The holidays are coming once again, and you can’t wait to see your children’s smiling faces as they eat their favorite dish and open up their presents. The picture in your mind looks so serene; you see them sitting there with a huge grin. Behind all of those pictures on social media of coordinating outfits, the perfect decorations, and smiling faces is a TON of hectic work! You wonder how you will be able to do it all. With work, after school activities, sports, taking care of the home, how can you possibly add preparing for the holidays into your busy days? And what if you can’t afford the toy they have been asking for? If you are like many parents and feeling overwhelmed before the upcoming holiday season, you are not alone.
Here are some tips to help you overcome the overwhelm during the holidays:
1. Make lists and check them twice!
This isn’t just a line in a popular holiday song, this is the real way that you can get a better handle on the holiday stress. Making lists is a way to help manage stress, and make sense out of what needs to get done. Start with the priorities, for example planning meal preparations, putting up the decorations, or buying your son’s favorite holiday treat. Then, work your way down. At the bottom of the list add the things that you would like to get done, but are not necessities. Keeping a running list of your priorities this season can help you to accomplish holiday goals and tasks at a comfortable pace. It can also help you avoid the stress of trying to accomplish too much at once!
2. Plan ahead and say “no”:
The holiday season is ripe with requests on multiple fronts, including work, your child’s school and family. It can be easy to become overwhelmed with too many plans, causing distress in your life. Between book fairs and coworkers taking time off, you may be inundated with requests. Furthermore, many well-meaning friends and family members may want to plan visits to see you or your kids. As much as you may want to do for everyone, there may be some times where it would be best for you to say “no”. Kindly set limits and boundaries with loved ones about what you can and can not do this year.
3. Think experiences and traditions:
You have seen the commercial over and over again. Your kid keeps mentioning that it is the hottest craze and all of the kids at school will have it. This typically brings about two problems for parents. Either it will be sold out in stores and can’t be found, or it’s not affordable. One way to avoid this is to THINK EXPERIENCES. Experiences are memories that last a lifetime, unlike the newest toy that your child will stop playing with in a few months. Think of starting new family holiday traditions. This can be going to the town menorah lighting, decorating the Christmas tree together, building a gingerbread house or even discussing the history of the holiday each night. You can also give experiences as gifts, for example tickets to a holiday show! Some of my favorites are the Nutcracker ballet, and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Check your local theatre for some affordable options!
As a parent it can feel easy to become overwhelmed with all of the pressure to have the perfect holiday, or get the perfect gift. Following the steps above will help you to slow down, make sense out of what is most important to you this year, and spend time making memories with your children. Happy holidays from us at Brave Minds!
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Jessica is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who is passionate about helping those struggling with postpartum depression and birth trauma. She creates a safe place for her clients to share their stories and develop the necessary skills to thrive. Jessica specializes in treatment for children, families, and mothers.