Surviving the Holidays
The Holidays are “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. Right? Well not always. They can also be the most stressful time of the year. As mothers we must buy presents for everyone (children, spouses, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpa.), buy stockings, do holiday baking, decorate, clean for visiting family or packing to visit family, and this is all on top of our normal routine.
How in the world are we supposed to handle all that? Especially if we already struggle with anxiety. Here are life changing tips that not only allow you to survive your Holidays but to enjoy them as well.
1. DO NOT procrastinate
The early bird gets the worm, right? Then start shopping for the Holidays now! Buy all the gifts way in advance and hide them (make sure it’s a good hiding spot). When you start early it allows you to breathe instead of panic when Christmas is right around the corner and they are out of the toy your child desperately wants! I try to have all my shopping done for my kids before the second week of December. This leaves time for fun activities instead of last-minute shopping.
This can also go hand in hand with shopping for stocking stuffers. Again, make sure you hide them in a good spot. Children are very good seekers.
Shop for Holiday food early as well. The freezer is a magical place that stores your ingredients until you need to use them! Take advantage for this great invention! It works great for storing candy too. A little tip, buy a huge bag of frozen broccoli then throw away the broccoli and save the bag to hide the candy in. Children never go looking for broccoli!
Another great thing that wonderful freezer can be used for? Holiday baking! Make up cookie dough, ginger bread dough, any kind of dough and freeze it until you need it. This will make decorating cookies with your little so much easier! Just pop out the dough bake it and decorate it. Fresh homemade cookies without the stress or mess.
2. Plan Special Activities for the Holidays
Now this does not mean to plan a Holiday activity everyday after Thanksgiving to Christmas. Maybe just on the weekends or when is gets closer to Christmas. Think of the activities you loved to do as a child and try to incorporate them into your Holidays this year. This will bring back good memories for you and give your children memories to cherish.
Some of the things I do with my kids is a decorating party. We always take the Saturday after Thanksgiving and we get a tree. After setting it up, I start Christmas music and have hot apple cider in my crock-pot. Usually I have cookies setting out too. Then we like to go sledding one day, we go to the zoo for an event called Zoo Lights (which is when they turn out all the lights and have only their Christmas lights on. We even write letters to Santa (which gives me great ideas of what they want for Christmas) Here is a free template for a letter to Santa. On Christmas eve they open their new PJ’s and we read the Christmas story.
Go ahead steal any of my ideas or find some new traditions that you’d like to try out. Choose the ones that would be age appropriate for your kids. I’d love to go Ice Skating, but my 4-year-old and 2-year-old are a bit young for that. That goes for caroling as well.
3. Schedule Self-care time!
It is okay to schedule some down time for yourself. We all need to take care of ourselves especially during stressful times. If you are feeling overwhelmed with it all then take a couple of hours to take a bath or a nap. You will be better off if you are feeling refreshed and you will feel happier. This happiness is contagious and will bring happiness to your holiday season.
I know that the Holidays is not time to go out spending money on a spa day so think of little relaxing me time things to do at home. Like I said before, take a bath, a nap, or a walk by yourself. I always paint my toes once a month. Mainly because I enjoy painting my toes and don’t have money to go get them done. Do whatever you love to do that relaxes you. I am sorry, but cleaning does not count. We do enough of that as mothers. Here is a wonderful self-care calendar for the month of December.
4. Say No or limit yourself
The Holidays can be a very demanding time. It can come from your children, their teachers, your parents, friends, colleagues, or people from church. Know your limits. If you are booked solid with Christmas shopping, wrapping, or activities. Then a teacher asks you to come volunteer for a Holiday party, it is ok to say no. If you want to do it then give up something else on your schedule or reschedule it for next week. Prioritize everything!
If you try to do it all then you will drive yourself crazy and only do everything half way. I am the type of mother who tries to do it all and tries to please everyone. This means I usually get walked all over or I will have a mental breakdown because I am not doing it all. This is what anxiety looks like. Sometimes your health is more important than holiday baking. Take a deep breath and purge your schedule of all the unimportant things and repeat tip 3.
5. Do not Expect Perfection
Sometimes, we have this perfect holiday planned out in detail. We expect the kids to love their toys and share with each other. The food is perfectly cooked, everyone gets along, no temper tantrums and everyone is happy. Then the holidays actually come and there is chaos, dishes, fights, food burning or not turning out right. Your one kid didn’t get the toy he really wanted and is throwing a fit.
This happens. It is called life! If you expect perfection then you will be stressed out, overwhelmed and frustrated when you don’t get it. So, maybe plan on some things not working. Maybe a dish of food doesn’t turn out right. Oh well that’s life. Perhaps a child is throwing a fit, did you honestly expect anything more? Life is messy even on the Holidays. Expect the mess and chaos. Then you won’t be surprised when that is what you get. In fact, you might be happier when things turn out more perfect then you expected.
Remember be happy!
The Holidays can be a challenging time for everyone. We as mothers, do our best to make sure that everyone in our family has the best holiday season that they can. Sometimes that stress can eat away at us and leave us loathing the holidays. Learn to prepare and counter all the stress that comes with this time of the year. As you follow these tips you will become a professional holiday mother and you just might be happier then you thought you could be.