Oh it’s a crazy time of year and with to-do lists that are a mile long, it can be an overwhelming. From getting ready to host out of town guests, finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list, wrapping gifts, sending holiday cards, not missing anyone’s holiday get together for fear of offending them…..Well, you get the idea because these are all things that are part of your life right now too! Finding your holiday zen isn’t always easy but I have three tried and true things that I always do as the holidays approach in order to help save my sanity that I thought I’d share in case they’re helpful for you too!
I live by my calendar but even more so after Thanksgiving and until Christmas since it’s so easy to double book yourself between the invitations, holiday performances, and kid events that happen during this time. Whether you have a shared family calendar or a paper one in your family’s hub, it’s important to ensure that you check your calendar before saying yes in order to avoid double booking but will also allow you to see your week at a glance to determine how many things your family can realistically handle in one day or week.
Trust your gut and send your regrets
By being organized, it’s easier for me to take a look at your calendar and realize when it might be a good idea to send regrets rather than accepting too many invitations. It’s way too easy for me to click yes to an eVite for a neighborhood cookie swap, agree to stop by a holiday open house, and think I’ll make it home in time to change for my husband’s work holiday party but I have to be realistic. If I were to do all of those things in a day, I know I’d make myself crazy and not be in the moment and able to enjoy where I am. Instead I’d be thinking about where I need to be next and watching the clock! I’ve realized that there’s no need to make myself crazy and if looking at my calendar is stressing me out, I need to trust my gut and say no thank you, regardless of how tempting the invitation may be. Trust me when I say that you’ll thank me later!
Make time for each other
By saying no and carving out pockets of time where we don’t have anything scheduled helps preserve family time. During the holidays we love our traditions of baking holiday cookies for our neighbors, watching movies like Christmas Vacation, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Polar Express, wrapping gifts to put under the tree, and finding ways to engage in charity by helping others. These activities help strengthen our family bond and provide time to sit, relax, and find some holiday zen.
Having time at home together also ensures that I’m available for my kids to have important conversations about the issues they’re wondering about. They’re at the age when classmates are challenging their belief in Santa (yes, they still believe at ages 7 and almost 10!) and I like being able to talk about what they think when they bring it up. It’s also a time when they’ve overheard adults talking about family issues and the stress of being together that they don’t quite understand. And since many gatherings involve alcohol, my kids – who are not shy about talking about what they see regarding drinking – often ask about what kinds of beverages are in the bottles and why festive occasions include drinking to celebrate. I know it’s up to me to educate them about how we can enjoy ourselves responsibly as adults who are over 21 while also modeling the behavior I hope they’ll exhibit when they become older.
How do you find your #HolidayZen at this time of year? I know it’s not easy but I hope these four things are achievable baby steps that can help you enjoy the season. Happy holidays!
As a blog ambassador for The Century Council, I am compensated for my involvement but all opinions are my own. Word cloud image courtesy of The Century Council.