The Secret to Enjoying December – How to Prevent Holiday Burnout


I don’t know about you, but my palms start sweating with a simple glance at my December calendar.

Hosting friends and family, shopping, cleaning, cooking, baking, not to mention enjoying traditions such as The Nutcracker with my girls, are on tap.

And then there are what I call the “BLEH details”.

Doctor appointments, grocery shopping, and tooth flossing.

Is it just me or does tooth flossing seem like a giant waste of time?  I hate doing it.  I’m sorry.  I do it, I just hate it.


Before we all get heart palpitations over the frantic holiday pace, here’s an idea for slowing down to savor the season.

My secret to enjoying December

Last December I started a new habit—something that worked so well, I plan to keep the tradition.

As a mom of four, I stick with simple—and this is so simple, anyone can do it!  Here’s how to prevent holiday burnout before it starts.

        1. Grab a journal or notebook

Try to use one that you won’t lose so you can keep it for reference in the coming years!  Don’t think too hard about it though—swipe one of the kid’s unused composition notebooks if you have to.

        2. Write “December want-to’s” on one sheet and “December have-to’s” on the other. 

Map out traditions you want to establish, Good traditions don’t just “happen” without forethought!  Getting it all down on paper will help organize your calendar and plan accordingly. Get clear on what you want to do this season. Keeping Christmas Simple; how to plan intentional family activities is a short read that will help.  Select a simple Advent devotional to reflect on the meaning of the season.

        3. On the following pages, write down each date in December with 3-4 spaces underneath each day.

This is how you’ll be able to see where you have time and where you don’t.

        4. Pencil in mandatory appointments and upcoming events

Don’t forget doctor’s appointments, school programs, and visits to grandma’s house.

        5. On the next page, jot down January prep

We tend to forget that there is life after December because we’re so caught up in the holiday hustle.  But if we don’t plan for January and there are deadlines on the docket, we’ll enjoy the season even less!

        6. Fill in a tentative plan for each day

Now, it’s time to return to the dates and spaces and record what needs to happen.  After you see it on paper, pencil in some of those activities you really want to experience with your family.  This method gives a clear look at how much time you really have and exactly where you can fit in extra activities.

        7.  Pray about it

The older I get, the more I learn I am just beating the air with my fists when I don’t include God in my plans – even the small ones!  Before I start each day, I stop to pray over my list.  (I don’t always succeed at this – but it’s a goal of mine!)

If you do these 7 steps – even breaking them up into 7 nights – you will be ahead of the game! You will feel a sense of relief, having put thought into your Christmas activities.

My December “want to’s” may not look like yours. I want to bake Christmas cookies and deliver them to the neighbors, complete with caroling with the family. I want to finish my crafting projects for gifting.  I want to complete my shopping next week, wrap gifts, and most of all, I want to be like Mary and ponder the message of Christmas in my heart.

Click here to continue reading  the full devotion from on How to Prevent Holiday Burnout

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One Response

  1. I really like these ideas. We go on a 2 week vacation to Mexico at the end of November and then we come back and it’s Christmas season! That means I need to plan before we go on this trip like in late October, early November. I actually did make a list last year and then we had some family losses in October and I just was trying to survive life. However, I need to find that list and make it work for next year. I just don’t like all the stress and craziness. I prefer peace and joy.

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