Between Thanksgiving and Christmas things can get really busy. In the past, I have failed to plan well, and as a result, I was stressed through much of the holiday season. By the time Christmas got here, I was worn out. I realized that trying to do too much takes a lot of the joy out of what is supposed to be a joyful season. It can also take some of the joy out of it for your family, if you aren’t careful. I’m sure most of you are aware of this, and have struggled with balancing things during this busy time.
The KEY? Decide what is important for you and your family, and LET THE REST GO! It’s really okay to not do EVERYTHING. In fact, your kids will probably be happier with doing less, and having a happy mom.
I knew this year would be extra challenging for me, because of being gone for a week, due to my daughter’s surgery. We left home Thursday, and will be gone for at least a week, because her surgery is being done in St. Louis – nine hours from our home. When we get back home, it will be a little less than 2 weeks from Christmas. This meant that I had to make choices this year, and plan well.
The thing that helped me was recognizing what makes me feel stressed. Things like baking multiple kinds of cookies, and other goodies to give away, going in and out of stores in the cold, driving and shopping in crowds, and last minute preparations.
For you, the list will probably look different. The important thing to consider is to not feel bound by traditions of the past, if they stress you, or your circumstances are different this year, and you can’t handle them.
Some things to keep the season stress-free:
1. Shop online. This may cost a bit for shipping, but saves hours of driving to stores, shopping, standing in line, etc. Decide ahead of time how much you can afford to spend on gifts, and stay in your budget. Overspending creates stress!
2. If you homeschool, put the books away a couple weeks before Christmas. Let the kids help with baking, make cards for people, make decorations, and help keep things clean. Encourage them to think of ways to bless others. Make some fun traditions.
3. Give the kids regular cleaning jobs to get the house ready for visiting family, rather than waiting to do it all at the last minute.
4. Limit outside activities. Choose wisely – there are many choices at this time of year.
5. Get extra rest. You don’t want your kids remembering a tired, crabby mom when they think of the holidays.
6. Delegate what you can to kids, to give you time to be able to do more of the fun family activities together.
7. Before starting a new activity, ask yourself “Will this create a good memory for my kids, or will this be stressful, and leave unpleasant memories?” Great activities that should be fun, usually aren’t as fun when Mom is frazzled, and probably won’t make for good memories!
What are you doing (or NOT doing!) to more fully enjoy this blessed Christmas season?