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Holiday Stress? 7 Big Firsts and How to Come Out on Top

Holiday Stress? 7 Big Firsts and How to Come Out on Top

Holiday stress takes all shapes, but when you add a major life change, you can face a whole new level of stress. But don’t worry, you’ve got this.

These helpful tips will prepare you to navigate your big firsts and focus on the things that really matter, like spending time with family and enjoying the holiday season. They will also help you reduce stress by saving a little time and money. You don’t have to break yourself mentally and financially to celebrate traditions your whole family will cherish.

First Event with Your Significant Others’ Friends

Meeting new people is always daunting, even more so when it’s a special occasion. Whether it’s Friendsgiving, an ugly Christmas sweater party or New Year’s Eve, the best you can do is be as prepared as possible. Try to enjoy yourself and focus on how excited you are to celebrate this holiday season with your main squeeze.

  • Plan your outfit ahead of time. Get some details on the occasion so you don’t feel over- or underdressed.
  • If your party is in someone’s home, bring a small gift like a bottle of wine or flowers. Also check with your significant other to see if there’s any food or drink you’re expected to contribute.

First Holiday with the In-Laws

Being a visitor at someone’s holiday celebration can bring on some nerves, but officially becoming part of the family can raise the stakes. Here are some ways you can make the transition smoother:

  • Bring some of your own traditions to your new family. Whether it’s a dish your family makes or a game they like to play, your new family will appreciate the effort.
  • Discuss how you’re spending the holidays in advance. Are you splitting your time between the families equally for all holidays? Figure out your plan based on your priorities as a couple, and share how you plan on juggling your commitments.

First Time Hosting Thanksgiving

Even if you’re a pro cook and/or host, putting on the year’s biggest feast can be daunting. Try these steps to lighten the load:

  • Be realistic about your budget. In the end, no one is going to judge you for having one pie option instead of three.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s completely reasonable to ask others to bring sides or drinks. Ask the bakers to bring dessert to really add to the variety.
  • Remember to thaw the turkey! Most birds take at least a day.
  • Give yourself more than a  day to do everything. Set aside one day for planning your menu and shopping list, one day for cleaning, one day for shopping, and one day for cooking/setting up.
  • You could also consider letting someone else do the cooking. A wide variety of grocery stores and restaurants provide fully cooked holiday meals. You just have to know the number of people you need to feed. Make sure to call with plenty of advance notice, so you can reserve your meal before they run out.

First Christmas in a New Home

For your first big holiday in a new home, you may feel pressure to go bigger and better than ever before. But remember, new traditions don’t have to be elaborate to be memorable.

  • Something as simple as making homemade ornaments can commemorate your first year in the new house. If everyone in the family enjoys this, you’ve got yourself a new tradition!
  • If you’re stressing about fitting in both a housewarming and holiday gathering, combine them. Everyone’s busy during this time, and would love to celebrate with you, but one event will put less stress on everyone!
  • If you’re not fully unpacked yet, celebrate your holiday with a living room sleepover/campout. Have some food delivered, and you’ve started a fun tradition you can laugh about in the future.

First Christmas with Your New Baby or Grandbaby

Baby’s first Christmas! So exciting and so … OK, let’s be real, stressful.

  • Skip the gifts the baby will outgrow quickly and probably not remember. You will cherish the pictures and video more.
  • Write the baby a letter. This is a tradition you can carry on throughout his or her childhood, and then pass the letters on at high school graduation.
  • If you can’t make every event or can’t stay long, it’s OK. People understand that you’re busy and sleep deprived. Do what’s best for you, and that may be staying in and relaxing with your baby.

Their First Holiday Break from College

You’re so proud of your child who went off to college, survived the first semester and made it home for the holidays. It’s so great to have the family together, but things are different now, and that could cause some tension. Help everyone breathe a little easier agreeing on some guidelines.

  • Give your children space but keep traditions alive. Of course they want to see their friends and reconnect, but let them know what family activities they will be expected to attend.
  • Agree on a curfew at the beginning of the holiday break. They may have done whatever they wanted at a college, but this is still your house. If you don’t want a group of young adults waking up the whole house at 4 a.m., it’s best to agree to some house rules you can all live with.

First Holiday Season Without a Loved One
The first holiday without a loved one is hard, and it’s tempting to isolate yourself, but reaching out is known to give you more comfort. Here are just a few ways to do that.

  • Honor your loved one’s memory by making his or her recipes, throwing a party, telling stories about them, or writing a letter.
  • Seek advice from someone who’s been through loss and how that impacts the holidays.
  • Make your plans in advance so you don’t have to worry about being alone on the holidays. Your traditions may change, and if new friends or family have invited you to their celebrations, give it a chance. If you feel awkward, don’t return to that celebration next year.
  • Avoid places that might make you feel sad.
  • Try not to feel guilty. It’s okay to laugh and still enjoy the holiday season.


Take a deep breath. You got this. No matter what firsts you’re going through this holiday season, the tips above will help you through.

And as you experience new firsts, like having a baby, buying a home or paying for college*, WoodmenLife is here for you. We provide life insurance and retirement products that help your family protect the lifestyle and traditions you’re building. Contact your local WoodmenLife Representative to find out more.



* Securities are offered through Woodmen Financial Services, Inc. (WFS), 1700 Farnam Street, Omaha, NE 68102, 877-664-3332, member FINRA/SIPC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society (collectively “WoodmenLife”). Securities other than the WoodmenLife Variable Annuity are issued by companies that are not affiliated with WoodmenLife. This material is intended for general use with the public. WFS is not undertaking to provide investment advice for any individual or any individual situation, and you should not look to this material for any investment advice. WFS has financial interests that are served by the sale of these products or services.

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