10 Things to Remove from the Holidays to Enjoy Them More


The holiday season, with all its joy, often brings a host of expectations and excesses. While it’s certainly a time for celebration, all of the added pressures can sometimes diminish our enjoyment.

As Rachel Cruze said, “Sometimes doing less really is doing more. Remember: it’s okay to say no to some things to be able to give your full yes to others. Skipping that one holiday open house to be more present with your kids is okay!”

So, in the spirit of embracing a more fulfilling and intentional holiday experience, here are ten things to consider removing from your holiday traditions:

1. Overspending

Consumer culture pushes us to equate holiday joy with spending. But they are not the same. Challenge this notion by setting a realistic budget and sticking to it.

The best gifts often aren’t material anyway. They are found in shared experiences and heartfelt gestures.

2. Unreasonable Expectations

The pursuit of a ‘perfect’ holiday is a myth that can lead to disappointment.

Embrace imperfections and remember that joy (and sometimes the best memories) often lie in the unplanned and spontaneous moments. Still to this day, one of the holiday experiences our kids talk about most was the time we stuck in Detroit and spent a night in a hotel eating pizza (without luggage). Far from perfect in the moment, but wonderfully memorable today.

3. Overeating

The holidays are known for indulgence, but overeating can lead to discomfort and health issues and an overall down feeling.

Enjoy your favorite holiday treats in moderation and listen to your body’s signals.

4. Overdrinking

The temptation to overindulge in alcohol during the holidays is common, but it often leads to next-day regrets, poor health, and missed moments.

Embrace moderation or delightful non-alcoholic alternatives to stay present and enjoy each holiday moment fully.

If you need inspiration, Courtney Carver wrote a powerful guest post on this blog years ago about what happened in her life when she gave up alcohol. Read it here: 7 Things I Learned When I Stopped Drinking Alcohol

5. Overcommitment

Saying ‘yes’ to every invitation can leave you feeling drained. Prioritize events that are most meaningful to you and politely decline others.

Quality over quantity ensures you enjoy each event more fully.

6. Comparing with Others

Comparisons rob joy all year long. But that robbery can be even worse when spending time with family. And even in the best families, social media can amplify feelings of inadequacy.

Focus on your unique holiday experience rather than comparing it to the highlight reels of others.

7. Self-Gifting

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday sales and start buying gifts for ourselves. Remember, the spirit of the season is about giving to others. Refrain from self-gifting and focus on the joy of giving.

When you refrain from self-gifting, you give yourself the opportunity the appreciate gifts from others even more. And the benefits can also be felt in your savings account.

8. Neglecting Self-Care

The hustle of the season can also sometimes lead us to neglect our own needs.

Make time for self-care activities that rejuvenate you—be it a quiet evening, a winter walk, or simply a moment of solitude. And if this entry following #7 seems odd… self-care doesn’t have to include buying yourself something.

9. Stressful Traditions

It is true that not all traditions contribute positively to our holiday experience. If a tradition causes more stress than joy, it’s okay to let it go or modify it. Focus on activities that bring genuine happiness to you and your loved ones.

10. Holding onto Unforgiveness

The holiday spirit is a perfect backdrop for forgiveness and reconciliation. Let go of past grievances and open your heart to the healing that comes from mending relationships.

The holidays are a time to reflect on what truly matters—faith, love, gratitude, and the joy of being with those we care about.

By choosing to remove elements that detract from these essentials, we can create a holiday season that is not only more enjoyable but also more meaningful. And doesn’t that, my friends, sound wonderful!

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