Do you smell that? The smell of bon fire is in the air, which means fall has finally arrived and the holidays will be here faster than you can ask your kid to put their jacket on 15 times. I am starting to prepare for the holidays now—making lists and scheduling events. While I am a huge fan of the holidays, I am also a huge believer that the magic can easily get lost by trying to do (and give) too much.
Here are six ways I try to get the most joy, and the least stress, out of our holiday celebrations.
- Don’t overcook your to-do list.
Fill in the events that are happening no matter what—even if it’s that boring dinner at Uncle Pat’s house that you feel obligated to attend every year. If there’s no chance you’re skipping it, put it on the calendar. Also add in the school party dates. Now, see what’s left. Decide where there is room to add a brewery lights tour, cookie baking, the Polar Express train ride or a Christmas tree farm day. Don’t try to do it all if the schedule starts to give you hives.
- Evaluate your traditions.
Traditions have a funny way of sticking around—that’s the whole point, right? However, which ones bring you joy? Which ones make you roll your eyes? Try to pare down the list to those that make you happy, because the only thing a scroogey attitude will get you are some bah-humbug memories.
- Eat. The. Pie.
Enjoy the food, the moments, the people. Indulge in it all. Go all out. Forget your diet, your tired, your chaos and live in the moment at least for a day.
- Forget the tree, chop down your expectations.
Picture-perfect expectations are the root of all evil. I’m not saying to have low standards. I’m saying to embrace reality. Picture the mess, the tears and the overtiredness that come with all the joy, togetherness and sugar. Prepare your mind and your heart for it.
- Make a list, and edit it twice.
My kids each get five gifts. This goes back to traditions for me. That’s how many I always got because my parents (really, it goes back to my grandma) were the fairest of them all. I LOVED Christmas as a kid. My five gifts were so specially selected just for me, wrapped carefully and tucked under the tree. It truly is not the quantity that matters, but the thought that goes into gift-giving that makes it worthwhile. Make a list of everyone you need to shop for and what you’d like to get them. Edit it down at least two times, and then head to the stores (or Amazon) and don’t look at or for anything else.
- Start planning excuses for that dang elf, now.
Prepare yourself for those dreadful mornings when that [insert curse word of choice here] Cupcake Snowflake Despacito forgets to move. Here are some of my favorites from this list:
- It looks like his [insert arm/leg/tag] is stuck on [insert object]! Let’s gently help him get free with tongs.
- She didn’t want to have to tell Santa about the fit you threw yesterday, so she stayed put. Today is your second chance.
- [Insert reindeer name] must have told him to stay still. Looks like he’s winning the bet!
- I wonder if she’s saving her magic for something extra special tomorrow night?
- She must really like that spot. She can see really well from there.
- I think, yep, he definitely moved a little bit. It’s not much, but he definitely moved.
Here’s to truly happy Halloweens, Thanksgivings and Decembers with all your special people. Good luck, mamas!