Holidays! Every year they show up.
Just like clockwork, the holidays happen over and over again.
It’s like you can mark your calendar by them (she types with a smirk).
It seems that the holidays don’t show up alone. They bring stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and if we are all honest, a little bit of crazy. My goal is to stay as peaceful and as simple as possible this year.
I know what you are thinking right now. Something along the lines of “You are only keeping it simple because you have nothing to do.” Oh contraire, my friend. My family is busy as a stable full of three-legged reindeer on Christmas Eve. Every weekend from now until late February is scheduled, and I’m already planning things as far as next Christmas . . . but that’s another post.
Between my eleven-year-old ballerina daughter, 8-year-old soccer defender son, traveling husband that’s training for a marathon, and myself, a full time working mom, part-time volunteer, and all-around do-er. Our days are scheduled down to the last minute. But that’s how we thrive.
Throughout the years I have found some life hacks to ease the holiday stress, and I want to share them with you. I’ve added some recently to hopefully help make this year be the best one yet.
- Take a breath – When you find yourself having a stressful moment, give yourself time to take a breather. Take a walk outside and look at things from a different perspective; you will find yourself calming down.
- Have a Signature – The parties are about to begin. Don’t stress out about bringing a different dish to all of the places, but have one or two dishes that you can bring to all of them. Keep the ingredients for them in the pantry so that you’ll always have an easy solution. My friend, Danielle, brings her secret family recipe cookies. Everyone loves them, and we have come to expect her to bring them. I don’t know what I would do if she brought green bean casserole somewhere.
- Schedule It – As I said earlier, our weekends are booked until February. My husband and I share a calendar on our phones. We are always on the go, and it keeps us aware of who is doing what with what kid or volunteering or working out or running or writing or cooking or going on a trip or resting. Yes, I have reached the point before when I schedule to rest. A full glorious day of rest!
- Under Commit – It seems that parties pop up every other day. I very rarely commit to any of these just in case homework takes longer than normal. School is still the priority for the kiddos.
- Over Prepare – I like to make sure the laundry is put up every weekend so that I feel ready for the week. I also try to have on hand every ingredient or supply that I may need for each event that we are having that week.
- Color Coordinate – Going to a lot of places at Christmas time? Wrap the gifts that go to the same place in the same paper. When we would be going to multiple houses for Christmas I would wrap the gifts in a color-coded fashion. Something like: Red gifts for my parents – Green gifts for the in-laws – Blue gifts for the friend’s house – Purple gifts stay at our house. Doesn’t that work out well that Santa doesn’t wrap any gifts?!?
- Get Teacher’s Gifts Early – Super fun personalized gifts aren’t usually more expensive, but they do take longer to get in. If you order them sooner rather than later, it can ease the pressure of a last-minute Wal-Mart run. (Go ahead and judge me, but I know you’ve done it, too.)
- Ready the Wardrobe – Take a few minutes and go through your closet. This is a great time of year to get rid of those extra clothes that seem to never go away. And give you a fresh perspective for putting together new outfits. Ask a fashion-forward friend to help you put some items together. My daughter is usually my go-to for fashion advice. (Insert facepalm emoji here)
- Swap the Kids – It’s fun, easy, and cheap to swap kids for the night while the parents go out. Think of it like a babysitting carousel. Find a few friends that have kids, and see if they can watch your kids while you are at a party and then you can watch their kids when they want to go out. No babysitting fees needed. And hopefully, all the kids think its the best thing ever.
- Exercise – Your body needs some attention. Exercise doesn’t just get the blood flowing and organs working better, it releases endorphins that help ease stress and help you sleep. Also, a few minutes of stretching every day will increase mobility and decrease those aches and pains that seem to linger in the colder weather.
- BONUS TIP Focus – Yes, friends. Focus. With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and the parties and the gifts and the whatnot, it is easy to forget that this is a time to be grateful. This is a time for peace, joy, and all the good things. When the stressors of the season try to get you down, just remember the words of Sweet Sugar Brown, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
I wish you much joy and laughter during the holiday season. Give yourself grace, don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the ones that are near.