The time is upon us. The five-week obstacle course that is the holiday season. From Friendsgiving to Thanksgiving Dinner to school Christmas plays to Holiday teas to concerts to parties – we cram in just as much fun as possible to celebrate the holiday season with those we love the most. But all of the activities can leave our heads spinning. So just how do we survive this gauntlet of fun without turning into the Grinch?
Make Your List (and Check it Twice)
Because there are so many things going on this time of year, the first tip to surviving the holiday season is to write all the things down. If you need more ideas of things to do this time of year, check out the New Orleans Moms Ultimate Guide to Family Holiday Events in and Around New Orleans. Decide what you want to do – and what you have to do. Then write it all down. All of it. In your planner. On your iPhone. Your kitchen calendar. On sticky notes. Whatever method works best for you. But the things must be written or typed in one place so you can get a visual of what is happening and when.
Once you’ve made your list of holiday fun, and the calendar is filled in, you’ll be able to see which days or weeks are the most crammed, and which days you (hopefully) have a little margin. You’ll know when the class Christmas party is so you can give yourself more than 8 hours to pull together your contribution, whatever that may be. Figure out when your work holiday party is taking place and count up any other adult-only activities so you can start reaching out to sitters now.
So now you know what is happening – and when. The next step, and this is very important, is to set realistic expectations for yourself and your family. Not everything on your Holiday To-Do list is going to get done. And even the things that do get done are not going to happen the way you envision them. And that is okay. Nothing sets us up for disappointment more clearly than unrealistic expectations.
If you enter into this season with sky-high expectations of perfectly-groomed and well-mannered children, no meltdowns, no last-minute changes of plans, with everything going according to your well-made plan from step 1…let me tell you – you WILL be disappointed. But don’t let that disappointment get in your way of enjoying what is in front of you.
Embrace the Chaos
The holiday season is chaos. Especially with little kids. Especially with older kids in extracurriculars. Especially for everyone. What I’ve learned over the years is that sometimes it is best to let go of control of the situation and just enjoy the moment. Did I have in mind a picture-perfect plate of Christmas cookies last year? Yes. Did my kids make a huge mess and decorate slightly overcooked sugar cookies with globs of icing and sprinkles that were definitely not insta-worthy and barely edible? Also yes. Did we have a great time? You bet we did. Sometimes memories are more important than schedules or plans. Kids are only little once. Christmas is only magic for as long as you let it be.
So here it is, in all its hectic glory. May your days be merry and bright. And may your holidays be filled with joy.