By Erika Weisensee, Oregon Mom
As I look back on my childhood, I have wonderful memories of Christmas. I now appreciate how much my mother and grandmother worked to make it a memorable and special time of year. I am now trying to do the same, with some of my own twists, for my two sons. More than anything else, I want my boys to have a happy mama during the holiday season who is fully present to enjoy the moments with them. Is that possible? Yes! The holidays can and should be about joy, love and giving. So, here are some tips for reducing stress and enjoying the experiences with your loved ones.
– Plan Ahead If possible, do some of the work ahead of time. For instance, bake cookies early and freeze them. Plan and prepare dishes that can be made or partially made ahead of time. Start gift buying before the last minute and save money by planning shopping around sales.
– Simplify Simple can be elegant. Simplify meals by focusing on a handful of delicious dishes rather than a smorgasbord of endless options. By one or two gifts for people on your list rather than a whole bunch of small ones. Simplify your schedule by saving non-essential dental, doctor and other appointments for after Jan. 1.
– Do something special that warms your heart Whether you make time to attend a holiday concert, get together with old friends, or donate to a charity, do something that makes you feel good.
– Enjoy your children! Watching it through their eyes can be magical. Get them involved in your projects, from decorating to baking.
– Let go of perfection! Okay, of course we want some things to be perfect, but if a portion of the Christmas tree is obviously decorated by your two-year-old, and he wanted 10 ornaments on one branch, it’s okay.
– Pamper yourself If you can sneak in a massage, hair appointment or other take-care-of-you experience, good for you!
– Ask for help I know some great hostesses who ask for a little help. Take it from a frequent salad and dessert maker, able-bodied dinner guests are happy to contribute. So, just ask.
– Don’t overbook It is impossible to attend every event. Decide on the most important, politely decline the others, and enjoy the ones you do attend.
– Remember what matters most. This above all else is key to a joyful holiday season.