Connecting During the Holidays

November 10, 2023 · by Heidi Stewart

The Holidays Are Here!

And with that, it’s time for the busy and joyful season to commence! Baked goods, yummy candles, and all the cozy things are hallmarks of the season and ours for the enjoying. But with this season often comes some other, less desirable, hallmarks. Whether you’re hosting the family over at your house, or organizing a church-wide celebration, or toting your family from house to house for different Christmas parties, these few months can be some of the busiest all year. Gift buying can be a source of financial stress for many families at this time as well; wanting to bless people but needing to be mindful of a budget can make tensions run high.

Here are some ways to connect, slow down, and make this season special while combating some of the stress you may be feeling.

Put Less Pressure On Yourself

You’re getting your annual Thanksgiving tablescape ready for hosting, going over which recipes you’re going to make and— OH! You need to remember to deep clean behind your oven before your guests arrive. From one perfectionist to another, put less pressure on yourself. Trust me, the turkey will still taste delicious even if all your baseboards aren’t perfectly steamed and polished. This isn’t a license to be sloppy, just a license to put priority on what matters the most. If you need extra hands getting things ready, ask for help! Sometimes we feel pressure to “do it all” and be the hostess with the mostest, when really, half the fun of the holidays is togetherness anyway.

Get Creative

The expenses during this season can accumulate very, very quickly— decorations, gifts, parties, food, travel, etc. Sometimes trying to work within a set budget can be frustrating. This is where you can exercise your creative muscles! There are some things that just cost money, plain and simple. But in most cases, there are ways to cut costs to create more margin for all the other things you want to do. Pinterest can be super helpful for cost effective ways to make the holidays special. Below are some ideas in no particular order, just small things to make the season special without spending an arm and a leg.

  1. Natural decor. Bring in some fall foliage, pine tree clippings (you can get these for free from Lowe’s or Home Depot - just ask), pinecones, tall grass-like plants for your porch, etc. Decorations can get expensive, especially when buying at the beginning of the season.

  2. DIY. This year is my son’s first Christmas and the Boujee mom inside of me wants to buy all the things to make this one special for him. Instead of buying a custom ornament from Etsy, one budget-friendly swap we are making is doing a handprint salt dough ornament. There are plenty of ideas on Pinterest for taking old ornaments and revamping them with different ribbons or mod podge. If you’re feeling bored with your old ornaments, instead of buying all new matching sets, maybe look for a way to upcycle what you already have.

  3. Create traditions centered around time together. Maybe it’s the annual Christmas light drive or a hot cocoa bar at Grandma’s house— whatever your family might enjoy. These traditions have very little to do with cost and the most to do with spending time together.

  4. Gift from the heart. It can be exciting to purchase a big, expensive gift for someone but unrealistic to do that for everyone on your list. One thing that has helped me be a better gift giver is finding one small thing that I *know* they’ll like, and including something that I’ve either made or something that made me think of them for a personal touch. Consider that person’s hobbies and lifestyle. Again, Pinterest is a great resource for this!

Make Time for What Matters Most

There are plenty of demands on your time these days and the holidays are no exception. Parties, Friendsgiving, conferences, church events...

Don’t be afraid to forego some of these activities or take a smaller role in them so that the important things don’t suffer. Your time with the Lord, your time with family, your Bible study student that you’re teaching— these are moments that you don’t ever get back. If you decide to just bring a store-bought pie to the party instead of baking an artisan cherry dish from scratch, that’s okay! And also, if baking fancy dishes is your way of showing love, by all means, do it!

Prioritize the people in your life, and less of the “stuff”. Put less pressure on yourself to make everything “perfect”. Everyone will forget about the trendy gift guides, but laughter around a table is a surefire way to make memories — even if the table has a simple centerpiece and everyone ate off of 25¢ paper plates.

Heidi Stewart

About Heidi Stewart

Heidi Stewart is from Del City, Oklahoma, where she and her husband serve in music ministry and as youth workers alongside some of the best people in the world. She has a passion to educate, inspire, and help others reach their full potential through mentoring and discipleship. Her heart’s desire is to live a purposeful life, giving glory to Jesus in all of it, by serving the Kingdom with excellence. Follow Heidi on Instagram at @heidistewarttt