The holidays can be a wonderful time full of joy and laughter. Or they can be a dreaded time full of stress and exhaustion. Sometimes it might be a combination of both.
I know quite a few people that tend to run on the stressed and exhausted side during the holidays. This is not really surprising though is it? Especially for moms.
One year I had a friend that attended 3 different family Thanksgivings. One of those gatherings she hosted. Then Christmas rolled along. After hosting a party on Christmas eve and attending 2 separate family gatherings Christmas day she was exhausted. By the time New Years came around she was ready to leave the country to get a break! But she couldn’t because, you know, she was hosting a New Years eve party.
While everyone is not doing as much as my friend I think that many of us can relate to this on a small scale. We want to please and take care of everyone that we completely forget to take care of ourselves and actually enjoy the holidays.
I am very happy to report that I truly enjoy the holidays and all that they bring. Sure, there are the tiring days but for the most part they are typically very joy filled and relaxing. How are we able to accomplish this you ask? Here are a few of the things we do that help us to enjoy the holiday season.
Set healthy holiday boundaries.
When my husband and I were newly married we informed both of our families that we loved them dearly but there may be holidays that we travel or spend alone. We told them that we wanted the holidays to be a time that we chose to be together, not that we are forced to be together. This is one of the best decisions we made as a young married couple.
Cook something simple.
The holiday feast can be quite the undertaking, especially for mom. One year we decided to do a Christmas stir fry instead of your typical holiday meal. It was so much easier! We don’t do this every year but it was refreshing to change things up.
Go out to eat or order in.
One year a very dear friend of mine and her family went to a nice restaurant for a Thanksgiving lunch. They said it was so wonderful to go out for a delicious meal and have no prep or clean up. I had never thought to do this but was intrigued by the idea. We went out to a nice restaurant for Christmas Eve dinner for the first time last year. I am a total fan!
There are many nice restaurants that make holiday dinners that you can pick up ready to serve. This is a nice option if you still want to have the comforts of home but don’t want to cook.
Limit your holiday parties.
There are always a lot of fun parties and activities going on during the holidays. I find that if we go to too many it can begin to get tiring and burn us out. We try to chose our gatherings very carefully especially with a munchkin in tow. If you don’t want to miss out on any parties just limit the amount of time you spend at the party. Maybe just stay an hour instead of 3 hours. Although, if you are a parent and the kiddos are with a babysitter stay out as long as you can!
Get out of dodge.
Going on a holiday vacation is wonderful! The first time Matt and I went out of town for the holidays was for our 5 year anniversary. We went on a 2 week trip to Thailand. I was hesitant about missing Thanksgiving but it was one of the best vacations of our lives. Did I miss celebrating Thanksgiving? Sure! But I knew that there would always be next year.
After my dad passed away two years ago my mom decided that she wanted to get out of town for Christmas. This will be our third Christmas going away as a family to celebrate the holiday. My siblings and I come and take part for the amount of time we are able to. There is no obligation or commitment. We are all there because we want to be.
Celebrate on a different day.
I know for some people the actual date of the holiday is very important. But for me Thanksgiving and Christmas is not about a specific date but about the time with those we love. In our family we have a lot of different schedules to work around, just like many families out there. That has helped us to be open and adapt to celebrating the holidays on different dates. For example my brother and sister in law are nurses and tend to work on the holidays so we sometimes celebrate a few days before or after the actual holiday date. This flexibility is really helpful when working around multiple schedules.
Take off the pressure.
I think that people, especially parents, can put too much pressure on the ‘”holidays”. We have to visit Santa. We have to go caroling. We have to bake cookies. We have to _______ (fill in the blank). Ask yourself why are you doing what you are doing. Is it really important to hike a mile into the forest and cut down your own Christmas tree? Or did your neighbor do it so now you are feeling pressure to keep up? Make the holidays about what makes you and your family happy, ignore everyone else.
If you are a person that truly enjoys the holidays I am so excited for you!!!
Keep doing what you are doing. But if you are a person that dreads the holidays more than anticipates them do something about it. It is never too late to introduce healthy boundaries, make new traditions and get the most out of what the holidays have to offer.
May your holidays be filled with joy, hope, quality time with those you love and maybe even some relaxation. How do you feel about the holidays? Do you have a tips to share? If you tend to dread the holidays are there ways that you could make them a more enjoyable experience?
This is the first part of the Changing up the Holidays series. You may also enjoy:
This post can also be found on the Simply Every Mom Life Mondays Link Party.