Focus on Family: Reducing holiday stress

Eirene Heidelberger

GIT Mom
www.gitmom.com

Eirene's Tips:

Set a Budget
It’s important to live within your means. You're not a money machine, so get off the holiday hoopla that catapults families into debt. Set yourself a realistic budget for each family member and stick to it. In our family each child gets one gift within a set budget. Each child creates wish lists to cut out the junk and make sure dollars are spent wisely. This helps teach children financial responsibility too. Also be direct with family members, if they really want to know what your child wants, tell them. Don't be shy. Sets budgetary expectations and remove that anxiety.

Get rid of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
No matter how hard you try or how much you buy there will always be others who buy their kids a pony. Commit to not trying to keep up with other families. Get rid of FOMO. You don't know their situation, and you are only responsible for yours - so don't compare yourself to others because you're all that matters.

Create Realistic Expectations and Deadlines
Being a good parent isn't measured by what you do from now through New Year's Eve, it's what you do every single day and how you treat your children. We moms hold ourselves to the mythical standard that “good mothering” demands a mother's total self and the mothers' needs do not count.
Mammas, you matter! So create realistic expectations and deadlines on what you can and cannot achieve. Christmas cards? Either let the Christmas cards go or mail them late. Trust me, nobody cares when they receive it, they're just happy to see your pretty family picture. Decorations? You have to give yourself a strict deadline to finish decorating your home. If you want a beautiful, twinkly holiday haven then get it done OR scale back completely.
Baking? Please save your time and energy. If you love the timeless tradition of baking intricately decorated sugar cookies then recognize you are keeping it alive for you. If you are not doing it for yourself, then save your time and go to sleep.

Just Say No!
Be choosy about what you commit to and don’t be afraid to say no. We receive non-stop invitations during the holiday season but we can only do so much, on top of our already packed daily schedule. Don’t be afraid to decline invitations, just be upfront about it and reschedule for the New Year. Be choosy about your child’s commitments too. The best way to honor your child and his schedule is to keep a tight rein on parties and play date invitations that are added to an already jam-packed month. You know yourself and your family best and how much you can all handle physically and mentally. Trust me, nobody cares if you volunteer at the school holiday party or not, but, if you're overloaded and yelling at your kids they sure will.

Stay Home
Pick one night a week during December for your entire family to stay home, eat dinner together early, watch a movie and rest. Open up your calendar and choose a night where everybody is in, then write a huge X on that date, inform your gang and lock your doors. Trust me, you'll thank me in the morning.

Compartmentalize The Mess
I absolutely love to clean, I’m an absolute clean freak. But, I've learned to compartmentalize messy areas of my home and let them go when I'm super busy and have even been known to take the piles of stuff I don't have time for and throw them in my guest bedroom and shut the door. The holidays are a busy time and you just do not have time to clean with a Martha Stewart fine glove. It's okay. Clean what you can, let the rest go, and then schedule deep cleanings for after the New Year. Hey, you can even write it in your new 2018 calendar as your first to-do! Just let it go in December.

Have a Mantra
Forget about creating a perfect holiday for your family. It’s far better for everyone if you aim for your kids to be smiling and happy. Tell yourself “I am only one person, I am mom enough, what's important is we are happy and healthy and together and not racing to every single holiday obligation.” Also, if you are kids ask why aren’t doing XYZ, tell them “every family celebrates the holidays differently, and that’s okay!”.