over the holidays and make the most of the season:

1.  Focus on the meaning of the holidays. Remember the reason for the holidays. If it has become all about getting and receiving lots of gifts, and hurrying scurrying to the next holiday event, then maybe it is time to reevaluate what the holidays mean to you. Think about how you would like the holidays to turn out and then begin to make some changes in your life to bring you closer to your ideal holiday.

2. Plan. Discuss with your spouse, and children if old enough, some of the important things you would like to do during this holiday season. What are some traditions you want to continue, some you want to begin, and maybe even some you want to drop. Decide what is important to those in your family and then shape your holiday plans around this as much as possible.

3. Learn to say NO freely. If an activity does not fit with your plans, or it would be very difficult to fit it in, then say no without guilt. Save your YES’s for those things that are most important to you and those you love.

4. Be prepared. Know what events you need to have cookies, or a gift or a dish for. Don’t let them sneak up on you. Be proactive in seeking out events and activities you would want to be involved in so that you can be prepared.

5. Buy in bulk. Find a simple gift that can be given to several people, such as all the teachers you need to buy gifts for. Or food items are great gifts for these types of recipients, or an ornament to hang on their tree next year.

6. Schedule down time for yourself. Take an evening just for you, or have a shopping date with your girlfriends. Schedule a massage or a pedicure. While making the holidays merry for everyone else, don’t forget to take care of you!

7. Eat healthy. And speaking of taking care of you, be sure to eat healthy a good portion of the time, so you can enjoy yourself on a few occasions. Also, drink lots of water. We tend to get dehydrated when we are busy and being dehydrated can make you even more fatigued.

8. Schedule time to make memories with your family. It will be the little things they remember, not the gifts. Making cookies and going caroling. Decorating the tree and wrapping gifts. Drinking hot cocoa and watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas special.

What can you do to make this Christmas less stressful and more memorable for you and your family?

I authored this post and it was originally published at Mom It Forward. It is republished here with permission.