Here are eight vital tips to reduce your holiday frazzle. They are not new, in fact I posted many of them earlier this season, however if you are anything like me, you need repetition in order to learn. I have reshuffled them in hopes that they will make an impression on you this time around! So read on, and make sure you are not overextending yourself to impress others!
1. Simplify. Revisit your list: start asking yourself what can you do less of? Know what is super important to you during the holidays, and focus on that. Cut back on the things that are not as important; less decorations, less presents, less Christmas cards, a simpler meal, or even spending less.
2. Let go of perfection and guilt. Who are you trying to impress? Everything doesn’t have to prepared just perfectly, or the kids don’t have to have the “perfect” Christmas. And you don’t have to feel guilty if Aunt Kate sends you a Christmas card, and you don’t send her one in return. There is no reason to feel guilt because your neighbor’s yard is decked out in lights when you only have a few yard decorations. Let everyone else feel stress while you enjoy peace during this holiday season. Do you realize how much work it is to put up all those decorations?
3. Plan in advance. The last minute procrastination will get you every time. Stretch your holiday out and enjoy the month of December by doing a little bit every day towards making your holiday plans come together. Do a little shopping. Wrap a few presents. Watch a holiday movie. Send out a few cards. Do a little decorating. You have plenty of time if you don’t wait until the last week before Christmas.
4. Have a budget and stick to it. You don’t have to buy presents for everyone. Create a budget that works with your current income and expenses. If you can’t afford to buy presents for everyone, consider making something like cookies, bread, or a handmade ornament. You can also give a gift certificate donating your time – tell your friend or family member that you will do something special for them like watch their children while they go on a date, or weed their garden in the spring.
5. Go with the flow. There is bound to be something that doesn’t go as planned. Last year, my son was in urgent care the night before Thanksgiving, with The Big Flu, and we had to cancel last minute rather then hosting as we had planned. Expect these kinds of things to happen. Laugh it off, and know that it will make a good memory to talk about for years to come. We enjoyed that very quiet Thanksgiving Day that required very little clean up.
6. Don’t take anything personally. Most families have at least one relative that manages to make hurtful comments, or say things that are better left unsaid. If you are a “victim” of one of those comments, don’t take it personally. Remember, it’s not about you. Anything anyone says is always about the other person, even if it’s directed at you. Do your best to walk away and detach yourself emotionally.
7. Practice and model good self care. Make sure everyone in the family is getting plenty of sleep, and eating healthy. This is the time of year when viruses are going around, and the last thing you want is to be sick during the holidays. Wash your hands, drink plenty of water, and don’t forget to exercise.
8. Send Super Mom away. During the holidays or anytime, there is no place for the mom who thinks she needs to do it all herself. You won’t get a gold ribbon, or even special recognition for handling everything by yourself so you might as well enlist as many people as you can to help you. Don’t wait for people to figure out what you need, or to even ask you how they can help. Be a leader and delegate. Ask family members to bring dishes, or cater part of the food. Enlist help with shopping and wrapping. Hire a housecleaner to clean your house for the holidays. You will smile a whole lot more if you throw that cape in the trash can.
So keep these tips in mind through the month of December, and you will enjoy a more joyful and peaceful holiday season!