Staying Sane During The Holidays
Is it just me or are the holidays the time of year that most make you want to barricade yourself in a dark room with a glass (or bottle) of wine? While I certainly have a special love for the season, I always find myself perpetually stressed and anxious during December. It must have something to do with loooong to-do lists, the shopping frenzy that seems to grip the entire world and the intense need to produce all sorts of relevant festive content. Of course, I'm usually also planning to visit or host family, trying to tackle a never-ending pile of unwrapped packages and making sure that Christmas is as magical for our little girl as it possibly can be. I'm spiraling just thinking about it all!
I've assembled my top tips for navigating the season with ease if, like me, you're in need of a little holiday sanity.
create solid plans and stick to them //
It never fails, I know that the holidays are looming for months and I usually start fretting about Christmas once October has passed. For some reason it always seems to make more sense (in the moment) to wallow in worry than actually make concrete plans. At the beginning of each holiday season I urge you to sit down, create a clear plan of attack and lay out exactly what this time will look like for you and your family. Traveling? Book tickets as soon as possible. A blogger? Create a master list of all holiday content and begin back-logging posts super early. Trust me, you'll thank me when you're knee deep in gift guides (guilty!) and a last minute Christmas party pops up. Mark important dates on your calendar (this goes for school and office parties, showings of The Nutcracker, big sales, etc.) and prepare to tackle the holiday season with ease.
make ALL the lists and work through them diligently //
Lists are one of my biggest sanity savers and holiday lists are no exception. I've been ticking off shopping lists, decorating to-dos, travel packing lists and all kinds of other things lately. There's something about getting everything out of your head and onto paper that really helps me stick to the plan and feel on top of things. Check something major off? Reward yourself with some eggnog or a quick drive around a festively lit neighborhood... you earned it!
be realistic //
Don't get me wrong, I approach every holiday season with a teeming list (hey look at that! another list!) of ways to make it magical for Lorelai. I typically plan to create a makeshift winter wonderland, visit Santa at least once, watch every single holiday movie ever made, bake cookies, build gingerbread houses, see a ballet, do a good deed, and it goes on. I have to work really hard to remind myself that all of those things are just not possible to cram into one month of celebration. The most magical times, I've discovered, are relaxed moments spent together and not choreographed holiday memories crafted carefully and planned to the second. This year I'm trying to remain realistic and celebrate the holidays with as little stress as possible even if that means giving up a few nights of planned family activities or reading less "10 Things You MUST Do This Christmas" lists.
prep your space once and focus on maintaining //
Decorating is one of my favorite parts of this time of year. I love nothing more that lugging out the tree and trimming it with shiny baubles and glittering lights. This year I'm planning to get it all done and out of the way early (we had our tree up before Thanksgiving... eek!) and focus on maintaining the scene instead of adding to it all month.
I'm not too shy to say that we're not in a place where buying every. single. thing. on everyone's list is realistic... in fact, that's just not the reality for many people. Keep the holidays meaningful and focused by setting your budget early and working hard not to overspend. After all, this season isn't all about gifts (DUH). Your wallet will thank you, you'll find a little bit more piece and those special gifts will be all the more special.
wrap gifts as you buy them //
This may seem like a no-brainer but heaping piles of unwrapped gifts are THE WORST. The best way to cut down on present panic is to wrap each thing as it comes into your home. Bonus points for an ever growing pile under the tree!
More important still than the tasks and expectations during this season is the joy of it all. Remember that the holidays are a time to celebrate and be with family rather than out-gift your girlfriends or attend every single event. The key to keeping your sanity? Take it all with a grain of salt and make enjoying the holidays your top priority.