Before I became a mom, the holiday season wasn't something that I had to "survive." I would simply go through them like any normal time of year. Now though, these holidays have been creeping up on me and yes, they must be survived. Appreciated, relished, enjoyed...and survived. Here are some ways I maintain my sanity during these wonderful, stressful days:
1. Go with the flow. The baby will not smile for the Santa picture, the Christmas lights will get a knot in them, that holiday package will get returned to you and the cat will find a way to climb up the Christmas tree. Roll with it, laugh at it. Any minor disaster is not worth the stress.
2. Mind your manners. We love the holiday season because of all the sales it brings, but sales can bring out the worst in some folks. People will steal your parking space, be ugly to sales people, bump into you and let their kids go absolutely nuts. Don't even acknowledge their behavior. Just think, "My mama raised me better than this. I am a mother now. I must behave in a way that I would want my own son to behave." It's hard; especially for a hothead like me, but again, is a stranger in Target really worth it?
3. Take some time for yourself. Every mama needs time for herself. Every mother, young and old. It's called self care and it's extra important during the holidays, when many more external stressors are triggered. So, go get that mani-pedi, that massage, get your hair done and don't feel guilty about it! If you don't take care of you; who will?
4. Take some time for your spouse. The holidays are tight for everyone and date nights may be nonexistent during this time. Even so, take time for your spouse. Can't go on a real date? After the kids go to bed, have a pretend date at home. Make a fancy dinner, eat it together and converse about things other than work and kids. Afterward, play some games or watch a favorite movie together.
5. Spend time with your family. During the holidays it can feel like we're constantly on the go, from this relative's house to that relative's house, and sometimes it can feel like you haven't spent any quality time with the people who live in your house. Before going to Grandma's or Aunt Patty's house, take time to build your own family traditions and to slow down a little bit.
6. Capture those precious moments. You'll never get *this* holiday season back and next year, your kids will be one year older. Take pictures! Remember this; cherish this; it won't be back again.
7. Plan meals. This may seem like a hassle but believe me, I can attest to the simplicity of your nightly routine when you know exactly what you're going to make. The same goes for holiday meals; plan, plan, plan!
8. Budget those gifts out! Remember that life goes on after the holidays and that the daily expense of life during the holidays is still there. Set a budget for what you can realistically spend on other people and stick to it. Money issues cause the most problems with stress during the holidays!
9. Do fun things. Every city has fun, holiday related activities to participate in. Take advantage of them to break up the monotony of constant shopping. I noticed today that our children's museum is offering Christmas themed craft classes for the month of December...Toph is too young for those at this point, but trust me, I file ideas like that away for next year, when we'll need it!
10. Simplify the Christmas card process. Oh, Christmas cards. Growing up, we would have to each sign our names to all 75 that we were sending out. It would take forever and the cards were always generic. These days, sites like Tinyprints help use create personalized Christmas cards after just a few clicks. The people on my Christmas card list have watched us year to year go from newlyweds, to expecting, to a family of three. Plus, no signing involved!
Tiny Prints provides stylish, modern and unique stationery from photo cards to personalized greeting cards to thank you cards and business cards. Offering exclusive designs from the nation’s top designers, easy card personalization, a powerful preview engine and top-notch customer service and paper quality, their designs have been lauded by numerous television networks, publications and celebrities. With Tiny Prints by your side the Holidays will be a cinch! They offer adorable Thanksgiving Cards, Christmas Cards, Hanukkah Cards, and even New Years Cards. All fully customizable and personalizable.
There you have it; the top ten ways this mama will survive this holiday season! What do you do to survive the holidays?
I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Tiny Prints blogging program, making me eligible to get a $75 Tiny Prints gift certificate! For more information on how you can participate, click here.