Using the KISS Principle to Reduce Holiday Stress

Using the KISS Principle to Reduce Holiday Stress

It’s that time of year again. Big Box and grocery stores alike began putting out their Christmas merchandise before Halloween was over. And, about the time you have some spending money and the wherewithal to go shopping, all the Christmas goodies will be gone, replaced by lawn furniture and white sales.

For now, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and the only turkey in your house is the two-legged one you’re highly irritated with for forgetting to get the furnace repaired last spring. Hmmm…I just realized that even feathered turkeys only have two legs, hence the fighting among the children over who gets a drumstick. Nevertheless, things are shaping up to be even more frantic than last year and you wonder if you’ll survive the season without going bonkers, going broke, or both.

Here are some suggestions to reduce frazzle and increase dazzle:

Employ the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple Sister (or Keep It Super Simple)

1)  Who says you have to have turkey, mashed potatoes, eight side dishes, and thirteen desserts for Thanksgiving? Why not lasagna? Why not lasagna made with ground turkey? The whole idea behind Thanksgiving is to spend time with family and friends, share a simple meal, and enjoy one another’s company. Make your own tradition. One size doesn’t fit all and that’s okay.

2)  Make the inside of your home inviting and cheery in ways that are meaningful to you and yours. Don’t worry about “keeping up with the Joneses.” If you don’t have the time and energy to put up lights outside your house, skip it. It doesn’t matter what the neighbors think. You can’t see the lights from the inside of your house anyway.

3)  Let your kids help. So what if all the ornaments end up on one side of the Christmas tree? So what if there’s more tinsel hanging off the dog’s tail than there is on the branches? What’s the big deal if the Styrofoam snowman’s head is on backwards? Who and what is Christmas for anyway? It’s about family. It’s about kids. It’s about serving others and doing random acts of kindness. Remember that kindness should extend to your loved ones too, not just to strangers.

4)  Be flexible. Probably half the Christmases we’ve celebrated have been on days other than December 25th. Whether it was due to finances or family from out-of-town being unable to make it on time, we’ve often postponed the festivities for a few days. It’s okay. You can still have a special breakfast or wonderful dinner on Christmas Day and save the gift-giving for later. Decide what Christmas means to you and your family.

Is it about festivities, family, or friends? Is it about gifts? Is about about service? Is it about honoring God? Is it to celebrate the birth of Jesus? Biblical scholars tend to agree that Jesus wasn’t born in December. The point I’m making isn’t to get theological, but to give some perspective. What does this season mean to you personally?  Should it be a time of pandemonium or a time of peace? A time of pressure or a time of preparation?

5)  Take time to reflect and think about the things you’re thankful for. The holidays can be a difficult time for some people. You may have lost a loved one, and this time of year brings sadness. You might have suffered trauma over Christmases past. Maybe you don’t have family nearby.

Whatever your reason is for feeling the blues, take time for yourself. Don’t shut yourself off in an attempt to shut off the pain. Work through it. Get counseling if you need it. Spend time with a close friend if you have one. Help someone else work through their own pain. Volunteer at a homeless shelter or another charity organization. You can make a difference in the lives of others while taking the focus off your own circumstances.

What’s the best thing you remember about the holidays while growing up? Was it the shopping frenzy or the time spent with family? Was it the giving or the getting? Was it the parties or the quiet evenings at home? There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Take a moment to get nostalgic and enjoy those memories. Plan to simply enjoy the season by recreating the cherished traditions of your past or by creating new ones and making them your own. Then, you can KISS stress goodbye!


  1. I’m with you 100%. One way we keep it simple is on Christmas eve we have lasagna or soup that was made earlier in the week. Then all we have to do is heat and serve. While that’s cooking, we do prep work for Christmas day – anything that couldn’t be prepared earlier in the week that is. My mom and I do the bulk of the prep work and I think we’ve really gotten it down to the bare bones.
    Andrea Stenberg recently posted…Beginners Guide to Google Analytics: Exit Pages on Your Blog or WebsiteMy Profile

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      Thank you for adding another suggestion Andrea! I used to try to do everything at the last minute and then I’d be so worn out and stressed that I couldn’t relax and enjoy the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas. We just added Chanukah to our celebrations a couple years ago). It’s only been the last few years that I started making things a few days in advance; dishes that could easily be kept in the fridge a day or two and then put into the oven on the day of the event. I also used to stay up until 2 a.m. wrapping presents. Not any more. My new motto is ‘wrap early, wrap often.” Now I get to bed before 1:00 🙂

  2. What a great reminder of what the holiday season should be all about. Plus, we don’t remember how “perfect” every was last year. We remember the funny mishaps that happen, so let them happen! Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season!
    Catherine recently posted…Tighten + Tone TuesdayMy Profile

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      You’re right; some of our best memories are the ones where everything did NOT turn out perfectly. Thank you Catherine. Wishing the best for you as well.

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