The holiday season can be a hectic and stressful time, so much so that joy and excitement and love can get shoved aside while anxiety and busyness and even depression take their place. We build up our favorite holidays and dream they’ll be Pinterest perfect, and when our to do list doesn’t get done or our perfect tree is lopsided or our family member makes a scene it can be a crushing blow. Today I’m sharing ten simple tips for a joy filled and stress free holiday with your family. At the bottom of this post you’ll also find holiday themed posts from some of my favorite bloggers, as well the amazing Festive Family Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway featuring a prize package worth over $1500 that contains gifts for everyone on your shopping list.

Ten Tips for a Joy Filled and Stress Free Holiday with Your Family

10 Tips for a Joy Filled and Stress Free Holiday with Your Family

1) PRIORITIZE. Make a list of all of the holiday traditions, parties, special events, craft projects, and whatever else you usually try to cram in this busy festive season. Once you’ve got it all down, think through the ones that are the most important and do those first. I’ve done this the past two years and it has been LIFE CHANGING for our family. We all have input and get to pick our favorite things. This sets up clear expectations and can make the holidays much more joyful for everyone involved. You can read about our favorite Christmas traditions here.

2) DECLUTTER YOUR CALENDAR. Once you’ve got your priority list in hand, knock out all the unimportant stuff. That’s right, I said get rid of it. Unless it brings you joy to go to an ugly sweater party every night of the week, take out all the stuff that doesn’t match your family’s priority list. Clearing out the non-priorities makes room for special time with your family doing what matters most to you.

3) LEARN HOW TO SAY NO. Practice it with me. NO. No, thank you. It really is ok to say no. If an event or task doesn’t fit your priority list or your budget, just say no. It is difficult and I’m still terrible at doing it, but I am getting better. Every time I say no to something that isn’t a good fit for me or our family, it makes more room for something that is a great fit.

4) STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. Figure out how much your family can afford to spend on the holidays without using debt and stick to it. This will be our 6th debt free Christmas and it brings me so much joy to know we will celebrate without weighing our family down with debt. Read more about how we set our Christmas budget here and how to save money on Christmas here.

5) KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING. What is it you love celebrating? Whether it is a family meal at Thanksgiving, the joyful birth of Jesus, or the endless possibilities of the New Year, concentrate on what matters most to you and don’t get bogged down in anything else. That thing that matters most to you is what will make the holiday special. Our family celebrates the birth of Jesus with Christmas, and all of our focus is on that main idea. If we forget our focus, the true meaning of the celebration gets lost. Read more about how we celebrate here.

6) GIFT SIMPLY. Keeping your gift giving simple can help you stay on budget and help destress your holiday season. For our kids we typically do one big gift each, and then a few smaller gifts. We draw names on both sides of the family so we aren’t buying for everyone (we both have 3 siblings + spouses, etc) and set a price limit. For Jed and I, we set our budget limit and have to stay within that amount. We want our kids to learn about gratitude and not think Christmas is a time to get every toy they’ve ever wanted. We exchange gifts to remind us of the greatest gift – Jesus.

7) GIVE GENEROUSLY. Charitable giving is a great way to help your family focus on others and learn generosity. Engage your kids in acts of service for others and let them help you with holiday giving projects. Choosing an Angel Tree Child to sponsor or collecting food for the local food pantry can be easy hands on projects for kids. We give away 10% of our income to our favorite ministries and causes year round, but always choose extra giving opportunities at the holidays to do as a family. This year we will be sponsoring one of our YoungLives girls and her baby to help them have a wonderful Christmas.

8) SHARE THE JOY. We like to send Christmas cards and share a holiday treat with our friends and neighbors. The treats aren’t fancy, just a mason jar filled with homemade salsa or Oreo balls or cookies. I order our holiday cards from Minted because they address the cards for you, so I just have to add a stamp and stick them in the mail.  Receiving holiday cards from friends and family fills my heart with joy, so I hope our recipients feel the same.

9) STOP COMPARING. Do your feelings of peace and contentment fly out the window when you look at photos of other families’ holiday celebrations on Facebook or Instagram? Do those perfect Pinterest projects others seem to create drive you to distraction? Remember that those snapshots aren’t the whole picture, and try to stop comparing because comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t let it steal your joy. If needed, take a social media break over the holidays so you won’t be tempted.

10) WRITE IT DOWN. I fail every time I try to start a scrapbook or keep a journal, but I have managed to keep up with our Family Christmas Book probably because it only requires an entry once a year. Dear friends gave us this little book as a wedding gift, and it has two pages for each holiday season. I attach our Christmas card from the year and write down who we celebrated with along with a few memories of the year, and then look through the years past. I know it will be a treasure for years to come.

How do make your family’s holiday season joyful and stress free?

Follow Becca Eby ~ Bare Feet on the Dashboard’s board Festive Family Holiday on Pinterest.

Festive Family Gift Guide Prize Collage Our second annual Festive Family Holiday Hop and Gift Guide Giveaway brings the best holiday themed posts from my favorite bloggers together with an AWESOME giveaway prize package worth over $1500 filled with gifts for everyone on your list. This year our event is headlined by Kore Stools, maker of amazing wobble chairs for the whole family that help boost good posture, concentration, and productivity. Visit the posts below for great holiday tips, and enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below. If you are on a mobile device or have trouble seeing the entry form, click here to enter. a Rafflecopter giveaway


Ten Tips for a Joy Filled and Stress Free Holiday with Your Family from Bare Feet on the Dashboard

The Ultimate Guide to Having Kind Kids This Christmas from Bits of Positivity

Christmas Sensory Play Ideas from Adventures of Adam

Gingerbread Play Dough from The Gingerbread House

Glitter Pinecones from Peace But Not Quiet

10 Exciting Toys To Encourage Learning for 3-4 Year Old Kids from Play Dough and Popsicles

Christmas Crafts for Toddlers from Kidz Activities

DIY Hot Chocolate Kit from Taking Care of Monkey Business

Gifts Kids Can Make from Simply Vicki

Christmas Yoga from Kids Yoga Stories

Gifts That Last All Year from Local Busy Bees

10 Idea for Festive Table Decoration from La Cité des Vents

Christmas Tree Decoration and Card from Castle View Academy

Book-Toy Gift Sets for Preschoolers from P is for Preschooler

DIY Gift: Science Kit for Kids! from Preschool Powol Packets

Christmas Poems to Color from Are We There Yet?

5 Things to Make For a Christmas Stocking from Peakle Pie

The Frugal Family Gift that Keeps On Giving from Kimie Pruessner Photography

Christmas Hand and Foot Print Crafts from Play & Learn Everyday

20 Non-Candy Stocking Stuffers for Boys and Girls from Non Toy Gifts

10 Silly Gifts For Your Kids this Christmas from Witty Hoots

Mom’s Holiday Wish List (Give This List to Your Husband) from The Realistic Mama

5 Awesome Ways to Completely Revamp Your Home This Holiday Season from Tidbits of Experience

5 Comments on Ten Tips for a Joy Filled and Stress Free Holiday with Your Family

  1. You are summing up all that I thought about the Holidays season! The “Share the Joy” is really important to me and the “budget” side of thing is the main goal of my husband… So yeah, we try to do good with what we have and can afford.

  2. so many good tips in this post. i’m currently doing a book/bible study called, “the best yes” by lysa terkeurst and it goes along great with ‘saying no’ and prioritizing. thought i’d share. “)
    hope y’all have a wonderful holiday season!

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