The holiday songs we hear on the radio and store speakers as we shop say this is the most wonderful time of the year, the happiest season of all. And, for many people, it is!

The Wonderland Escape

Just look at all the colorful decorations that delight our senses and delicious food that reminds us of special memories. We enjoy crisp air, cozy sweaters, fires, and cheerful music. It’s no wonder people can’t wait for the holidays for a break from life!

The holidays let us escape from our daily realities of being overwhelmed, stressed, and busy to celebrate life and enjoy good food and laughter with family and loved ones!

For a few days in December, our souls can rest.

Holiday Stress

However, the holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year because of the added activities and responsibilities piled onto our already busy schedule.

What started as Happy Holidays becomes a grueling marathon to the finish line.

And the holidays don’t pause for stressful events, either. Illnesses, injuries, strained relationships, money problems, or adjusting to massive changes aren’t put on hold so Santa can make his list and check it twice to see who’s been naughty or nice.

The happiness of the holidays can collide with sadness and devastating loss. Managing the holidays while dealing with setbacks and disappointments can be painful and tricky.

Hallmark Magic…

Here’s the good news: the holidays don’t have to wear you out physically or emotionally. And even if you love Hallmark Christmas movies (and who doesn’t), you don’t have to experience the Hallmark Channel version of the holidays for your Christmas to be magical.

Your Christmas

You can still decorate, host family, cook, entertain, and enjoy the season. It’s possible to embrace the hope and true meaning of the season while simultaneously managing significant loss.

Your holidays might not look like anyone else’s; it’s okay if what fills your holidays with hope and joy doesn’t look like what others are experiencing.

Give yourself the gift of focusing on your unique needs and creating a holiday that makes the most sense under your circumstances.

Gifts For You

Here are a few more gifts to give yourself while you’re at it: let go of guilt, unrealistic expectations, toxic fantasies, and illusions; unburden your heart and soul of all the “should haves” and “if only” chatter in your mind.

Perhaps a good place to start is with forgiving yourself and others.


The angel told Mary to name her son “Jesus” because He would save His people from their sins. That sounds like forgiveness to me, doesn’t it to you? If Jesus doesn’t condemn you, why should you?

Unburdening yourself from the crushing weight of guilt, shame, bad decisions, failed relationships, and mistakes helps you to put happiness back into your holidays.

Create a holiday experience that heals your heart and nurtures your mind, body, and soul, and adopt a pace that helps you to manage everything you have going on, so when you say, “Merry Christmas,” you mean it because it comes from a place of inner peace instead of chaos.


Let this season be a reflection of a life that you are intentionally acknowledging and living in the present moment. Do you have abundance with your finances, time, and energy this year? Then, let the season reflect it. But if you’ve been weathering a big, dark storm this year, you have permission to adapt the holidays to accommodate your needs and your family’s needs.


Try not to add too many unnecessary struggles or demands this holiday season.

It makes no sense to go through the holidays worried, anxious, or stressed. In fact, do your best to lay your burdens down; there’s no reason to struggle and fret during the holidays.

The Gifts That Aren’t Wrapped

Christmas is a time to slow down and reflect, to become aware of the precious gifts we have that we will never find under a tree, and to celebrate family, loved ones, and the privilege of using our life to make the world a better place.

Rise above the hustle and bustle of the holidays by focusing on these things to manage the days ahead with grace and peace instead of being stressed and overwhelmed.

This year, let the miracle of the season transform your burdens into blessings as you strive to unlock your best life.

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