Twinkly lights. Hot chocolate. Little kids dressed in bed sheets pretending to be Mary and Joseph. Ugly sweaters. It’s a magical time of year.
Also? Waiting in line everywhere. Scoliosis from wrapping presents for hours at a time. Staying up until midnight making to-do lists. Going into debt. Events every night.
The holidays bring a whole other level of stress, even to you carefree folks. For those of us already on the anxious side, it can be the perfect recipe for disaster. I’ve found myself in plenty of locked rooms at special occasions trying to take deep breaths and pull myself together. Can we all pledge right now that this will not happen this year??? Can we all devise a plan that will help us maybe even ENJOY the holiday season?
How are we going to do this, friends? Let’s start with this:
- No overscheduling. You cannot attend three parties a week for a month. You cannot host six parties in December. Cut down, cut out, or say no.
- Write down the events or traditions you truly want to experience. Plan them out ahead of time so you make sure to show up at the right day/time and you don’t get double booked.
- Stick to the routine whenever you can. Try to maintain as much of your normal diet, bedtime, skincare, and exercise regimen as you can in between the festivities and indulgences. You don’t have to completely write off your health in December.
- Stick to the list. Make the gift lists and do not deviate, no matter what sales you pass or what your kid suddenly decides he needs on December 23.
- Have an end point. Whether for decorating, planning a party, or wrapping gifts, set a date or dollar limit and do not go beyond. Stop buying more decorations up until Christmas Eve. Do not add an extra dessert to the menu the morning of your party. Allow yourself to be done.
- Your kids don’t have to do ALL THE THINGS this year, especially if they are younger. We’ve already packed in so much the past two weeks that our kids were not enjoying the special events because they were cranky and tired and overstimulated. I’ve pared down the calendar and added in some lazy nights at home.
- Maintain perspective. It can’t be overstated—the holidays are what you make them. Yes, there is a massive list of things to do, but let’s keep reality in our sights. If you don’t happen to sweep under the coffee table, how will that actually affect Christmas? If you don’t add that third layer of ribbon to the packages, who will be disappointed? If you can’t make that ugly Christmas sweater brunch, who is really going to care?
We make this season so monumentally important that we can get crushed by the pressure of our own expectations. So let’s take a deep breath. Make a list and do our best to get it done. But it is impossible to fail at Christmas. Find your end point and after that, simply be present. After all, these are your memories, too.
What’s your holiday strategy? Do you wing it or have a schedule for the month? Are you hosting any parties? I am hosting 20-30 people Christmas morning and am a teeeeeny bit overwhelmed! I’ll definitely need my own advice.