The winter holidays are rapidly approaching, and naturally, we want to do it all. We want to make sure that we don’t miss out on any photo opportunities, chances for our little ones to see Santa or make cute holiday crafts. Then, there are all the holiday sales and the latest trends to keep up with and the perfect gifts to find. So, how do we have fun this holiday season, stay sane, and not miss out on anything?
This is key. Kids thrive on knowing what to expect and when, so the more you can keep your normal schedule and routines, the better. When it’s not possible (and it’s often not possible during the holidays), let your little ones know about changes to their day or week as far in advance as you can. Even something like, “Normally, after lunch we do nap and quiet time, but today, we’re going to…” can make a big difference for little ones who thrive on routines. Read more about keeping the peace and keeping your routines during the holidays here.
What do you really want to do?
What do you feel like you should do?
Do the stuff you truly want to do and skip the rest.
Consider what’s best for your littles, given their current ages, interests, and abilities. Is going to second-cousin Sally’s sister’s house for a late family gathering going to result in meltdowns and wrangling your kiddos all night instead of talking to the other adults? Don’t go! If you really need to see them, make it your present to them to have a quiet family gathering after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season (ie, sometime in January).
And, while we’re on the topic of what you really need to do, do your littles truly need to see each and every Santa or is one enough?
Are they going to scream at the thought of sitting on a strange man’s lap? Then maybe it’s better to get a picture of them happily watching Santa from a distance and save the Santa photos for another year. Just my two cents, because if we think about it, telling kids it’s okay to sit on a stranger’s lap because we said it’s okay, but also telling them not to talk to strangers is a bit confusing. No wonder they want to cry!
Throw perfection out the window and remind yourself that you’re enough. Yes, we want everything to be perfect. Trust me, I get it. Anyone who knows me pre-kids and is reading this is probably in shock that I’d say something about it being okay if everything isn’t just perfect. After all, who could possibly host a Christmas dinner with something not quite right? ME! Done is better than perfect.
Let me repeat that for you- DONE is better than PERFECT. It truly is.
Anyone coming over to your house for anything should understand that you have small children. That means that you have LESS free time, and need your sleep MORE than the average person. It’s okay if things aren’t perfect. It’s okay if you don’t spend all day shopping driving around to find the right shade of red for the decorations. Done is better than perfect, and whatever you’re able to get done is good enough. If anyone argues with you, show them this article and make me the bad guy or show them the door. Seriously. Give yourself a break. Your kids won’t remember if you had everything done perfectly. In fact, they’re more apt to remember the time you spent playing with them or that you let them help decorate the tree and decorate the house than they are to remember how perfect everything was.
Along with throwing perfection out the window (it’s quite freeing, believe me!), ask for help. Or, invite people to bring a dish to dinner. Why should you have to host AND cook everything? It’s okay to ask people to bring their favorite side dish or bring a dessert.
And, while we’re at it, consider not using your fine china. GASP, I know. But, hear me out. You’ll save dishes (aka, time and effort) and you’ll save worrying that something will happen to your fine china. Wait until the littles are older to bust it out and use it once or twice a year. After all, the goal is to spend quality time with your guests, right? Not all your time in the kitchen.
When we shift our focus to making memories instead of getting things, we shift our emphasis to what matters most- time with those that are most important to us. Do you remember every single present you’ve gotten? Do you still have it all? Odds are, you don’t. But, what lasts are the memories. Take those pictures. Have fun. Don’t worry about it being perfect or going and buying out the store to see their faces light up this holiday season. Instead, give them the gift of time and a happy mom, not a tired and stressed out one whose focus is on trying to make everything perfect and is missing out on precious time with her little ones in this season of life. Find out more about making memories and giving gifts that are sure to make memories here.
And, I know. You still need to get at least SOME gifts. Why not make those gifts something they can use or that will help them make memories? Check out my ideas for families, busy moms, traveling families, and toddlers and preschoolers.
I get it though.
It’s SOOOO hard to remember that “less is more” and that “it’s the thought that counts” when we’re bombarded with everything pretty, shiny, brand new and on sale this holiday season. We see what others are buying and have already received and we want to make sure we don’t miss out either, and more importantly, that our children don’t miss out. But, in the long run, decorating cookies, snuggling with hot chocolate and watching a Christmas classic, walking slowly to look at all the Christmas lights, doing some crafts and sending homemade cards or treats is what will make the biggest impact. It’s what your little ones will look back and remember- not that you were up all night preparing to make things perfect for the next day.
And, there you have it- some of my tried and true methods, from a busy mom of 2 little ones and reforming perfectionist!
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