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How to Have The MOST Stressful Christmas Ever! Episode 6

Two years ago some of our friends went on a trip together at the end of November.  On the drive home, we started talking about how much we loved Christmas and comparing Christmas traditions.  We decided to come up with a list of everything we wanted to do in December.  It was a combination of all of our traditions. Our list was titled “The Most Stressful Christmas To Do List.” At the end of December, it surprisingly wasn’t a stressful Christmas at all. It was actually a wonderful Christmas because we had planned ahead and made time for the things we wanted to do. Plus, it was fun to try new things.  This episode is a continuation of that list.  We hope you can make your own “Most Stressful Christmas To Do List”  from the ideas provided in this episode.  

Christmas should be a time of happiness, joy, generosity, and excitement, but often it is associated with anxiety, stress, and sometimes depression. Some people worry about money, about family, the commercialization of the holiday, and the need for the “perfect Christmas.”

Today we discuss some ways to make your Christmas a little less stressful and some new traditions you may want to add to your family’s holiday season.  

We talked about the importance of traditions with Niki Olsen on episode one and Christmas is a great time to start those.  We want you to remember that circumstances change and we have to be flexible with our traditions.  We also have to make sure the traditions are manageable.  Don’t do so many traditions that you don’t enjoy the holidays.   

Some traditions that Camille does and loves are “Christmas Adam” which is celebrated on December 23rd.  On “Christmas Adam” her family eats ribs for dinner and apple pie (think the Bible story here for it to make sense, it took Andrea a little effort to get it).  She also loves to get her family a puzzle to work on together, and they always watch While you were Sleeping, A Christmas Story, and It’s a Wonderful Life.  Andrea and I also added National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (not appropriate for young children) and Elf.  

Andrea loves going on hayrides and singing Christmas carols, doing the 12 Days of Christmas for a family needing some holiday cheer, and making homemade eggnog (recipe below).   

Beth loves doing secret santa for a family in need.  They also do a Christmas Eve breakfast where they invite people over who don’t have family in town.  All three of us enjoy acting out the Nativity on Christmas Eve and getting the kids Christmas Eve pajamas.  

Although Christmas is fun and full of traditions we have some hacks that may help it feel a little less stressful.  One helpful hack is to plan ahead; write everything down so you know what you need and want to do.  An app that Andrea uses to track gifts is called The Christmas List.  

Christmas List App

You can find it at the Apple app store (or click on the picture above.)  She also plans all of the things that The Elf on the Shelf will do for the whole month.  Camille suggested being intentional about traditions that you bring into your family.  She also started giving her kids only one gift and then they do a big family gift.  There are a ton of printables on Pinterest that you can print for free.  Everyone agreed that the more you make it about others, the better the holiday is.    

I’d Marry that: Food Edition Segment

Egg nog ice cream, peppermint cool whip, oreo truffles, chex party mix,

Giant Ginger Cookies

Giant Ginger Cookies

4 ½ c flour

4 t. Ground ginger

2 t.  Baking soda

1 ½ t. Cinnamon

1 t.  Ground cloves

¼ t. Salt

1 ½ c. shortening

2 c. sugar

2 eggs

½ c. molasses

¾ c. sugar (for rolling dough in)

Combine all dry ingredients.  In a stand mixer put shortening and 2 cups of sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and molasses.  Add flour mixture.

Shape dough into large balls.  Roll the dough in sugar.  Place 12 cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet.  

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 11-13 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned and tops are puffed.  Cool on cookie sheet for 2 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and let cool.

Oreo Truffles

    • 1 package (15.25 oz.) Oreos (any flavor, double stuffed or regular both work)
    • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
    • 12 oz. white melting chocolate (*Not chocolate chips, but high quality melting chocolate- I used Baker’s bars)
  • 6 oz. semi sweet melting chocolate for topping (Or sprinkles, or Oreo crumbles)

Place the Oreos (filling & all) in a food processor (in batches if necessary) and process until fine crumbs are formed and large chunks are gone.

Mix in the softened cream cheese until very well combined and the dough becomes sticky.

Roll about 1- 1 ½ tablespoons of dough into a ball and set aside on a plate or in a container that you can fit in the freezer. Freeze the balls for at least 30 minutes.

Baker’s chocolate bars melt really well in the microwave and are ideal for dipping. (Chocolate chips, not so much.) Place the white chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted.

Andrea’s AUSTRIAN Eggnog (not Danish)

1 gallon milk

5 small cartons whipping cream (whipped)

16 egg yolks

5 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

Beat powdered sugar and egg yolks together.  Set aside.  In a large pot (if you have a large double boiler, use it!  I make mine in a large electric roaster with an inch of water under the cooking pan.) Heat milk until almost boiling.  Then add egg and sugar mixture. Cook until eggs are cooked (I have no idea how hot this is– this is a FAMILY RECIPE PEOPLE!) Cool.  Add vanilla and whipped whipping cream. Mix all together.   DRINK AND ENJOY!

Mom Squad Challenge: Take some time off of social media to enjoy the holidays

2 Comment

  1. Thank you so much, Terrie, for listening and for posting! You bring such a common issue for empty nesters to light. I really think this is something that I would like to address in future episodes. I have had a few people ask about similar empty nester problems. We will try to address this issue and others in a future show. Thank you so much for your support and for the ideas!

  2. I loved this podcast. My favorite!! Ok, it’s the only one I’ve listened to.
    It made me laugh, and truthfully, shed a few tears.
    My question. What happens after it’s over? When the kids are gone, starting their own traditions? When there’s nothing to wake up to on Christmas morning? When a lifetime of traditions have played itself out?
    Beth mentioned planning, what makes us happy. Good idea. I can’t think of anything that trumps the past. I wonder how other “empty nesters’ have managed. I’d love to hear a few ideas.

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