Joy, peace, love, tranquility, happiness, serenity, relaxation ----- that's what the holidays are all about, right? NOT!!!! I think that's what the holidays are meant to be about, but if you're anything like us, the hustle and bustle that the holidays bring on, along with the regular hustle bustle of life is anything but relaxing and tranquil. But I want and long for the holidays to be that way. I dream of cold winter nights snuggled up on the couch in blankets with my kiddos, watching silly Christmas movies and just enjoying time together with no obligations pulling us this way or that. And you know what, as crazy as this time of year is, I think we CAN have it all and find some ways to make the holidays more enjoyable, less stressful, and more meaningful for all of us.
So, this is my guide for not just surviving the holidays (because its no fun if you're just surviving), but to THRIVE and really enjoy it, your family, and some downtime.
Decide what's important to you and your family and do that!!!
I think that once we had kids, our priorities changed, shifted, and became a little bit different. For us, it became more about having that time together Christmas morning in our own home, teaching our children about our special holiday traditions, just spending time at our house without running around to other families' homes all day long. Just BEING together as our little family became super important! Figure out what is most important to you! What traditions do you want to implement? Which ones are just taking up additional time but aren't that important -- maybe they can be let go. What about food? Are there certain foods and baked good you have to have? Or is the cooking stressful and its time to order in? (by the way, we do this for Thanksgiving and Christmas and it has absolutely FREED me from the stress of a full on holiday meal, as well as given me the time to just ENJOY the day -- The Fresh Market is my go-to and has an amazing holiday meal!) Whatever you decide to do or not to do, make sure it makes you happy!
Keep it simple. Perfection is overrated.
As much as perfection during the holidays would be nice, 1-its unattainable 2-its stressful, and 3-most people don't care if its perfect or not. Simplicity is key. If you're stressing over making your 6 favorite holiday cookies, stop -- choose your 2 favorites and enjoy the heck out of making them. Or, find a nice local bakery and have them do your sugar cookies (which are so time consuming!) If you normally do ornament making, on top of gingerbread houses, on top of special homemade treats for your kids' teachers, and its just TOO much, then downsize. Choose one or two of your favorite holiday crafts or activities and get help with your teacher gifts (Etsy is so fun for handmade items that teachers love, and I've found some super special teacher gifts on jane.com!) Oh, and please don't stress out over perfection. I know from experience that I'm the only one who cares about this, so why stress myself out?
It really is ok to say no. Don't ever feel bad for not contributing to every single event, volunteer opportunity, donation, and party. We're all human and we just can't do it all (at least, we can't do it all and remain sane and enjoy our own holiday experience). Remember, when we say no to one thing, we're freeing up time to say yes to something else that is possibly even more important (like doing those gingerbread house with your kiddos and creating priceless memories!)
Take care of yourself.
Yes, I know its hard. Yes, I know that when we're short on time, WE are the first ones to suffer. And usually that is in the form of not taking care of ourselves -- not eating right, not exercising, not getting enough sleep -- any of this sound familiar? I know for me, taking care of ME is the best way for me to stay positive, stay happy, to enjoy life, enjoy motherhood, and enjoy all of the little joys that this season brings. And truly, all it takes is a short morning workout and doing my best with nutrition (no, this time of year I'm not perfect, but I still am doing the best that I can do!). You can make 30 minutes for YOU, right???
And lastly ----- say YES!!!
What!? I just told you to say no! Well, now I'm telling you to say yes. Say yes to those precious snuggles, those times cozied up reading books, to watching Rudolph and Elf, to sitting down and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with the little people in your life, to playing board games. Say yes to enjoying your life and enjoying the holidays!
I hope this season brings you many joys, many sweet memories with your family, and that you enjoy them in all of their amazingness, totally stress free!!
Have a wonderful and very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season!
We can't forget to take care of US! You're probably the glue that holds everything together, so its important that you take care of yourself -- so you can take care of everyone else! Are you feeling like its time to figure this all out? Well, let's figure it out together. You can do, be, and accomplish anything you set your mind to! Let's chat!