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The most magical time of the year is often also the most stressful time of the year. We want life to resemble a Hallmark movie — the smell of perfectly baked cookies, a home reminiscent of a Pottery Barn catalog, and families smiling and laughing. It’s easy to get carried away with buying more and adding endless activities to our plate, striving for this picture of holiday perfection.
Let’s keep it real: The house will be a mess. There will be Christmas cards scattered across the table begging to be addressed (IF we remember to order them at all). Children will squeal with holiday excitement, parents will feel the creative pressure of moving the Elf, and an abundance of holiday events will call your name. It’s easy to see why many of us feel frazzled.
>> RECOMMENDED RESOURCE :: A Guide to Winter Holiday Events in Collin County <<
This year, make things simple. Keep the focus on making meaningful memories with your family with these tips.
Make a Short List
Make a short list of favorite holiday activities and traditions. Which traditions left you the sweetest memories from years past? I asked my six year old and was surprised her favorites included making gingerbread cookies and walking in the Deerfield neighborhood to look at lights while sipping hot cocoa. Only do what sparks joy and live with no fear of missing out.
Forgive the Mess
Accept that the house may be more cluttered than usual this month. If it makes you a momzilla (guilty!), plan a weekend morning for your spouse to take the kids out for breakfast or to run errands while you stay home and organize to your heart’s content.
If celebrating at multiple houses feels overwhelming, decide as a family if you want to preserve Christmas morning or another specific time to spend at home with just your immediate family unit.
>> RELATED READ :: ‘Tis the Season :: How to Stay Sane During the Holidays <<
Keep Gift Cards on Hand
There is always someone I forget until the last minute. An extra teacher, a bus driver, a family member’s stocking stuffer. Yes, personal gifts are thoughtful, but a simple gift card will always be appreciated and used. Have your child make a homemade card for that special touch to go with it.
Stick to Your Strengths
Does the thought of making a gingerbread house drive you crazy? Skip it! Save your energy for activities you enjoy. Love art but hate cooking and baking? Embrace crafting with the kids and buy your holiday treats this year. Offer to pick up a delicious Emporium Pie or pre-made side dish for the holiday gathering.
Don’t make this the month to try a bunch of new recipes. Stick to tried and true favorites, the ones you know by heart. Stock the freezer with frozen appetizers, so you’re always prepared in event of hosting guests, and pre-made family meals for the busy nights. HEB has amazing family meals. If you need a reset from heavy holiday foods, a rotisserie chicken, garlic bread loaf, and salad are always a quick and delicious option!
Let Go of Perfection
Let the kids wrap presents if they want. Sure, there will be gaps and way too much tape, but they will be wrapped with love.
Avoid the temptation to move the ornaments on the tree after your child hangs them. It can be hard, I know! This year my tree will be decorated from the middle up, other than a handful of soft ornaments on the bottom for my toddler to yank on and yank off.
Allow your photos to capture the beautiful phase of life you’re in rather than an illusion of perfection.
Limit Social Media
Holidays are already overstimulating, so avoid the advertisements and shiny posts from influencers distorting reality. Try to reduce the amount of time you spend on social media. Don’t fall into the trap of comparison during the holidays when we want to embrace giving and peace. Use the time normally spent scrolling to savor a rare moment of quiet and be present.
Make Time for What Matters
Is reading a nightly advent story with your child a goal? Prioritize it and make it a part of your routine.
Are you excited to spend time with family coming into town? Put your time and effort into planning a simple but fun itinerary at places like the Gaylord Texan, Grapevine (the Christmas Capital of Texas), and Holiday at the Arboretum in Dallas. Make sure to check out our Collin County Moms Guide to Winter Holiday Events for easy planning!
If all else fails, stop to sing and dance to a favorite song (Christmas or other). It’s a great reset. Who knows, it might become your family’s next favorite tradition!
How do you keep the holidays simple? What is one tradition that brings your family the most joy?