Now that we have given gratitude for all that we have, can we have a real conversation about the anxiety and stress that comes with the Holiday Season?  You have the intersection of family from afar and family that is near amped up by the sheer number of invites to gather, then add the extra time off work and school to reflect on the happenings of the year and dormant feelings are bound to surface. And I didn’t’ even mention the consumption of alcohol, the pressures of hosting and the gift exchange.

I am a total people pleaser and I love to throw a fabulous party. I place unnecessary stress on myself to ensure everyone else has what they need.  Overthinking every get together to insert holiday cheer.  Lately, I’ve taken inventory of my efforts and I’ve learned that I need to pace myself.  The division of labor on the home front has always been a point of contention in my marriage.  I’ll overwork myself with the details and then feel resentful if my husband doesn’t know the plan and doesn’t jump in to tackle some component of it. These are five steps that help to take to bypass the holiday stress

Create Boundaries

  1.  Boundaries are okay even during the holidays!
    • Hostess with the mostest? people pleaser? family consultant? Friendly confidant?  If these descriptions sound like you, you are likely opening your doors to help, host and gather but that doesn’t mean you can’t have boundaries.  Don’t sacrifice your own mental health trying to be everything to everyone else.
    • Don’t overextend yourself if it’s going to exhaust you.  It’s hard not to say yes to every event but trying to squeeze too much in isn’t enjoyable.  Be realistic about what you can and cannot do.
    • Don’t flex on your house rules to make other people comfortable (for example, if your kids have a bedtime and guest linger longer than that time you can’t expect the kids to not act a fool).  I’ve been viewed as rigid when our girls were younger, we will proceed with our routine regardless of the occasion.
Entertaining for the Holidays

Tis’ the season to Double Down where you can!

  1.  Work smarter not harder.  
    • Efficiency is key!  This holiday is to be celebrated with your friends and family not slaving over the small details.  Find ways to take shortcuts on tedious tasks!
    • I like the printed gift boxes and holiday gift bags.  Wrapping is a time suck.  I love a beautiful presentation but if it’s taxing cut it out.
    • Double your appetizers.  You are likely to be attending multiple events within the same day with different attendees at each place so make a larger quantity of the same dish to pass.
    • Popular Gifts of the season tend to trend across age groups.  What elementary girl isn’t into LOLs right now?  Bulk buy those gifts so you only have to check out one time and avoid paying to ship.  The young adults/teens love Kendra Scott jewelry.  May I suggest Swurly Silk Lined Winter Hats for a stocking stuffer. (You knew that was coming!) 
Avoid holiday stress

Keep it light and bright

  1.  Steer away from divisive or negative topics of conversation.  
    • There is so many negative things that happen throughout the year but focus on the spirit of the holiday.  
    • Table politics and religion for another time
    • Family drama and past transgressions can be discussed in separate settings
    • You know your peeps and you know what will ignite conflict.  If you want to dive deep in a one on one, go for it but avoid ruining the occasion for everyone.

Set Traditions

  1.  My kids are much more inquisitive about the agenda these days.  By setting annual traditions, all family members can get on board and be informed.
    • “How many days to ___?  Who is coming over for ___?  When are, we going to ___?   Etc. Etc.”  Setting traditions removes the anxiety from those set holiday events and activities. 
    • The logistics of coordinating schedules can be eliminated by ironing out an annual tentative day for say your side of the family and your partner’s side of the family.  
    • We have in the past had both grandparents Christmas on the same day.  It’s always rushed and stressful, so moving forward I am hoping to have them on different days.

Reserve time for your crew!

  1. If you have family staying with you it can be tough to find time for just your squad.  Your immediate family needs you, so reserve a little time for them too.
    • Take advantage of the extra help and sneak away for a winter date with your husband too.  James and I are looking forward to a romantic couple’s getaway after Christmas!

From our family to yours we wish you a happy holiday season.  Make magical memories this season and try to bypass the stress!