Ready or not, we’re heading full speed ahead into the thick of a time that’s ripe with high expectations for family gatherings, glad tidings, and good cheer. But for most of us, instead of sipping hot cocoa around a roaring fire with our smiling families like a Norman Rockwell painting, the holidays can bring us face-to-face with crippling expectations and overwhelming anxiety. I’m here to let you in on a secret: it doesn’t have to be that way. Today I’ve got five tips for you to make this a grace- and peace-filled holiday season to remember.

Root Deep

In Luke 10, Martha complained her sister wasn’t helping her with the practical demands of the day. I wonder if the Martha of 2016 would be stressed to get her Pinterest inspired gingerbread house just so, her holiday season defined by burden and feelings of less than and not enough. “But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.’”

It’s tempting to be anxious and worried about many things, especially with the added pressure of seeing family members you may not see any other time of the year. But let’s decide right now to choose the good portion, and root deep into Him for a solid foundation during the swirling craziness of the season. We can do all things with Christ (Phil 4:13). That includes making it through the holidays without falling into a holly-daze. Let’s keep our gaze on the One who this season is all about and know for certain that because of him, we are already enough—no gingerbread houses required.

Let it be Easy

Brace yourselves. Now it’s time for a little bit of tough love with a challenging question (only because I know you can take it): how are you overcomplicating the holidays? You’ll often hear me telling my coaching clients that every time we say yes to one thing, we’re actually say no to something else. For example, when you go to the holiday party you have absolutely no desire to attend, you say no to a relaxing night watching that Christmas movie you’ve waited 365 days to watch, snuggled under a blanket with a bowl of popcorn, your favorite PJs, and a friend—human or furry.

We get to make the choice to either step in or step out of the holiday rat race. What will you decide to do? May I encourage you to simplify? Stop overcomplicating the season by saying yes to the things that drain you and instead, create margin for the things that truly matter and are a priority to you.

Don’t Coast on Empty

Speaking of doing things that drain you, let’s face it: life in general is pretty draining these days, but there’s something extra exhausting about the holidays. Between all the obligations, the errands, and the general hustle-bustle, it’s pretty easy to find ourselves depleted. You have to get intentional about refueling yourself, especially during this season.

If you’re drained, you’ll have nothing to give anybody else. Take a deep breath, get still, and answer this without hesitating: what is something you love to do that lights you up? That first thing that just popped into your mind? Do that thing. Get our your calendar right this minute and book a time to do it. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. Something as simple as a 30-minute candlelit soak in the bath could do the trick. So could curling up with a good book and a cuppa tea, slinging some paint on a canvas with music blaring, or bundling up in layer upon layer and taking a stroll sans electronic devices to silently savor the nip in the air. Only you know what lights you up. Get intentional about deciding what that thing is—and then go do it.

Drop the Expectations

I’m convinced that if we could learn to live life without expectations we would be so much happier. Every year I chuckle as I flip through the channels during the holiday season; commercials show families gathered around a golden turkey with all the trimmings in their finest clothes, the children spotless and smiling ear to ear, and family members hugging one another while singing songs around a piano. Where’s the undercooked turkey, the kid with pie smeared all over his face, and the relative whose holiday spirit resembles the Grinch much more than Buddy the Elf?

When we have expectations that go awry we end up missing out on the blessings that come in each moment. The blessings are there, even in the tough and trying moments. When we let go of the expectations we are much more likely to see those blessings. I challenge you to try something new this year: let go of your expectations, actively look for the ways God is blessing you, and watch the holiday stress fade away.

Do What You do Well

All this said, there are traditions you wouldn’t change for the world, and I wouldn’t ever want you to. What are those traditions? What are your non-negotiables? By rooting in deep to Jesus, by letting it be easy, by intentionally refueling to get your sparkle back, and by dropping the expectations, you are able to be fully present with the things that matter. When you’re fully present, you’re able to do those things well. Then you are able to respond with love when you’re stressed out by a family member who tugs on your nerves, enjoy each and every second of cooking the recipe that’s been passed down for generations, wrap the gifts you carefully selected with care, and trim the tree with your favorite ornaments with whimsy and delight in your heart.

Jesus doesn’t ask us to merely survive; instead, he came so that we could thrive (John 10:10). By mindfully applying these 5 tips to our lives we will be well on our way to experiencing a beautiful holiday season. Remember that this season is challenging for us all and that you’re not in it alone. The Holy Spirit is your helper and is mighty within you (John 14:26). May he help you celebrate this season with intention and joy.

The holiday season can cause many of us to go a bit overboard, whether that’s with commitments, food or general insanity. Which of Kylie’s five suggestions can you put into place right now to help avoid the holly-daze?