So many of us greet the holidays with mixed emotions. We look forward to all the fun and festivities, and we are completely overwhelmed and stressed out at the same time. It really should not be that way. As parents we try to create magical memories for our children and enjoy our time with family and friends. Here are a few tips to try to keep your life a bit sane while also enjoying the season. It really is about creating a beautiful life.
How to Relish the Holidays
Get a binder and create a Holiday Central Journal. This one binder should be your headquarters for all things relating to the holidays. You can see my Holiday Binder.
Be sure to set a budget. One of the reasons the holidays get so stressful is because it can be a very expensive season. Not only is there gift giving to think about, but the cost of cards and postage, new holiday clothing, entertaining friends, and for many travel. The holidays should not put you in debt. When you set your budget think what you realistically can spend. Then decide how that money is going to be allocated; gifts, entertaining, travel, food costs, holiday cards, clothing, charity. Then stick to the budget.
Use a central calendar. Gather everyone in the family together and record on the calendar all of the upcoming events and holiday doings. Record parties, dinners, school concerts, church programs – anything and everything that is going to require your time during the holiday season. Make note of clothing requirements and take care of that as soon as possible. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute for a pair of black tights.
Shop for gifts early. Make a list of who you are buying or making gifts for, ask for suggestions if appropriate and get it done. For the person that has everything, look for experiences. Not only is an experience clutter free, it can create wonderful memories. If you are crafty and love to give homemade gifts, make sure you plan the time accordingly. While a homemade gift is full of love – it should not leave you burning the midnight oil and feeling frazzled.
Plan for eating healthy. Start double batching dinners and freezing half. The weekdays seem to get shorter and shorter the more that we have to do. Knowing that you have a healthy dinner ready to grab from your freezer save you from running out for unhealthy quick bites. This saves you money as well.
Organize your mailing list. If you are sending out cards, be sure to double check address and get an accurate count of cards needed. Envelopes can be address early and ready for the stuffing.
Plan your menus. Buy all non-perishable food now. Just make note of what items you have purchased so that you do not double buy. Here are my holiday menus that I use year after year with our favorite recipes.
Schedule fun days and family outings. Make sure to include time to just be with your family – maybe an afternoon ice skating, driving around and looking at decorations and lights, delivering cookies to your friends, caroling at a nursing home, or sipping hot chocolate while watching holiday specials on TV.
Take time for yourself. It is so easy to get lost in the craziness of the holidays. Only say yes to what your really want to include in your schedule. It is ok to say no. Make sure that you have “me” time. Even if that “me” time is only a 15 minute walk around the block. Take it.
As parents we want to create the picture perfect holiday for our family. The truth is there is no such thing. Picture perfect is only one fleeting moment. The magic that we create is often found in the spontaneous moments of fun and laughter. It is when we experience the laughter, the love, the warmth of friendship and family, the acceptance and connectedness that we all desire – it is then that we can recognize the magic. This is what creating a beautiful life is all about.