How to Survive The Holiday Season…in 2018
We have spent the past few days celebrating the Season, traveling and visiting family. I typically start Christmas shopping over the Summer and then when Black Friday rolls around, buy a few more things, forgetting everything else I bought, which results in an overwhelmingly amount of presents for our kids. This year, I was determined to only give each of our children five presents (it was close, they got seven, but two of the seven were books), so I minimized my shopping entirely but the weeks leading up to the Holiday were even more crazed than before. I am class mom this year for my oldest daughters class, and had to plan and participate in her class party, which made things a bit more chaotic than normal- not to mention coordinating presents from the class, then from her, and finally for our sons teachers. Now that I survived the Season, I am going to put a better plan in place for next year so I am not as far behind (and that plan may include NOT volunteering to be class mom, ha!) …the weeks leading up to Christmas were filled with a lot of sleepless nights (the baby is also cutting about six teeth) and left me seriously sleep deprived on Christmas. We had a wonderful month together with less plans and were able to do a bunch of festive events but the running around from the past few days has given me countless headaches and as much as I wanted the day to be magical (it was) I want to feel magical, too.
I finally caught up on six hours of broken sleep last night so I feel like a new woman! My blog has taken a serious backseat because of my lack of sleep, headaches and arms cradling a baby at night, but I am hoping to get back into the swing of posting twice a week. In order to have a more successful Holiday season next year, I want everyone to hold me accountable to do the following so I can enjoy it more…
- Stick to a five present limit for each of our kids. This seriously cut down on how much I was shopping (& spending) and just because we could afford to give our children more, didn’t mean we needed to.
- Have kids donate five toys apiece. We did a big donation in early December and are currently suggesting the kids do another one this week. Our house is at capacity with toys, and I read a tip about how too many toys makes it difficult for children to actual make decisions about what they want to play with. They become distracted, overwhelmed and frustrated that there is too much going on. This was specific to children with ADHD, which our son is being treated for, so I am particularly aware of not overcrowding our playroom or family room. Total perk to less toys is an easier clean up at the end of the day!
- Set a budget for everyone else on our list and stick to it. This was the first year I did this and I really liked doing it because it forced me to track everything I bought for people. I typically buy a bunch of things and overspend because I can’t remember what I originally bought for someone.
- Online shop. I always do this and Amazon keeps making it easier and easier to find the perfect present, only days before Christmas, too. Did I mention I forgot to buy my Father a Christmas gift this year? I typically wrap as I buy but because I was buying and stashing the presents, I didn’t keep track of any presents specific to him so had to frantically buy something a few days before Christmas. Luckily, I found awesome slippers and Butt Face Soap that I found hilarious on Amazon and they were here in time for Christmas Eve. I actually didn’t end up giving him the soap because I needed a last minute White Elephant gift idea so I threw some scratch offs in with his present instead.
- Set a date to celebrate our anniversary and go Christmas shopping together. Our anniversary is on December 4th. This year, we didn’t make it out to celebrate (my husband cooked an amazing dinner at home, I generally prefer his culinary skills over some restaurants because he is THAT GOOD.) but when I was Christmas shopping a few days later, I was wishing he was with me to help me make some decisions for some of the bigger items for our kids. I thought, he would LOVE this, and even if he didn’t, it’d still be fun to do it together. Our anniversary celebrations will now include a nice dinner out, and a trip to Toys R Us (if they are still in business, HA!) after.
- Wrap while I shop. This is the first year I didn’t do this because I wanted to make sure the five presents I picked for each kid were perfect (and if I found something else I wanted to get them, I would return one of the others) and I wanted to remember what I bought each of them too. However, this made for a lot of wrapping the last few days leading up to Christmas and I wanted to be doing other things…like watching Christmas movies and drinking eggnog.
- Give the gift of a donation. This year, we donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, in honor of my Grandmother that passed away in April. I will continue to donate to them annually in her remembrance because her generous heart donated to them all the time and it’ll give me comfort to continue it on her behalf. We also donated to ALS in honor of my Aunt, who is difficult to shop for, and is suffering from ALS.
- Cancel all plans the month of December and only do what we want to do every weekend. I looked forward to Friday afternoons in December because it meant we could plan our weekend and decide where we wanted to visit Santa, what we wanted to do, and if we wanted to head into NYC to see the Christmas tree or not (this is the first year we skipped it in six years, I was disappointed about it, but juggling three kids in the city wasn’t something I NEEDED to do this year, especially given how stressed I was already.) Not committing to specific activities this month allowed us to recharge and focus on what we truly wanted to do and what mattered. I want to start doing this every few months, simply because our lives are so busy and we don’t spend enough time enjoying the town we live in.
- Buy the premade cookie batter. My kids love making cookies and premade cookie batter made our lives THAT much easier. Thank you, Pillsbury. The tubes of dough were even made in a nut free facility, so I was able to make a serve them for my son’s class!
- Don’t have another baby. This will minimize the risk of having a child waking every 45 minutes for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. Three kids waking all hours of the night is enough sleep deprivation for me. DON’T, DON’T, DON’T have another baby. I have no idea how my husband and I would ever handle four kids that don’t sleep. We are barely surviving as it is.
Alright friends, share your tips! What else can I do to minimize the stress of the Holidays? I want to enjoy my kids, make some memories and celebrate. I hope your Holiday season has been a good one…help me make my 2018 one better. Merry, merry!
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