Just the other week, as I looked at my calendar and saw the Halloween activities filling in our days, I felt that familiar feeling I think many of us feel around the end of October. A little anxiousness and elevated heart rate thinking about the coming weeks of holiday celebrations. Doesn’t it seem like once October 1 hits, it’s a little bit like a sprint to December 31?
Over the last couple of years of holiday seasons, I decided that I didn’t want to survive the holiday season, I wanted to thrive in it! I love this time of year and while I don’t think you can feel completely calm at all times during this busy season, it’s possible to get to December 31 and not feel like you want to sleep for a week. Here are my best tips for enjoying the holiday season as a mom.
Make a “Holiday Bucket List”
Much like the very popular “Summer Bucket List”, make a list of the activities you want to make sure to do during this holiday season. Enlist your family members in choosing one or two of their favorite or most-loved holiday activities to come up with a family list. You can find so many great ideas on our site here. If these are scheduled events, get them on the calendar now. If they aren’t scheduled events, still put them on the calendar! This practice saves me from the overwhelm of SO MANY activities and also frees me from having too much worry about not getting “enough” in during the holidays.
Plan for Christmas Gifts Now!
Chances are there will be gift giving during the coming weeks and months. Take some time now to write out EVERY gift you think you will be giving. Neighbor gifts, teacher gifts, family gifts, hostess gifts; list out any and all gifts. Start planning and buying them now! I keep lists in my phone with ideas throughout the year, so when the holidays come around I’m not left guessing and scrambling for ideas. And also, see my last tip for more detail, but be thoughtful and realistic about your gift lists! Give yourself permission to determine what your plan looks like and feel confident that it’s right for you.
Take Time for Self-Care and Health
We all know how busy the holiday season can get. It can also be a trying, difficult time of year for many people. It’s full of lights and parties and people, but also can be cold and dark and overwhelming. Taking some time to plan for self-care can be so helpful in avoiding burnout and also in allowing yourself to feel good. Make a list (can you tell I really thrive on lists?) of things you can do that make YOU happy. Try not to plan and schedule every single minute so there is more time for rest and renewal and comfort. It’s okay to reschedule, scale back, or rearrange.
If you need some ideas of ways to boost your energy, mood or well-being, check out this list a mom put together of ideas she sourced from all her Instagram followers. So many good ideas if this season can be a difficult one for you.
Service & Gratitude
This is a wonderful time of year to find big or small ways to find gratitude in what we have and give back in small, or big, ways. Teaching our children these values should be a significant part of the holiday season. From personal experience, serving my community during the holiday season, showing gratitude for the blessings in my life, and involving my children in these activities are some of the most impactful memories of every holiday season! I would also suggest this tip be at the top of your list if you find the holidays to be a more difficult time of year. We can bring a lot of joy and peace to others and to ourselves through service and gratitude.
Choose What YOU Love
This is one of the keys to enjoying your holiday season (and life in general, I believe)! We are constantly bombarded with things these days: things to buy, things to do, things to see, things to try. It has been essential for me to really focus on what I love to do and what my family loves to do. Focusing on these true interests will leave you feeling fulfilled and content, instead of left feeling frazzled and exhausted from trying to fit it ALL in. Neighbor gifts aren’t your thing? Replace it with something else. Do you really love holiday décor? Deck the halls! But if you don’t, that’s okay. Last year, my little family was on our own for Christmas. In lieu of a big Christmas dinner, we did a very simple dinner (on the floor, in front of our Christmas tree) commemorating what was most important to us. We LOVED it and felt so happy! It’s okay to say no to some things, to make room to say yes to the thing you truly love.
You do not have to just survive the holiday season. Take some time now to think about what is best for you and your family. Make a plan now to truly have a happy holidays!