“I’m working extra through the holiday season, but I want to be there for my family, too. Any tips for keeping the holiday spirit without stressing out too much?” — Monica from Huntsville, AL
The holiday season is supposed to be one of the most magical times of the year, but often ends up being so stressful and fast paced that, before you know it, New Year’s Eve has arrived and you are left wondering where the pumpkin, turkey and tree went! When you put in extra time at work, whether is it to pay for your magical holiday or support your family, it can be even harder to keep the holiday spirit.
Here are a few tips to get you through the holiday season with your holiday spirit and your sanity intact.
- Who says you have to decorate your home all in one day? Spread out your decorating over several days or even over the entire month of December. I have a two-year old and would love for him to wake up from his nap one day to a winter wonderland, but that is just not going to happen. This year, we are pacing ourselves and adding a few decorations at a time so he can be a part of the process too. Just think of it as decorating with a two year old’s attention span.
- Every year our family looks for ways to give back to others in our community by taking part in volunteer projects. It is a way for us to spend time together and remember that the holidays are about much more than Santa Claus and holiday parties. Contact your local volunteer agency or visit www.volunteermatch.org to look for projects in your area that your family can do together. And remember — you do not have to devote an entire day to a project to share the holiday spirit with someone else. Clean out your closet for Goodwill, drop off a dozen cookies at the local fire department or look for ways to sponsor holiday meals through your local grocery store.
- I have always loved Christmas lights. The other day I saw an ad for a boat tour of lights on a local lake and imagined how much fun that would be. I started trying to figure out when we could squeeze that in, when suddenly I heard a little voice from the back seat say “Look Mommy, a Christmas tree.” We had passed a house decorated with lights with a beautiful tree in the window. I realized that we have our own tour of lights on the way to and from school and work each day. I usually dread the dark rides, but this year I am looking forward to the opportunity to see the beautiful lights around town.
- Thanksgiving has come and gone, but there are still so many things to be thankful for this holiday season. When your family is together, talk about what you are thankful for this year and set a goal to keep the discussion going all season.
- Shopping for gifts can be one of the most stressful tasks of the season. Try to spread out your shopping and tackle one person on your list each week. This will spread out you spending as well. A note to make for next year – start a list on your calendar where you can write down gift ideas throughout the year. When you begin shopping next year, you will have a great list!
- When all else fails, sit down and have a cup of hot chocolate. According to an article on www.webmd.com dark chocolate can decrease stress hormone levels, so enjoy a cup to warm up your body and your spirit this holiday season.
The holiday season can be magical for your family no matter what your schedule is like. You have to find things that work for you, and don’t be afraid to try something new this year. Who knows, you may start a new family tradition. Happy holidays!