7 Tips For a Stress-Free Holiday Season

Change the way you approach the entire holiday season. Mighty Mommy shares 7 tips to take the hectic out of your holidays so you can enjoy more time with your family.


Cheryl Butler,
Episode #455

calm family thanksgiving

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Mother Teresa—“If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” It made such an impression on me that I printed it and had it made into a plaque that I hang in our kitchen. I love the message because I really do believe that we as parents can make the biggest impact on our kids' lives.

With Thanksgiving upon us, it also reminds me why I like to have such a big celebration each year—to give thanks for the gift of my family. Across the country, millions of people will be preparing a Thanksgiving feast for their friends and families. As lovely as this sounds, those of us that are busy—stuffing and roasting the turkey, rolling out pie crusts, polishing the silver (does anyone still do that!?), not to mention shopping for all that food and then going into a cleaning frenzy before our guests arrive—know that the holidays are wonderful but they sure are a lot of work!

This year you can change the way you approach Thanksgiving and the entire holiday season by choosing to stress less and enjoy the process more. Mighty Mommy shares seven tips to take the hectic out of your holidays so you can enjoy more time with your family.

Tips For a Stress-Free Holiday Season

  1. Tip #1: Include Your Family
  2. Tip #2: Split Your Shopping Trips
  3. Tip #3: Keep It Simple
  4. Tip #4: Maintain Daily Rituals
  5. Tip #5: Practice Holiday Meditations
  6. Tip #6: Keep Track of Holiday Hacks
  7. Tip #7: Count Your Blessings

Let’s look at each one a bit closer.

Tip #1: Include Your Family

When I have a big project at work, our team gathers in advance to set our goals and assign individual tasks. Planning and prepping for a big family holiday such as Thanksgiving is no different. Set a time when your family can get together to discuss the menu as well as brainstorm other aspects of the day such as shopping, decorations, activities, etc.

See also: 6 Ways to Improve Family Communication

In our family, I used to be the designated holiday planner but now one of my daughters (a recent grad as a graphic designer) has gladly taken on this position because she enjoys putting her artistic touch on everything from the menu to the tablescape

Half of my eight kids participate in our Thanksgiving planning meeting. Believe me, not all of them are jumping up and down to sign up for jobs like peeling potatoes or helping to clean bathrooms before company arrives, so I try to make sure they all have input in picking tasks they enjoy doing as well as fit what they're capable of contributing. By including my family in the planning process, we are all on the same page as far as what expectations are for tasks and responsibilities, we stay organized, and I don’t have to shoulder the entire holiday by myself. In addition, it teaches my kids how to participate in a big family gathering and it’s a chance to work together as a team.

Tip # 2: Split Your Shopping Trips

One of the most daunting parts of hosting a huge meal like Thanksgiving is the shopping. A way to keep this more manageable is to split your shopping list into two trips. The first trip, which ideally would be done a week before Thanksgiving (when grocery stores get mobbed), is for nonperishables—canned goods, baking items such as flour and sugar, spices, paper goods, anything that doesn't need to be fresh. (But do plan ahead on your turkey!) Then make a second smaller and easier trip the week of Thanksgiving to grab things like fruit, salad fixings, cream, etc. Breaking the shopping down can ease your burden and help to keep things in your kitchen streamlined.

Tip #3: Keep It Simple

I am a complete Food Network junkie. I love lounging on a rainy Saturday afternoon in front of the TV to watch all the latest cooking shows where I can grab ideas so that I can surprise my family with new recipes and baked goodies. When it comes to parties and holidays I tend to want to pull out all the stops with an impressive spread that will keep my family talking for weeks. That’s great if you have lots of time, energy, and money, but it can also raise your anxiety levels when you have the added pressure of trying to pull off a showstopper of a meal. Instead, try to keep it simple. You can still serve a tasty feast even if you eliminate some of the bells and whistles.

Stick with recipes that have fewer ingredients and fewer steps to make. If you have go-to recipes that you know your family loves, you can even modify these with a hint of fresh herbs or real whipped cream on a dessert to make it a little more special without adding too much extra fuss.


The Quick and Dirty Tips Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.