Ideas & Tips For Stress-Free Holidays

Ideas & Tips For Stress-Free HolidaysPin
Ideas & Tips For Stress-Free Holidays

Updated 10/18/2023

Last week, I wrote about using the FlyLady’s Holiday Control Journal to help me prepare for the holidays with less stress. This week, I asked fellow chronic illness warriors for their tips and ideas for having stress-free holiday celebrations.

My favorite tip came from Cassie Creley in her The Mighty article called “The Power of Celebrating Holiday Months vs. Days in Life With Chronic Illness.” She says:

So how can we celebrate a holiday month?

It doesn’t mean feeling pressured to do something every day or making the month super busy. It means incorporating little bits of holiday spirit throughout the month. Spread out the days you do something festive as little or as much as you want, adjusting as your energy allows.

Cassie Creley

I love this idea because too often we try to cram everything into a day, which just leads to exhaustion and stress. So why not spread the enjoyment out over a month so we can truly enjoy each thing we do without the overwhelm? Thanks so much Cassie for your idea.

Checklists for Stress-Free Holidays

Sheryl, at A Chronic Voice, shared on using checklists to help you mange the holidays in her post, 3 Important Holiday Checklists for Those with Chronic Illness (and Their Supporters). Her first checklist is Holiday Checklist 1: Before the Holiday Festivities Go Into Full Swing. It contains tips for pacing, delegating, and preparing for flare-ups.

Her second checklist is Holiday Checklist 2: Self-Care To Dos Whilst Attending an Event with Chronic Illness. My favorite tip in this list is to set a timer to check in with how you’re feeling every hour. I need to remember this one since I usually get caught up in the activity and forget to check in with myself until I’m exhausted.

Her last list is for your supporters: Holiday Checklist 3 (For the Supporters): What You Can Do to Support Those with Chronic Illness

This list is great to give to your support person or to give you ideas of what help to ask for if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Pacing & The Power of Saying “No”

Kat Naish shared her post: 4 Tips For Surviving Christmas With MS. She writes about making a List of the absolute essentials you want to do and then not adding anything to the list. Then she encourages us to drop any ideas about the “perfect” holiday, since what’s most important is spending time with your people not creating exquisite decorations and food. Her third tip is Delegate. This can be done by asking another person for help or by ordering prepared food, so you don’t need to cook. (I believe her content is only available in Europe, not in the United States.)

Carole Griffitts shared her tip for having her grandchildren help her with kitchen tasks and setting the table. Not only does she get assistance, but she enjoys quality time with her grandchildren that way. You can even bake holiday desserts with your children and grandchildren if you’re up to it. If not, bakery desserts will be just as yummy with no stress.

Kat’s final tip is Say No. Yes, you want to do all the things, but you have to prioritize what activities are most important to you so that you can enjoy them the most and not crash. If you want to read Kat’s post, after you click on the link above chose “Europe” to get to her content.

Guests, Gifts, & More

Liz from Despite Pain shared two of her holiday blog posts with me. How to Have a Stress-Free Christmas contains 8 tips. My favorites have to do with not overbuying or overspending. It’s so tempting to want to lavish our loved ones with presents, but when we spend more than we can afford, we just increase our stress when the bills come in. She also has great ideas on managing guests, and meal prep.

The second post that Liz shared is How To Cut Down On The Cost of Christmas Gifts. If money is tight in your house, I definitely recommend you read this post. Liz has many great ideas for gifts that don’t cost an arm and a leg. I love her idea of looking for gifts all year long and buying them when they are on sale. It also helps to manage one’s money easier, if you purchase gifts over many months instead of in November/December.

Wrap-Up of Tips For Stress-Free Holidays

The top tip I have for you today, is when you make your lists of gifts and greeting cards, save them for the next year. I save my Holiday Control Journal because my recipes are there and all of my notes from previous years. It makes it so easy to remember. I also keep note of what didn’t work well or what recipe was a flop. No need repeating those failures. I hope this post helps you prepare better for the holiday season and allows you to enjoy more and stress less. Do you have any ideas we missed? Please share them below in the comments.

If books are on your gift list, you might want to check out my Bookshop Page. I’ll get a small commission if your purchase through my link. Your cost will not increase. I use any commissions to keep this blog running. Thank you! Till next time, Kathy

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By Kathryn

I'm a writer, disabled registered nurse, and former home school parent of 6 children ages 19 to 32. I'm also a domestic abuse survivor.


  1. Wow, so many great resources! These are all great and much-needed. I do find myself dreading parts of the holiday season now just because I know they will take so much out of me. I also wrote a post & article on managing the holidays with chronic illness: Managing Family Relationships During the Holidays (and Beyond) – that’s the toughest part for me – dealing with extended family members who just don’t “get it.”

    Thanks for collecting all these great tips!


    Live with ME/CFS

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