From Labor Day in September through New Year’s Day on January 1st, there are non-stop events for every family that seem to eat away every moment of every day during the holidays. Sometimes there are so many activities to attend that it becomes a tag team event for parents. Going with one child to a soccer game while another parent attends a dance recital. Or is it parents splitting up with kids to make sure someone is at the parent teacher conferences of each child? There are families who eat dinner in shifts or keep large visible calendars of daily appointments just to accommodate schedules. And when things get really busy, grandparents are even called into duty. Remember the old saying “burning the candle at both ends”?
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to see if you are too busy this holiday season:
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you using Tums like breath mints?
- Have you noticed those grey hairs are coming in faster than you can color them away?
- Is it hard to stay on task?
- How many times have you misplaced your keys?
- Do you dread getting out of bed every morning because the day ahead is non-stop?
- If these are you pre-holiday symptoms, it’s time to start doing things differently.
Here are 7 ways to actually slow down and enjoy the holidays with your family and friends.
1. Ask the Family
Set aside one hour of time for a family meeting. Deep down each person knows what they like the most about the holidays. Ask each member of the family what is one thing that they would like to do this holiday season. Then ask what was your favorite thing that we have done from previous years that you would like to do again. Be sure to write down all suggestions. Now ask what it is you like the least about previous holidays. Get rid of the things that family members don’t like. Now focus on the ideas that everyone enjoys and make a plan to do those together.
2. Budget the Holiday Fun
Money is a huge source of holiday stress, especially when there doesn’t seem to be enough of it to go around. Decide just how much you can spend on the holidays without using your credit cards. Keep the number written down in your purse or wallet to remind you where you stand. You can also help stay on budget by shrinking your gift list. Exchange names with adult family members so you can focus more on the kids. Tell friends and co-workers you would rather not exchange gifts this year, so you can focus more on your family. Many of them will be relieved that they too can cut back on spending.
3. No Black Friday Madness
Black Friday is a day of shopping madness that is an extravaganza to behold. NOT! For this year, commit to staying home that day, away from this intentional craziness. Stay home, play some games with the kids, watch some football, play some games, eat some leftovers, but more importantly just relax. Pick an old movie that everyone would enjoy, pop some popcorn, and spend Black Friday together making a new tradition.
Use the wonderful power of the internet to do all your gift shopping. You can save time, gas, and hassle by skipping the mall. Most internet shopping services (like Amazon ) offer free or minimal shipping charges and gift wrapping services. The best part – everything is delivered right to your front door.
5. Buy Local
If cybershopping is not your thing, then stay close to home when shopping. Focus on gifts that are readily available from local businesses rather than hunting down items all over town you think you want or need. There will be less stress because you are saving time. When you shop local the money you spend stays in your own community which helps local businesses thrive.
6. High Expectations
You only have to look around to see the influence that society has on holiday expectations. Lighted neighborhood houses, television, Facebook, etc. It is very easy to get overly anxious about keeping up with what everyone else has or what you think you should have. But not everyone lives in the “Perfectville” of a Hallmark Channel movie. Forget about what everyone else has or is doing for the holidays. Instead consider what your expectations are for you and your family. Make the most of the love and relationships that you have with family and friends.
7. Don’t Over Commit
Over extending yourself and your family during the holiday can make many people absolutely dread the holidays. Instead of attending a holiday function every night, be firm by saying no to things you don’t have time for or just don’t want to do. Use some of the free time to pick up the phone and talk to those you love or plan an outing with your family that could start a holiday tradition. Make some memories around this time of year that they will truly remember.
I would encourage you to use these tips to de-stress during this holiday season. Download the Holiday Happenings Guide below and use it to plan a memory making outing for your family. Who knows, it might be the start of a great holiday tradition. Finally, count your blessings and remember what you are grateful for every day.
2017 Holiday Happening Guide
We’ve put together a list of all the special holiday shows, the best area light displays, concerts, festivals and parades from now through Christmas. And this year, there are a lot of choices every night of the week through December.
Let this be your ultimate Christmas guide.
Where should we send your guide?
Author: Mary Covey
Mary Covey is a long time member of Bixby’s First Baptist who volunteers her time to guest write for our blog. Mary is an expert quilter, published author, and proud grandmother.