Holiday season is here. For us busy parents, this is the time of year when we feel the most stressed. We also eat more desserts, which is “stressed” spelled backwards and understandably so. How can we keep our sanity and truly enjoy the “most wonderful time of the year” with our families? My advice is to choose less in order to enjoy more. Decide what will matter most for your loved ones and compliment your values. Here’s what I mean.
Were you invited to three holiday parties within one weekend? Which one do you really want to attend? Can you skip one or two of them? Select the one that will be the most fun or help your career, if it is work-related. Is your child asking for six gifts this year? Tell him or her to choose two favorites instead. We often have a tendency to go overboard or move into hyper drive during the holiday season. Moms and dads may feel they need to say yes to every invitation, activity or wish list item a family member wants. But you don’t! Choose less so that you can benefit from the simplicity.
By thinking and choosing less during a crammed holiday season, I guarantee you will enjoy family time more. If you are stressing over making four dozen homemade cookies for a dessert exchange, then don’t do it. Instead visit a local bakery and give the shop owner the extra business. Let your children pick out the sweet treats to bring to an event. If you are pressed for time or just don’t want to make the mess, skip it. Instead snuggle on the sofa with your family and take pleasure in a favorite holiday film while you eat those cookies you didn’t have to make. This goes for any holiday happening you are involved in. Don’t compare yourself or compete with other families. Just do what feels right to you.
Here are my family’s top 3 easy, at-home holiday fun ideas:
1. Create your own holiday express pajama party. If you are a fan of Polar Express but don’t want to be in a crowded event for this popular pajama party, why not create your own at-home fun? I ask my kids to make a list of their favorite holiday films and we make it a point to have our own gatherings with picnic style treats and s’mores on the floor. We invite friends over too. No waiting in lines. No crowds. We snuggle and giggle in our own comforts.
2. Make an indoor winter wonderland. Instead of paying fees to see Christmas lights or stand around for a parade, spend a few hours making your own indoor winter festival. Recruit your kids in designing snowflakes. Pinterest has many do it yourself ideas and paper snowflake patterns. Have a snow ball fight with cotton balls in your family room. Build a snowman with household objects. Challenge your kids to come up with their own creative ways to build a holiday fiesta right in your home.
3. Eat, drink and be merry. Rather than spend hours baking cookies for others in a traditional cookie exchange, ask each family member to suggest an item to make. This could be a cookie recipe or pancakes or a favorite family dish. Gather around and let everyone bring their ideas forward. Then select a date and particular meal to incorporate the suggestions. Every person in your family can help in the planning, baking and serving of the special meal. If there are any leftovers, freeze them for later or for Santa to enjoy.
Select what really matters during the holidays
I often see people in a state of frenzy from December through the New Year. Parents look drained and cannot even enjoy the moments with their kids. Don’t let that be you. Choose a few things that will bring your family closer together and say no to the rest. Ask your family to make a list of what they’d like to do during the holiday season and try to do those things over other requests that come up. Select what matters most and just be together as a family to celebrate the year’s end and many blessings.
Mandy B. Fernandez is a writer living in Pensacola, Florida with her husband and two children. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in Technical Writing. She writes creatively and professionally on topics such as business, education, creative arts, health, family life, parenting and natural foods. In addition she loves sharing humorous stories, poetry and essays about womanhood and motherhood. Her first children’s book will be released in fall 2016. You can learn more about her at www.writtenbymandy.com.