How to Have a Jolly Christmas Without Hitting the Nog
People have a long-standing romance with Christmas.
Maybe it’s the glamour cutting through the monotony of daily life. Maybe it’s the traditions that act as tiny anchors binding us through time. Or maybe it’s permission to embrace our childhood wonder. Whatever it is, we love this time of year. And like any good romance, chances are you look back remember the good times.
But every mother knows that this joyous season has a dark side. You know the magic doesn’t just happen. It’s you.
You’re working behind the curtain, running yourself ragged, trying to create glorious memories for your children. I get it, you only have so many Christmas’s before adulthood snatches your candy cane and jabs you in the thigh. The problem is that you’re oozing stress and slapping on Band-Aids in hopes that nobody notices. Well.
They do. Especially when you’re beating another woman over the head with a wrapping paper tube because she grabbed the last Barbie Dreamhouse.
Every year you vow next year will be better, but it turns out just as chaotic. And you don’t know why. Your dream of sharing in the excitement alongside your children seems impossible. Know what?
It is possible. You can live in the moment rather than watch it fly by you like a crash landing 747.
Take time to read the following tips and make this season merry for everyone—including you!
Santa has all year to prep. You do not.
You know those people who brag about getting their Christmas shopping done in Summer? Don’t you just want to reach over and knock the pina colada out of their smug hand? Just me? Any who… Here are some more realistic ways you can prepare ahead of time.
- Write down everything you wish to get done and mark deadlines in your calendar.
- Set alarms as reminders to work on tasks and then forget about it. Savor the moments in between.
- Buy these items early: Christmas pajamas/ugly Christmas sweaters/wrapping supplies/stamps
- Order cards before Thanksgiving.
- Keep a master card list and update throughout the year.
- Speed up the card process by printing out addresses. It will take time to set up, but it can be done early and will save you time in the future.
- Buy presents in one online session, or make one shopping trip.
- Use master gift list and package tracker. Use these free printables.
- Save all emails with tracking info in one folder.
- Don’t leave stocking stuffers to the last minute.
- Bake unfrosted cookies and freeze them.
- Wrap gifts as you receive them.
- If hosting, finalize the menu 3 weeks prior.
Wrap it up in a pretty bow.
There are some Christmas tasks that just suck, but we need to suck it up and get them done. This year, put a new spin on it. If you hate addressing cards or wrapping gifts, invite a friend over, put on some Christmas music and have some grownup hot chocolate. Suddenly it becomes an enjoyable experience. And if the girls are too busy, force your husband to help and call it bonding.
There are elves for that.
Do you think Santa cleans his own home, cooks his own food, and wraps his own presents? No. He delegates so he can sit on his butt 364 days of the year chewing on gumdrops and drinking cocoa. If it weren’t for the glaring human rights violations, I’d tip my hat to the guy.
But even in the real world, elves still exist. I’m talking about the hard-workers in restaurants, supermarkets, and department stores. Yeah, you have to pay, but they’re here to help. If you want to reduce your stress, delegate. Nobody will care if you don’t cook everything from scratch, so mix in items from a restaurant or bakery. Stress-reducing can also be a good deed it you seek out a charity gift-wrapping service.
Don’t over-stuff the stocking.
After you’ve written out your Christmas to-do list, look at what you can live without. Can you skip the cards this year? How about you choose only a few activities from the Christmas Bucket List? There are so many great ideas that will get us in the holiday spirit, but trying to jam it all in will only put pressure on us. And don’t be afraid to say no to people.
- Watch a Christmas movie
- Decorate a gingerbread house
- Take a Christmas light tour around town with hot chocolate
- Dance to Christmas music at home with your kids
- Play outdoors
- Christmas craft
- Picnic by the tree
- Make a gift
- Bake Christmas goodies
Volunteer work may take more effort, but it’s a sure way to lift your spirits and set a great example for your children. If you’d like to choose a more meaningful activity, this post is full of great ideas.
Join in reindeer games.
I mentioned activities above, but I want to add that it’s important to be brave. What’s the one Christmas activity that brought you the most joy as a child? We grow up and stop being adventurous. Christmas is a time where you shouldn’t worry about being an adult. Push yourself to try something a little messy or embarrassing like karaoke, snowball fights or sledding. You’ll get crazy respect from your kids if you end up flying into a snow bank.
In the end, the only thing that matters is seeing a smile spread across your child’s face. Don’t forget to stop and look up every now and then. You don’t want to miss it.