As soon as holiday season hits, life gets exponentially more busy. It doesn’t matter what holidays you celebrate — they all bring chaos to a whole different level.
From buying presents, to extra kid activities, to planning get togethers — and of course, the budgeting (because holidays are hella expensive!), it’s enough to make us all burn out really quickly. In all honesty, I think I spend half the time wishing that I had a fairy Godmother appear who would sprinkle some fairy dust and take care of all the prep work, but it’s always just wishful thinking and I end up dragging my tired mom ass to get it all done myself.
But this year? I decided that things would be different (while keeping in mind that I’m not a lazy mom, but in survival mode). I’m planning ahead, getting a budget intact, and asking some experts about how to really up the ante with my multitasking skills. But within the same breath, the stress that the holidays can bring on is enough to start asking ourselves some serious questions, the main one being why we’re putting so much pressure on ourselves during a season of celebration.
I think a lot of it stems from us wanting to create wonderful memories for the people we care about most, but there’s a lot of truth to the notion that so much of the everyday emotional labor weighs heavy on women in general. We do the planning and the delegating, and while I wish there was a “right” answer to how to handle this, I just want to remind you all to take some deep breaths when you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t forget to ask for help — even if it’s frustrating to have to ask for the help to begin with.
Organization is key….which is annoying, right?
Heather Logrippo, Mom, Lifestyle Specialist, and Owner of Expose Yourself PR and Distinctive Homes Magazine, says, “The reality is, you're either organized or you’re not, and for those who aren’t, me saying organization is key isn’t going to help you be more organized. So for those people, here’s the real deal: just deal with one group of people to get gifts for at a time. For instance, just focus on getting gifts for the people from your office. Go online or go out shopping just for that group! This way, you avoid being the last-minute-Lucy who picks up tampons and a $10 Walgreens gift card “as a joke” for Judy from the office as a way to cover up your laziness while also trying to jog her memory about the time you had to borrow one from her.”
As the holidays start creeping up on us, I start replacing that Game of Thrones meme “Winter is coming” with “The holidays are coming.” It’s true! The holidays are upon us and if we don’t get our shit together and start early, we can almost guarantee that we’ll be overwhelmed. Robyn Reynolds, founder of Organize2Harmonize and Certified Professional Organizer says, “don't procrastinate. You know the holidays are coming SO prepare. They're not a surprise.”
Remember that the kids don’t need ALL the gifts.
“I always feel like my kids 'don’t have enough to open.' As a result, I tend to go out days before Christmas and buy junk that will sit in a room all year, never to be looked at or played with again. My husband has suggested that we rewrap those gifts the next year and, if I'm being completely honest, I have!” Logrippo says.
This is a big one for me and one of the only ways that I can multitask at all because it makes things visual and easier for me to group similar tasks together. It also takes a lot of stress out of the whole thing, because remember: moms aren’t allowed sicks days! (I’m only half kidding.) “Make lists of everything — gifts, cards, groceries, etc. Carry a small notepad in your purse or make lists in your phone. Whenever you think of something jot it down. Keep adding so that you do all your errands at once. Doing this will help you to not forget what you need to do or get,” Reynolds says. And whenever you do leave the house, she suggests to “take the kids to school, [then] run an errand." Cut down on all the trips to the store by doing more than one errand at a time.
You Might Also Like: Surviving The Holidays When You’re Estranged From Your Mother
Get your kids to help, even if they are little.
Logrippo insists that, “Elves help Santa, right? Make it into a game. They can be vacuuming elves, bed-making elves, Advil-getting elves… Wait, maybe not pill-getting elves… But you get the point. Think about everything you do for them... they can play elf for five minutes so you can get some cooking done!” And in all honesty, getting the kids away from distractions will create fun memories and help you all stay present during the holidays.
Partners do very well with direction.
In my experience with the holidays, my husband often doesn’t realize how much I have planned or all the lists going through my mind, so we make a better team when I let him know what I have to accomplish each day and what not just him, but the whole family can do to help. “Honestly, the best way to multitask is to delegate. Most guys don’t know what to do to help around the holidays; they don’t know what to get you or what you need, but they want to do a good job. So, give them a list and let them know you appreciate it. I guarantee, they will ask for more lists, and then – holiday stress solved!” Logrippo shares.
And if you’re cooking…
Cooking can be a pleasure and a headache all at the same time, and just like every other component of the holiday season, cut down on the headache aspect by grouping all of your cooking stuff together to be done at the same time. If you’re like me, being able to cross off this huge chunk of your to-do list will pretty much breathe new life right back into you. Reynolds says, “Plan your menu in advance and check your pantry and fridge before you go shopping to avoid buying duplicates or overbuying.”
Holiday season, here we come! And when it’s all over, breathe a sigh of relief, and don’t forget to snag 10 minutes of alone time — you deserve it. Here’s hoping that I end up falling somewhere between well-rested and Pinterest-perfection.