The first year we moved to Columbus it was in December that I met a group of bloggers, and they all were asking if we got tickets to the Snowflake castle. One mom proudly explained that they landed weekend tickets (impossible to find), and couldn’t wait to take her girls. I frantically googled Snowflake Castle when I got home and realized it wasn’t going to be possible to see what the fuss was about this year; they literally did sell out within hours.
Would my kids ever have a good Christmas if they didn’t get to experience the Snowflake Castle too?
Not to mention, I never even looked into the Polar Express.
The holidays take mom guilt to a whole other level. Even if you finished shopping in time, there are the special events, tree lightings, light displays, work parties, charity donations, Disney on Ice, and the list goes on. The difference between prioritizing in the holiday season and normal life is that all those things during the holiday season are wonderful and good — you want to do it all, you really do! But all the coffee in the world wouldn’t make that a possible feat.
And adding a third baby bump to that has made me even slower this year than normal. While yes, we got our tree on Thanksgiving weekend (score!) it’s been in our living room and we haven’t gotten up the energy to start decorating it (fail!)
So for today, this blog post is not going to be about how to avoid holiday stress. Once I started writing this, I realized that’s absolutely impossible. So instead, let’s talk about some realistic tips about how to embrace the craziness of the holidays and make sure you’re doing the activities you and your family enjoy the most.
- Shop early and online. How many times have you said, “Oh, but the shopping experience in the holidays is part of it!” I know I have. But it isn’t an experience when you are fighting for parking spots, they don’t have (your super tall husband’s) size, they ran out of the print you want (oh, but we can order it online for you!), and every other shopper is bumping into you and spilling their holiday latte on your coat. Not the experience I aim for. Not to mention, shopping online has earned me over $120 in Ebates just this month (don’t do that math …) I find it easier to organize discounts and specials online anyways, and I know it will get delivered right to my door.
- Pick one special event per week. I will mention, we got Snowflake tickets this year. And I hope it lives up to the hype. But the point is, if you live in Columbus, you know there is literally an endless list of holiday events you could pick (thanks to Julie for putting this list together!) Every time I read through it, I get overwhelmed by how much I should be doing with my boys to make it a magical season for them. Until I realize that’s impossible and just not true. They won’t have fun with a stressed out mom, so we pick one awesome event each week to do together as a family, and that’s it. We need time at home to recharge, watch movies, and relax. The holidays aren’t about how much you get to do, but how much quality time you get to spend with your family.
- Say no to event invites that don’t excite you. It’s OK, really it is. Janie at SheJustGlows wrote this post about No in November and I could totally relate. I can confess in the last month I have given up 3+ hours for MLM events (I love the products, this is not a knock at them). The honest truth though is that I would have rather been spending that time doing something else. It wasn’t my top pick. So I decided that guilt isn’t making my RSVP choices anymore, especially during a busy holiday season. Is your commitment something you are excited about doing and you have the time? YES? Otherwise, a big fat, guilt-free no should be the answer!
- Stick with your workout routine. Working out during pregnancy is my sanity. Working out during the holidays while pregnant is my lifeline. Sweating, moving and zoning out will do so much to get you through the holiday season, it’s unbelievable. I have picked a goal of working out 3 times per week (this is a stretch for me), and it keeps me motivated. What’s your workout goal?
- Book some pamper time for end of December NOW. If you can work it into December, good for you, but that wasn’t looking likely on my end. So I went ahead and booked a prenatal massage on December 30. Looking forward to that all month may just get me through. Whatever it is you think will recharge you, but can’t make the calendar before Christmas, I encourage you to schedule it now so you can look forward to it all month long. You’ll have earned it by then, that’s for sure!
- Realize some plans will flop. There is nothing more upsetting than getting kids psyched up for a holiday season event only to get there and realize it wasn’t worth the hype. But it will happen. Or maybe your child is out of sorts and has a major meltdown on the way there, where you decide it’s better to turn around and do nothing instead. Whatever the reason, life happens and not everything will match your expectations. That’s reality, and it’s OK. Not everything will be as picture perfect as Miracle on 34th Street.
I’m sharing some of our family Thanksgiving weekend pictures below. It was wonderful spending time with both sides of the family, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t slightly stressful hosting this big of a crew. I always look back and realize how silly it was to get stressed out, though. Maybe the lesson is — don’t be stressed, let the little stuff go, and savor the season! It’s so short after all!