Can you believe it’s December? It feels like just yesterday we were ringing in 2017 and wondering how it was already January. Now we’re doing it all over again. And, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how to fit it all in before we say hello to another year. As each holiday season passes, I’m learning to focus more on keeping things as simple as possible. Here are a few tips on how to simplify your holidays and help your family stay sane!
Whether you have a desk calendar, wall calendar or virtual calendar, now is really the time to put it to use. Block off your events, obligations and important dates. Don’t double book yourself and be sure to give yourself valuable downtime. No one wants to burn out this early in the game.
Before my parents moved to the neighboring county, our Christmas Eve tradition included making a beautiful, from-scratch pasta carbonara. It was decadent and delicious, but it also took forever and required special ingredients warranting an extra trip to the store. Since it wasn’t a favorite of my dad’s, I nixed it from the menu lineup and tried something new: the Chinese food buffet.
Seriously. We ordered a variety of items from our favorite take-out place, set it all up and went to town. It freed up a good chunk of my Christmas Eve afternoon, and I wasn’t so burned out on cooking for the next day.
Get It Done
Now is not the time for procrastination. Whatever can be done in advance, do it. Cross off the shopping, the wrapping, and even the baking. Get those holiday cards out in the mail. Prioritize and prepare anything you can manage, so you don’t get crushed under the weight of an overwhelming to-do list.
Just Say No
You can’t do it all. (Well, you CAN do it all, but chances are, you’re going to be a frazzled wreck in the attempt.) Between cookies exchanges, holiday parties, cocktail hours, white elephants, secret Santas and all the rest, something has to give. There is no shame in putting your foot down and skipping out on some of the festivities to give yourself and the family some breathing room. What’s the point of that beautifully decorated tree you’ve had up since Thanksgiving day if you can’t put on your PJs, grab some hot cocoa or wine and take it all in with your own family?
Enjoy The Small Things
Remember, the holidays aren’t about the perfect latke recipe or Pinterest-worthy tablescape. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the hoopla. It’s okay if the wrapping paper isn’t perfectly coordinated. Or if you didn’t capture just the right holiday card photo. Your kids probably aren’t going to remember how your napkins were folded or if the marshmallows in their hot chocolate came from a bag or were made from scratch. They will remember the laughter and the hugs and the fun, so make that the highlight of the next few weeks.
Take it all in. Give yourself permission to go with the flow. Then, give yourself a mental high five for not letting the holiday season sweep you up into its frenzy.