You can love the holidays, and still admit that Christmas can be a stressful time. There is much to be merry and bright about, but all that festive cheer comes with a lot of responsibilities. Christmas morning means dealing with a lot of commotion, bickering children, wrapping paper and boxes all over, and on top of all that, there still needs to be a breakfast on the table. The rest of the day is filled with family and friends and commitments. Fun, of course, but all of it can add up to be a burden. That’s why it can be helpful to plan some steps for simplifying the Christmas stress ahead of time, so there’s more time to be spent soaking up the memories.
Christmas Morning Breakfast
One of my family’s favorite ways to make the morning of the 25th a little smoother has always been a delicious breakfast casserole. How does this meal make things easier? It can be made ahead of time, and just tossed in the oven for a while in the morning! This minimizes time spent in the kitchen cooking, so time can be spent by the tree. (Keep reading below to find my mom’s recipe.)
I have an older brother, so our family is no stranger to Christmas morning arguments. It helps us to have a different wrapping paper for each family member, and to only wrap their gifts in that specific paper. This helps avoid confusion over whose is whose. It’s always worked best for our family to go one-by-one with presents, starting with the youngest. If there’s a system that works best for your kids, though, stick with the tried and true!
If your kids have a tough time waiting until everyone else is awake for presents, consider setting this rule: kids have to wait to wake the parents for presents until it’s light out (or you can set a specific time), but they can open their stockings as soon as they wake up. This would always tide us over and allow us to give our parents a few more hours of sleep.
Moving into the rest of the day, the obligations often involve a lot of people, food prep, and rushing around. One of my best tips for hosts that feel overwhelmed is to make the meal a potluck. This generally means the hosts prepares an entrée, and everyone coming brings a side dish. This takes a lot of pressure off the host and making one dish isn’t usually too much to ask of your guests. To make sure no two guests bring the same dish, consider emailing everyone an assigned dish, and allow them to make and bring their own take on it. Trading assigned dishes can be allowed if someone has a specialty. This makes for a delicious variety! Also, it’s okay to say no to hosting. Try not to let anyone make you feel obligated to have a lot of people over. That should always be your choice to make.
Traditions New and Old
Keeping up traditions of the past is important, but not every single tradition that we grew up with needs to be carried on. If there’s a part of your Christmas traditions that always ends up causing more stress than fun, it’s okay to replace it with your own tradition. Making my own traditions, as well as carrying on the beloved ones that my parents always did, is something I’m looking forward to, for when I one day start my own family.
It helps me and my family avoid some Christmas stress to remember to embrace breaks. Not every minute of the day had to be all about the holiday. Remember the daily rituals that you like to do each day. Maybe that’s journaling, or yoga, or a walk outside. Carving time for those things can really help lower stress. It might seem impossible to include those things on such a busy day but thinking ahead and letting your family know your plans can make it doable.
To help ensure a fun and less stressful holiday, try asking each family member what they want to do to celebrate Christmas Day, and then doing those things while narrowing down on other activities. Limit commitments, and don’t be afraid to say “no” to invitations. There might be an endless list of activities that you want to include in your holiday – do the things that you and your family will truly enjoy is what matters most.
I hope you and your family have a low-stress and Merry Christmas, Reader!Print
- Butter half the loaf of bread and place, butter side down, in a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Brown the sausage in a cast iron skillet.
- Place the sausage on the bread, and add half a pound of shredded cheese, covering the sausage and bread.
- Beat the eggs and milk and add salt and pepper to taste. Butter the rest of the bread and place it, butter side up, on top of the mixture.
- Carefully (it tends to spill over the sides) cover with the egg/milk mixture. Smother with remaining cheese.
- Cover the baking dish, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours. The next morning, bake at 400 degrees for at least one hour. It’s not a low-fat breakfast, but it is filling and delicious, and festive for a special holiday.
Remove the casserole lid to bake the casserole. For the final 15 minutes of baking, place foil over the casserole dish to avoid burning the layer of cheese on the top.
For a fun side dish, create a Christmas tree out of your favorite fruits.