5 Tips to Actually Enjoy Your Holiday Season

The holidays should present a wonderful reason to spend time with family, reflect on the year, sing carols and relish in the joy of the season. For many parents though, the holidays have become a time of stress and frustration. On top of already incredibly busy lives, we add the pressure of making a magical, wonderful and memorable experience for our children. Some years, it is simply too much to handle, and I am left eagerly anticipating the new year, not for a new start or to make some resolutions, but to put an end to extreme hustle and bustle.

Around this time every year, I resolve to get organized, start early and cut down on the madness, all in an attempt to actually be able to enjoy family and friends in December. I’ve made some headway where this is concerned. Maybe you’ll benefit from these tips and reminders and be able to share them and a few of your own with friends. We parents deserve some magic at Christmas as well!

Some Tips to ACTUALLY Enjoy Your Holiday Season1. Take care of yourself. Cut down on sugar, increase water intake and commit to finding at least a 1/2 hour each day to exercise. Knowing soon party season will begin, get some extra sleep now. No, you can’t store sleep, but you can go into the craziness of the holidays with a clearer head and a stronger body.

Some Tips to ACTUALLY Enjoy Your Holiday Season2. Say “No.” That’s it. It isn’t as hard as you think. Or at least say, “Maybe.” Don’t commit to too many events or volunteer opportunities now. You’ll only wind up wanting to cancel, or resent the obligation. If you spread yourself too thin, you will end up sick or cranky or both.

Some Tips to ACTUALLY Enjoy Your Holiday Season3. Don’t be a martyr. If you are hosting a holiday, simplify. Cater some of the food, ask guests to contribute a dish or an appetizer and don’t pretend you are Martha Stewart. She has a full staff. Analyze what you can do to make the day easier on yourself and follow through. Everyone will enjoy themselves so much more in the home of hosts who are relaxed and having fun themselves. And, don’t be afraid to ask people to pitch in with the clean up.

Some Tips to ACTUALLY Enjoy Your Holiday Season4. Minimize the amount of gifts you have to buy and wrap. My husband and I have five siblings and sixteen nieces and nephews. A few years ago, we abolished the adult gift giving and substituted with a $25 grab bag. It is more fun since the gifts are always hysterical, saves everyone money and time and no one needs another sweater to return. On my side, since a lot of the cousins are a little older. We do a cousin Kris Kringle instead of buying for every child. The kids love picking out this one special gift themselves, it decreases the amount of gifts the kids get and their exchange is by far the most fun they have in December. Tip: Pick the names on Thanksgiving when you are all together.

Some Tips to ACTUALLY Enjoy Your Holiday Season5. Shop early. This is where I have the most trouble following through, but I am focused this year. Make a list of everyone you need a gift for. Look for groups of people you can cross off your list now. Buy hostess gifts, teacher gifts, work gifts and tokens for friends now. Be sure to mark them as bought, or if you are like me, you will forget you got them already and double buy. If you shop for a lot of kids, consider getting everyone the same thing to decrease the chaos. Comfy pajamas, sleeping bags, gift cards, new warm hoodies or old school board games make great gifts. Make a deal with your husband or friends to go out somewhere special together after the New Year instead of exchanging gifts. It will be  a relief to everyone and you’ll end up enjoying each other’s company more than something tangible.

Remember how many gifts people get around the holidays. Every gift you give does not have to be the best present they receive. I promise, maintaining your own sanity will be an incredible gift to yourself and the people who love you.

Originally posted Nov 2014
Facebook Twitter Google Digg Reddit LinkedIn Pinterest StumbleUpon Email

Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.


Sign up for our email newsletter