Today is Monday, December 10, 2012. Tonight is the 3rd night of the Hanukkah, Christmas starts in 14 days and NewYear’s Eve is just 21 days away. My house still smells like potato latkes from last night’s Hanukkah dinner with family. I am on my 3rd cup of joe after cleaning up and doing laundry. My desk is messy, there are end-of-the-year invoices to send out, a number of proposals to get out for 2013, teacher gifts to wrap, and I actually had the dumb idea to have a baby in December so I also a birthday to contend with in 2 weeks.
…Enough bitching and moaning of mine, I am pretty certain that all of you could just change the words around a little bit and make this rant your very own. It is the end of the year and holiday season, and no matter what way you look at it, it is a stressful time for moms (and dads) everywhere and anywhere. Throughout the years, we have always approached the holiday season from different angles. We have staycationed, visited family and friends on the west coast, hosted family and friends at home, and travelled for family fun. Throughout all these experiences, I have filed away little tips and tricks to make it slightly less crazy.
No matter what you are doing this holidays season, here are few ideas to make it less stressful (if possible):
Make a Packing Corner: Guaranteed you will be doing laundry over the next few weeks, and if you are traveling, make a little corner of your room for packing. As you bring clothes up from the laundry room, instead of wasting time putting them away, leave what you will need for your trip in the packing corner. This is also a good way to avoid creating last-minute laundry for yourself by wearing what you want to pack and having to wash and dry it while you are packing the night before.
Freeze your Assets: Hosting lots of people big and small? Bake and cook as much as possible in advance and freeze, freeze, freeze. Make sure to label with a permanent marker and some masking tape, so you do not defrost lasagna when you really wanted a chocolate cake.
Make a List, and Check it Twice: If there ever was a time, to make a family chart, it is in December. Depending on the age of your kids, make an age-appropriate list of things they can pitch in on with you. I find adding the day that they should do it most helpful. For example, we are travelling this year, and my kids are old enough to do their own packing (with a little supervision, so they have enough clean underwear), so we have a date on the calendar when they are going to pack.
Ship right from the Source: Whether you have gifts that you need to mail to relatives out-of-town or you are going somewhere this holiday season. Take advantage of online sales and free shipping and send gifts directly to where you are going. This cuts down on packing stress and airline costs (at least one way because you have to bring it home). A few years back, I shipped all of our toys and gifts directly to California where we were going from Amazon and Toys R Us, and it made getting away for the holidays so easy.
BYOD – Bring Your Own Duffel: No matter where you are going, fold an extra duffel in your luggage/car/purse to transport your loot (or your kids). Whether you are staying local or travelling far, it is guaranteed that you will be weighted down on the return home. Make sure you are ready to transport the goods.
Most important, try to enjoy yourself. Remember the promise you made to take a little personal time? DO IT! RB