10 Tips for Staying Sane this Holiday Season

As another year comes to a close, we want to be among the voices who are encouraging you to slow down and consider how you can spend this holiday season in a way that nourishes and sustains you. It's important that you take some time to check in and assess where you're at (emotionally, mentally, spiritually) and how you're doing given all that's arisen over this past year. Getting a sense of how you are doing and what your capacity is will help you to determine your personal limits and boundaries when it comes to engaging in holiday festivities. What is your soul longing for and needing in this dark time of the year?

The collective pace has increased even in the midst of the ongoing COVD-19 pandemic, so more folks will be out and about, traveling and visiting loved ones. This time of the year is associated with a lot of movement and outer stimulation, so for many the pressure to jump back into the consumer-driven culture is strong. Yet the hustle bustle of the holiday season starkly contrasts the essence of Winter, which is reflected to us in nature. It's a time to slow down and turn inward.

Have you ever considered that YOU get to decide to what extent you want to engage in mainstream cultural traditions? That you can re-invent your own traditions or even explore the journey of reclaiming ancestral traditions? We want to remind you that your well-being matters and that there are traditions older than consumer hallmark holidays that are aligned to nature's season rhythms. Check out our Winter Solstice blogpost here to learn more.

Otherwise, if you plan to engage in the festivities of the holidays, here are a few helpful tips for staying sane:

1. The holidays are only crazy if you want them to be.

The holiday season comes with a ton of pressure - cooking, baking, holiday gatherings, shopping, outings, parties, family visits, decorations, religious celebrations, finding all the perfect gifts, work obligations, squeezing in time for self-care….

Geez, I’m tired just thinking about all of it. I offer a revolutionary act: choose to not participate in the crazy this year. Nature shows us that winter is the time to slow down, to rest, to seek all things warm and cozy. The holidays can keep you busier than a one-armed paper hanger with an itch if you let them, but you can slow down whenever you’re ready.

Maybe your holiday cookies are store-bought this year. Maybe you only make it to one holiday party. Maybe the tree doesn’t get decorated. Maybe you spend your Saturday laying under the blankets, snuggled up with the kiddos, your partner, or your pets. Maybe self-care is sitting by a fire with some hot chocolate instead of decorating the front porch. Maybe the holidays are a time of grieving or grief remembered and you don’t want to participate in any of it.

It’s all okay, whatever you choose. Slow down, take care of yourself, and find whatever joy you can in the slowdown.

2. You don’t have to go into debt trying to prove you love someone.

I love giving gifts. It’s one of my love languages. I want the people in my life to know how much they mean to me. But spending money isn’t the point, and a gift isn’t necessarily some expensive material thing. Your time is a gift. A home-cooked meal is a gift. A game night with the family is a gift. A card is a gift. You can show the people in your life that you care without breaking the bank or racking up credit card debt you’ll spend the next 11 months paying off. Consumerism has poisoned the holiday fun, but huzzah! We can choose not to participate in the drive to debt.

Make holiday cards filled with ooey-gooey love notes and mail them to everyone. Bake some holiday goodies and leave them on doorsteps. Sit by a fire and tell your favorite stories. Play a game or two with the kids. If you live alone, set up some virtual or in-person dates to craft together.

The Grinch was right. The holidays don’t come from a store. We don’t need to spend crazy amounts of money to prove anything. Love is really all we need.

Cookies don’t hurt, though.

3. “I got you a gift. It’s not much, but…”

If you give me a tin of cookies you spent your time, energy, ingredients, and love to bake, I’ll be as happy as a clam at high water. Hell, if you give me a hug, I’ll be over the moon. Again, spending money isn’t the point of gift giving, so don’t start off diminishing your gift with the “it’s not much, but…” mindset.

Whatever you’re giving, from baked goodies to homemade crafts to the most beautiful item you could purchase in a store, it’s really the thought that counts. It’s amazing, you thought of me, you gave a token of your love and appreciation. Whatever it is, it is EVERYTHING.

4. If you shop, shop small.

Bezos might be sitting pretty on the billions he made during the COVID pandemic, but the mom-and-pop shops are barely staying afloat. If you can realistically afford to shop for gifts this holiday season, consider shopping small - small businesses, local restaurants, Etsy shops, and local artists and craft-people. Purchase class passes to your favorite gym or fitness studio. Buy gift certificates from your favorite bakery to stuff in a stocking or two. Connect with a local financial coach or life coach and see if you can pre-pay for a session for a pal. Check out your local independent bookstore for new reads. Head to a farmer’s market for the ingredients for a home-cooked meal.

Bezos has enough money. Let’s invest in our communities this season.

Some of Our Favorite Small Owned Business:


  1. Poeta Goddess - Art prints, calendars, notebooks & stickers | Indigenous-owned & made

  2. Permacrafters - Online sustainable living courses

  3. Indigefemme - Handmade earrings and stickers | Indigenous-owned & made

  4. The Woman Who Married A Bear - Northsea Apothecary + Book: Compassion in Crisis

  5. Xalish Medicines - Plant Magik + Earth Medicines | Indigenous-owned & made


  1. Welcome Wellbeing - Acupuncture, Alexander Technique & Wellness | NC-based

  2. Handewa Farm - Organic hand-raised hemp products infused with CBD oil for health and beauty | Indigenous/Black owned | NC-based

  3. Boomerang Bookshop - mobile bookstore | NC-based

  4. Freehand Market - Ethical and eco friendly home, gift, and women's boutique | NC-based

  5. Wallflour Bakery - our favorite baked goodies! Gluten-free & Vegan options

  6. Rise & Flow - Black-owned yoga studio

  7. Yoke & Abundance - One-on-One coaching for Women

  8. Dame's Chicken and Waffles - Southern friend perfection meets sweet European decadence | NC-based & Black-owned

  9. By The Brook - Handcrafted Tempeh | NC-based

5. You don’t have to participate in any holiday tradition that leaves you broke, overwhelmed, or exhausted.

This one bears repeating aloud. Say it with me now. You don’t have to participate in ANY holiday tradition that leaves you broke, overwhelmed, or exhausted.