Every year as the holiday season approaches, I get so excited thinking about all of the festive fun that is on the way. And every year I get stressed out trying to get everything done, see everybody there is to see, and making it all perfect…which just never seems to happen.
So a few years back I realized that I needed to reevaluate what my idea of a perfect holiday season is and I found that keeping it simple helped me find balance and enjoy everything so much more.
Most of my family is spread out across the states and it was a huge stress factor because it’s impossible to get to see everybody. Trying to book a flight that didn’t cost 3x my mortgage was also not helpful. I learned that for the sake of my own mental health, it’s ok to say no! Invite them to visit you, or just do your own thing altogether.
Trying to shop for everybody and making sure it was shipped out in time also became a huge (expensive) headache. If you have a bigger family, or even if not, suggest drawing names and shop early to avoid the crowds and long post office lines. One year I made a donation on behalf of family members to one of my favorite charities in lieu of sending a gift.
This is my daughter’s first holiday season, and my husband and I talked about how we wanted to approach her gifts moving forward. I really like the concept of the 4 gift rule where it keeps it simple, enjoyable, and we aren’t left with a ton of things that will likely be donated or trashed later on.
Year after year, we tried to get into the Christmas lights festival and there was always a line of cars around the block. This year we are going to skip it. Instead I am going to resume a tradition of when I was younger and my family would drive around a few different neighborhoods looking at lights and together we would vote on our favorite. We would leave an anonymous card with a scratch-off lotto ticket saying that they were our winner.
Lastly, potlucks stress me out. The thought of having to cook or bake something, store it and transport it for others' consumption makes me break out in hives. So now I don’t over extend myself on the signup sheets, and I’m totally ok with being the person who brings the store-bought brownies or the napkins. Other times I have volunteered to be the cleanup crew and avoided having to bring anything at all.
Lisa is a babywearing, breastfeeding, cloth-diapering mama who thinks that Skype cannot be underestimated around the holidays.