A Stress Free Holiday To-Do List

My to-do list. 

It’s  a love/hate relationship that we have.

I speak in personification because my list takes on a life of its own, especially over the holidays.  I brain-dump all the things that have to be accomplished or “need” to be accomplished. The list grows and morphs to gigantic proportions.

In one way it feels relieving to put all the thoughts down in one place. 

But it is also overwhelming to see all the things I need to do all written in one place.  When I look at it all…filling up a page…I can tend to recoil from the magnitude of the list. 

Is Your To-Do List Stressing You Out?

To be honest, I have spent many decades (gasp) not being very kind to me.  I haven’t liked me and have felt that in order to deserve a place on this earth I needed to earn it.  If I did enough, I could feel ok about taking up space.  To see a need and meet it meant meeting this imaginary criteria I had unknowingly agreed to.  God couldn’t possibly love me for just ME.  

So as a young mom I felt like the more I did the more I might earn His approval.  The better I served the body or the world, the more points I would earn in the game of life.  

Less Stress for the Holidays

That is were my love for the to-do list came from.  I felt a need to accomplish in order to try and feel better about me.  Each check I made felt like a little more approval. 

But the crazy thing is this bottomless pit of trying to pleasing others was NEVER fulfilling.  No matter how long my list was or how many checks I was able to place on it, there would always be another list and another and another.  

The holidays are our premiere list making time.  It is the “making a list and checking it twice” time of year.  And lists are not inherently evil.  They can be super helpful and keep us on track.

But because it is that list making time of year I thought it was a great time to consider the list.  Is yours a tool that helps steer the rudder of your ship and get tasks accomplished?  Or is your list a yard stick that is being used to measure your self-worth?  Are you trying to be Super Woman?  Do you feel better about you only if you are accomplishing things.  

Less stress for the holidays

For years, at Christmas, I felt like I had to cook all the meals, purchase all the presents, host the parties, wrap the presents, decorate the house, serve the needy, minister to everyone under the sun, clean the house and the kids. All while homeschooling our children.

Do you see all those boxes being checked?  Check, check, check.

But here is the real truth.
I am one human being.
Jesus is the Savior.
I am not.

I can only do the best I can do and not one thing more.  Some days my best is amazing.  And some days my best is tolerable.  There are even occasionally days that my best stinks. 

I have learned a few things.  One is that I am approved of now and forever because of the blood of Jesus. He doesn’t determine my value and worth based on my performance.  

So now I have begun to look at the to-do list differently.  If my thinking begins to be unhealthy I stop and ask a few questions.  

  • Am I begin nice to me?  If not then I consider why.  I may be forgetting that I am a dearly loved child of God. 

  • Have I gotten my eyes off of my good Dad and have started focusing on other people?

  • Am I allowing myself to be overwhelmed by circumstance and a list instead of choosing the peace I have been offered by the Prince of Peace? 

This is going to be an amazing holiday.  We are offered peace. In fact we are offered “ALL joy and peace.”   

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the Holy Spirit.”

We can choose peace.  So this Christmas, instead of being ruled by our to-do list let’s purpose to walk in this amazing gift we have been offered by our good Dad…joy and peace.


In order to help you have the most peaceful holidays possible several writers have linked arms in a series called The Peaceful Holidays Series. We are all writing on similar topics each week. This week’s topic is Alleviating Stress. So if you enjoyed this article and would like to check out some other ones on the same topic click on the links below.

Janelle Esker from thepeacefulhaven.com shares an article about very practical steps for helping us focus on Jesus and the true meaning of the holiday! http://www.thepeacefulhaven.com/stress-less-christmas/

Jessica Herberger of celebratejoyeveryday.com shares this article to help us learn to simplify our lives during the busyness of this time of year. http://www.celebratejoyeveryday.com/simplify

Robin Evans from robineevan.com post puts our whiny tolerant culture in a fresh perspective. It gives us a great reminder of what a non-whiny Christmas can look like. http://robineevans.com/2018/11/29/how-to-have-a-less-whiny-christmas/

Each one of these women is an encouragement to me! I enjoy every piece I read from them and I am praying that you will be super-encouraged by them as well.



If you want to read more about having a peaceful holidays check out Decorating the Christmas Tree…the Fun and Easy Way.

Check our easy and delicious recipes. We are constantly cooking up new recipes on Instagram. You just never know what will be going on with our family! We would love for you to join us. It would be so fun to hear from you.