‘Tis the season … the holidays are here! Are you ready for this—or are you feeling like it’s all going to be over before you know it?

With the constant rush that comes this time of year, a meaningful holiday season might seem more like a dream than a reality.

Decorating your house for the holidays and buying the perfect gifts while rushing around from festive activity to festive activity can certainly take over. Meanwhile, the more meaningful moments of the season can easily get pushed aside.

We’re talking about those special times that you know you want for yourself and your family—but inadvertently forego as a result of a full December calendar and a hundred holiday to-dos.

This season, we’re here to inspire you to create a meaningful holiday season for yourself and those closest to you. With less time this year between Thanksgiving and the end of the year, it’s more important than ever to slow down, plan well, and create special memories.

We’re kicking off the month with our top tips to help you do just that! Let’s get started.

1. Envision your most meaningful holiday season

The biggest reasons you tend to feel more stressed around the holidays are unrealistic expectations, trying to make everything perfect, and the frenzy of trying to get too much done.

Your holidays don’t have to be Norman Rockwell painting. This just isn’t possible! Instead of focusing on trying to make things perfect, focus more on how you want to feel—throughout the season and by the end of it.

The joyful feeling you get by doing things you love, being around those you care about, and doing good for others all make for a meaningful holiday season.

2. Identify what’s most important

A meaningful holiday season doesn’t mean you have to do every single little thing. Family and friends may all want you to participate in their traditions, but take a moment before responding to make sure you’re prioritizing what’s most important to you.

Forget about trying to please everyone—and be sure to let go of activities on your calendar that aren’t truly important to you and your family. There’s only so much time in the day!

3. Take a breath and slow down

This is the hardest part. How can you be joyful if you feel like you’re letting others down or running behind on your list? Say this next phrase out loud to yourself – “It’s okay to say no.” Feel a little better?

Give yourself room to breathe throughout the season. Trying to fill up every moment doesn’t leave you room to really enjoy and find meaning in those moments.

Instead of committing to dozens of projects throughout the season, take a day off just to spend with your kids. No real plans, just quality time. Schedule in some things, but leave space to slow down and enjoy the season.

4. Be intentional with your time

Taking charge of the holiday season helps you relax more and makes it more meaningful. But how do you do this? The magic is in the planning. Be intentional with your time. List all the tasks you need to accomplish. Then, break those tasks into manageable pieces.

For example, holiday cards might involve taking a family photo, ordering the cards, buying stamps, and addressing each card. Simply add each smaller task to your planner.

Suddenly, your holiday checklist doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Plus, when you schedule in everything, you know exactly what time you have remaining and you can better prioritize what to do with it.

5. Check-in regularly

Throughout the holiday season, take time to check-in regularly. Stay on track and on top of your holiday goals—and make sure you’re living out your vision of the season—by checking in on your to-do list and planner each week and each day. This will help take away much of your stress and the random chaos.

On another note: Check in with your loved ones and share what you’re up to and laugh at whatever may have gone wrong. You don’t have to wait for the big days to connect!

6. Be present and celebrate!

Finally, let go and enjoy yourself! Don’t worry about perfection. You’re not going to find it, after all. Embrace your loved ones, help a stranger, watch a child’s eyes light up over a simple gift, and remember the true meaning of the season. It’s not all about the food, the gifts, or the decorations.

It’s about taking a moment to be grateful for who’s in your life and what you have. It’s about creating memories and experiences you’ll cherish. Remember to make the holiday season meaningful and come out of it feeling exactly like you want to.

At Day Designer, we want to help you have the most meaningful holiday season yet. Try our planning system for free to makeover your holidays.