As we begin to plan holiday get togethers and if and when and where we’re traveling for the end of the year, the questions set in. How will we stay on schedule? Where are we going to put all those new toys? How am I going to get all my shopping for the kids done? Everyone wants to enjoy decorating cookies, holiday parties, Black Friday shopping, watching Hallmark movies, squeezing in a visit to the big jolly guy in red and everything in between, without the stress that comes with it. In order to help you achieve this, we wanted to help you think of ways to help alleviate stress during this holiday season.
Let’s Hack the Holidays, Mom Version!
- Buy the pre-made cookie dough: Our friends at Tollhouse and Pillsbury do the hard work for us. They exist for reason. No one will know the difference. Kiddos remember the decorating more than the fact you used store bought dough. It’s also ok to buy canned icing (eat a spoonful or two of that after you’re done decorating). Break out the sprinkles and glitter and let the kiddos have fun!
- Give the gift cards: Do not feel bad for buying gift cards, especially for older kids. You gave a gift and the receiver gets to pick out what they want but doesn’t have to pay for it! If you have fully grown children, HyVee or Casey’s gift cards are always a hit. I can’t begin to tell you how often gift cards have saved my neck when I was short on funds for gas or groceries.
- Do not disregard cheap wrapping paper: Dollar Tree is the SPOT for cheap wrapping paper for kids. It’s only $1.25 and it’ll wind up in the trash anyways. They have tons of characters- Grinch, Peanuts, Minions, Mickey Mouse, Bluey and more ! This is a great, inexpensive way to stock up for future years as well.
- Stick to the schedule, if that works for you: If you need to leave an event so your little one can get to bed on time, do it. When traveling, aim to travel during nap times. Try to stick closely to your normal sleep/nap routine even if you’re in a different time zone. A little flexibility up to an hour is ok but any further can be disastrous. You and your little ones will all have a better time if everyone is in a good mood.
- If you are hosting a big meal – Use disposable plates and silverware: Many people break out the heirloom dishes or the fine china for holidays. However, Costco and Sam’s Club both sell very nice, sturdy, plastic tableware. That way no one has to do dishes and nothing is breakable! One less thing on your to-do list.
- Ask for help : Moms are superheroes. There‘s no question with all we do, from the holiday parties at school to the family gatherings, wrapping presents, preparing big holiday meals, the baking, and beyond. Don’t turn away help. If someone is asking what they can do for your holiday dinner, ask them to come early to pitch in with you for cooking. If family is planning to stay with you, ask them if they can help around the house or watch the kiddos so you can clean up. Don’t feel like you need to do it all. When there are so many people around and they offer to help, TAKE IT!
My best piece of advice for the holiday season is…
Remember to pour into yourself too. The old saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup” is so true here. Remember to fill your own cup. It’s ok to pass on a party or two because the kids are tired or sit out helping with a school party if you just don’t have the bandwidth. It’s also ok to have “cereal dinners” or serve more PB&J than you normally do or not take a photo of your family in cute matching pajamas. Your sanity and your mental health are far more important.
No matter how your holiday season goes, remember you are the best mom you can be for your child or children and you are making wonderful memories with them! Give yourself grace and soak in all the moments with your loved ones. Happy Holiday Season!
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