With Christmas around the corner, it has me thinking a lot about family traditions, gift giving, and everything that this time of year can bring. And if your household is like ours – then it is a fun, but very busy, time of year! You might ask “How do I find a better balance this Holiday season?” – let me share my secrets with you!
We truly appreciate and look forward to all of the celebrations! Like the decorations, the school parties, baking those special recipes, the big family and/or friend dinners, Holiday parties, and on and on and on – I love it all! But when I think about my to-do list, it can start to feel a bit overwhelming.
I have learned over the years that when it starts to add up, and I begin to feel stressed, I need to pause and dial back to the basics. By doing this it allows me to re-prioritize, let go of what is not needed, and move forward with the upcoming holiday season in a much better headspace.
What I want for you this year is the same – to have as little stress as possible, and tons of enjoyable moments as a family!
This article is written by Karissa Tunis
For more on this topic, check out the full Happy Holidays collection
Consider What Is Important
Start by asking yourself this one basic question first: What is important? Or what is the focus of this holiday? My answer: It starts with gratefulness.
Thanksgiving kicked off the Holiday season with encouraging us to truly consider what being thankful and grateful means. So when I take a moment to just think about these two words, it puts things into perspective. I am so incredibly thankful for my amazing children, my wonderful husband, a warm house, a safe place to live, my dear friends, yummy food on the table, and clothes on our backs . . . basically, the basics.
If we can learn to appreciate these incredible basics that we are fortunate to have, then the rest just becomes an added bonus.
I recently read an article that stated the “#1 thing that you can do to ensure you raise a good child, is to teach them to be grateful.” – WOW!! Imagine if we all lived life feeling grateful and appreciative – our world would be a much better place! But it starts at home. It starts by teaching this simple, yet deep concept to your children.
And by focusing on this one point, it will help you better prioritize and find that better balance this Holiday.
Maybe this year you could try to stress less about putting out so many decorations, and instead create a Thankful Tree as a family.
Recently a friend and I were discussing our family traditions for the holidays. We laughed as we thought back to when we were having our babies. We put so much pressure on ourselves not only to continue with the traditions that we grew up with, but also to create lots of new traditions as a new little family.
Whew, it was a lot!
Traditions are supposed to be fun, memory-creating moments. But they can also sometimes be just one more thing on your to-list. So STOP! Stop right now and reassess. Is it truly bringing you and your family joy? If not, you might want to consider letting it go.
Last year my family moved from Pennsylvania to South Carolina. It has been so much fun to completely start over! No longer can we do all of the cold winter activities that we did in the North. But that is okay. We are completely starting over with creating fun new memories! And our favorites we will turn into new family traditions. By letting go and starting fresh, it is allowing us to find that better balance this Holiday season.
Give Back and Pay it Forward
As I said above, Thanksgiving is a great time to appreciate all of the many blessings that we have, but don’t let it stop. Christmas is also a great time to help others that are much less fortunate, or might be going through a challenging time.
As a parent, my goal is to teach my children to be grateful for what they have, but also to help them realize that not everyone lives the way that they do. So when you are lucky enough to have more than you need, you should share with others and pay it forward.
I know that sending money or donating to an organization is much easier and quicker, but considering putting in the time to show someone directly that you care. It is amazing how even just a few minutes can put a smile on someone’s face, and leave a lasting impact on a child’s memory.
Recently I compiled a list of simple ways that you and your family can pay your blessings forward this year. Hopefully, this list will inspire you to give back and pay it forward.
Of course, we want to be at every party, every gathering, and at every event! But is that what is truly important? Is that giving us that better balance this Holiday? Your focus and priorities should be more about spending quality time with the ones we love, not packing your schedule full.
Sit down and take a long thorough look at the calendar. What activities are really important? And are there any that could maybe be skipped for a laid-back game night at home with just your family, and/or a few close friends?
Make sure that you are balancing your schedule with plenty of downtime (especially for the kids!). Remember, just because you aren’t saying yes to everything now, doesn’t mean you can’t do it later. You have a whole year ahead for you to plan all kinds of events and adventures.
And consider this – we are still in the thick of the Holiday season, and it all goes by very quickly! But try to avoid feeling burnt out before you even get to ringing in the New Year.
Prepare Ahead For a Better Balance this Holiday
I know, preparing ahead is much easier said than done! But the world doesn’t stop, and extra hours won’t magically appear in your day. So, if we know the next few weeks will be more busy than usual, let’s try our best to prep before as much as possible.
Does your job allow you to work a little extra now so that you can take some additional time off later? If so, take advantage of that! If not, at least by working ahead now, it will hopefully help you feel a little less stressed later on.
It is always much easier to get through a busy phase with a clean(er) house than it is to be doing chores on top of everything else! Before the rush happens, block out a weekend and work together as a family to get everything in order. Hopefully, you can get by with just the daily “maintenance” versus having to figure out when you might have time to mop the bathroom floors.
Try making a few recipes in bulk now and freezing for later on. There are lots of wonderful freezer meal recipes on Pinterest! And as you are volunteering to bring dishes for parties and family dinners, try offering to bring the same (or similar) to each. This will make grocery shopping and baking much easier if you are just replicating, or doing it all in one big batch.
Who doesn’t love a thoughtful hostess or holiday gift?! But taking the time to think of different gifts for everyone on your list can be exhausting! Consider picking a theme for the year, and give gifts based on that… maybe Holiday flowers or Winter-themed kitchen accessories. You can still give different items, but this will help you spend less time running from one store to the next, and the gift will still be greatly appreciated!
I hope these tips provide you with a little extra inspiration for getting through the season in style, with ease, and with a better balance this Holiday! Blessing to you and your families as you celebrate this very special time of year!
For more on this topic, check out the full Happy Holidays collection