The Christmas season can be extremely hectic, especially for parents of young children. We have our get-togethers with family and friends, office parties and school events, not to mention shopping, baking and decorating. With so much to do and so little time, we can easily become frazzled.
As we roll into December, I’d like to share some tips that have made my holidays more enjoyable. If you have any tips for other parents, please comment below!
Checklists help me stay organized and avoid becoming frazzled at the last minute. I recommend making checklists (early!) for just about everything. Mine include shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, baking, writing cards and even mailing them. And learn from my mistakes! Sometimes I think I have everything under control and forget to look at my lists. That’s when something usually gets off track or is forgotten.
I encourage you to set priorities. It may not be completely necessary to attend every social engagement we’re invited to. It’s really difficult for me to say no but I have to remember my health is more important than disappointing people. Sometimes just saying no to one function helps me breathe easier.
It’s also important to set priorities when it comes to baking, decorating or hosting Christmas parties. My natural inclination is to go big. Every year that passes, I realize more and more that simple decorations can still lend a festive touch to a home. Now our decorations consist of one well-decorated Christmas tree, a few strands of garland, and some stockings hung by the fireplace. I can finish decorating in just a few hours. It’s also easier to take everything down when Christmas is over and I’m truly exhausted.
Setting priorities not only helps me with time management, it also helps me stay on budget, coordinate get-togethers and ensures I don’t run into any scheduling conflicts.
Ask for Assistance
This one is hard for me! I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’m hesitant to ask for outside help. Planning a gathering can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of time and energy to send out invitations, clean and decorate the house, and shop and prepare the food. I like to enlist the help of children whenever possible, especially when it comes to preparing food. Even the little ones get a kick out of frosting cupcakes or decorating cookies.
Plan Outings Carefully
I loved when my kids were really small but I also enjoy how much easier it is to leave the house now that I’m done with diapers and strollers. Regardless, I still plan outings carefully in order to avoid the crowds. Shopping early in the morning allows me to get in and out of stores quickly. Prior to heading out, I always check the sales ads for the best deals. The few times I’ve gone without a plan, I’ve found myself walking in circles and wasting time I don’t have.
Enjoy the Moment
Christmas is a busy time for all of us. Checklists, planning and reasonable expectations will help minimize our stress but it’s also important that we take time to enjoy the season as well. Memories are made during some of our most chaotic moments. Sometimes, we just have to throw our hands up into the air, put our to-do lists aside and go do something special with the kids that we can only do during the holidays.