Managing the Holiday Madness


November 30, 2011 by Gina

As we were driving home from my parents’ house after Thanksgiving, Brian said to me, “Well, that’s one holiday down and one to go”.  After he said that, I had so many thoughts run through my head – all in about a millisecond; how did Thanksgiving come and go already, I hope Getty sleeps better by Christmas, when will we get bad weather, how can it possibly almost be December, I love the holidays, I hate the holidays, when the heck will we decorate?  Well…you get the idea.  Funny how one small statement can evoke so many thoughts, questions and utter panic.

This is such a busy time of year for everyone and I’m always trying to find ways to slow it down, enjoy my family and savor the moment.  I still haven’t figured out how to do all of that but here are some ideas we’re doing or would like to do:

  • Don’t try to travel between families – alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas each year at each family (for example, this year we did Thanksgiving at my parents’ and we’ll do Christmas as Brian’s parents’ and flip next year).
  • Combine holidays – we had “Thanksmas” this year at my parents’.  It spaces out all the gifts everyone gives your children and you knock out two holidays in one.
  • Limit the dollar amount or the number of gifts given
  • Do gag or white elephant gifts instead of normal gifts (good one for adults or older kids)
  • Draw names among adults and/or children in the family or eliminate gifts for adults altogether – we all have so much
  • Donate your time, money or skills to a local or other charity (we’ve done the animal shelter, food shelf, Feed My Starving Children, Heifer Foundation)
  • Shop early or online for gifts – avoid the chaos of malls/stores at all costs
  • Do things together for the holidays like sledding, ice fishing, walking, playing board games or gift an “experience” instead of another thing.  One year I took my niece and nephew to a performance of “The Lion King” and they loved it!
  • Don’t decorate much – just do the tree and call it good (heck, I wouldn’t decorate at all if I didn’t have kids – it’s SO much work and everywhere else is decorated so you get the holiday spirit)
  • Don’t bake so much (or at all – that’s what I do) – you’ll just eat the food and besides, someone else like your mom or neighbor will probably bake and you can just eat some of their goodies

I don’t want to seem all “baa hum bug” about the holidays.  It really is a magical time for families and kids.  I just really like to simplify things and try not to stress too much about the hustle and bustle of it all.

So, whatever traditions or celebrations you have at this time of year – whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan or whatever – try to enjoy your time with family, friends and other loved ones in your life!  We only have so much time together and that is what is really important.  Honor your own traditions, limit the chaos and have fun!

What do you do to limit all the craziness at this time of year?

3 thoughts on “Managing the Holiday Madness

  1. readingrisa says:

    We’ve been downscaling the holidays over the last several years. I think the super high bar set by (name it…our friends who really get into it, society, family traditions) can cause way more stress than the activities bring joy. Grant it, we’re now empty nesters without grandchildren who want/need the magic so we have some added flexibility not known in some years past, but we’ve really gone radical. I’m not even doing a tree this year. Instead, I’m going to really pay attention to everybody else’s decorations. There are so many beautiful displays in stores, restaurants, downtowns, people’s homes. And our adult children decided that this year they really want to have an experience together rather than exchange gifts. Woo hoo. I’m going to spend time listening to holiday music, looking for opportunities to do something unexpected for someone and soak in the spirit of the season. December is too short to be scheduled out to here with obligations. Enjoy your holiday!

  2. Sarah Dass says:

    I so hear many of these things i would love to divide our holiday time, but I know this will never happen. I feel like we are always pulled into so many directions that at times I wish our families lived in different cities so that we could trade off. ugh. I feel you!

  3. Sarai says:

    We don’t travel at all for Thanksgiving or Christmas anymore to make it less crazy for us. Family is welcome to come see us, but we are not making the two day drive back home (or buying 3 plane tickets during a time when they are most expensive) around an already hectic time of year. This year is fun because Ben understands more about what’s going on, and he loves the “pretty lights.” I’m hoping to get him baking with me a little more next year. (He gets to do a little bit this year, but it’s really messy.) I always enjoyed the time spent with family baking for the holidays.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: