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How to Cut Corners and Reduce Holiday Stress!

Dec22

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This is the time of year when I’m pretty sure my head might explode. With gifts to wrap, cards to send, food to buy, elves to move and a million other things on my to-do list, I really just want to lie down and take a long winter’s nap.

My 9-year-old daughter was recently crying because all the neighbors’ houses are decked out in lights and decorations and we still had nothing.  I mean, seriously?! We are crying over holiday decorations now?

This house is right down the street from me…

christmas decorations

I’m thinking I can’t compete. So I threw a wreath on my door and my daughter seems surprisingly satisfied.

Everyone is a little on edge. I feel like I’m coming in contact with a lot of stressed-out shoppers and drivers. Oh, if you are going to cut me off – maybe don’t do it while you have reindeer ears sticking out of the side windows of your car. Santa would not like that crap.

We at Alpha Mom figured you could use a few ideas to bring down your stress level during the holidays.

Don’t Host! (If You are Hosting, Delegate.)

I’m hosting Christmas dinner which is not a great situation for me because I don’t really cook nor do I really like people coming over my house. Here’s the thing. There are lots of people who love to cook and they might just be coming to your holiday dinner! So leave the cooking to the masters, assign easy items like appetizers and desserts for those who don’t love to cook and buy whatever else you need. As for my anxiety level with all the people in my house, well, that’s why they invented wine.

Gifts

A few years ago, my family eliminated adult gifts and now we just focus on the kids. It’s made things much easier because do I really need to be searching high and low for the perfect plaid sweater for my uncle Marty? No, I do not. I also buy online as much as possible because I don’t have the body strength to shove other customers out of the way as I make my way to the register.

But be careful online – I had one box get lost this year and another came in the manufacturers’ box with an image of the item on the outside. So 10 days before Christmas, my kids were like, “Hey mom! We got a new scooter!”  Damn. With only a few days left until Christmas, you might be forced into the stores.  Try to go during off hours and make sure you are fully hydrated.

Holiday Cards

I always love receiving holiday cards whether I get them the day after Thanksgiving or in March. And yes, I did once get a Christmas card in March. So don’t stress yourself out trying to get them out by a certain date or send them to everyone you’ve ever met. The beauty of technology like Facebook and Instagram is that we all get to see many photos of each other’s families. Maybe too many, right? I also have a holiday card motto for my kids: If you are old enough to write, you can address some cards. And if you don’t feel like sending cards out at all this year – just don’t. It’s that easy.

The Elf Can Really Just Go on a Shelf

I know everyone has gotten super fancy with the elves. And it’s hilarious. Because who doesn’t love an elf in a Barbie hot tub?! But you know what? There’s no need to exhaust yourself trying to be super clever every night.  Ever notice how kids love the simple things in life? They will be thrilled if you just remember to move the little guy to a different location.

Exercise

Don’t cut this out. Seriously. I know you have a lot to do. But you will feel so much better shoveling down holiday food if you have kept up your normal exercise routine.

Remember Gratitude

The holidays are about being together, not about everything being perfect or getting a ton of gifts. Why is this so hard to remember?! At Christmas dinner, we always go around the table and share what we are most grateful for this year. It’s one of my most favorite moments of the holiday season. And also one of the most relaxing. So breathe, eat and be grateful.

How do you cut corners and reduce holiday stress? Please tell us! We really want to know.

About the author

Kelcey Kintner

http://www.mamabirddiaries.com/
Kelcey Kintner writes the humor blog, The Mama Bird Diaries and co-founded the cheeky advice site, The Mouthy Housewives. This Columbia Journalism School graduate also drives a gold minivan because you can't fit five kids on a Vespa. An award winning journalist, she still secretly longs to be an Olympic ice skater. You can follow her on Twitter @mamabirddiaries.


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3 Responses to “How to Cut Corners and Reduce Holiday Stress!”

  1. susan Dec 22 at 6:20 pm Reply Reply

    One more awesome part of celebrating Hanukkah. I can opt out of all this craziness. I’m only vaguely aware which day Christmas falls on… and mostly because I go grocery shopping on Wednesdays and this week I can’t. (boohoo, I know) We’ll still enjoy a cozy day with the kids, though.

  2. Eiko Dec 22 at 11:28 pm Reply Reply

    100% on the “don’t cook everything yourself” thing. I like having people over and tend to way over prepare, but not when it comes to food. When guests come over for drinks, a nice cheese plate goes a long way.

    We have a large family, with 10 nieces and nephews, and this year we drew names for the kids only (one child “bought” for another). I cannot adequately express what a relief it is to buy one nice gift for one child rather than 10. 10!

    A few years ago, my husband and I started exchanging stocking gifts only. This took a lot of the pressure off, because we tended to go overboard trying to outdo each other with the perfect gift. Now it’s about the most perfect marzipan pig and not the most perfect pre-booked trip to Vegas with six of our closest friends.

    If, and only if, I have time, I like to make gifts. A few years ago I started sewing little stuffed toys, tea cozies etc. I mention this because I found it incredibly relaxing (and I am not a crafty person) and I cut up old clothes for fabric so it was quite economical too.

    Instead of cards, take a family photo, add a holiday message and email it. Free, fast and way better for the planet.

    I also did a lot of my shopping online (with a new baby who screams if I stop moving the stroller, it was the only way). We even ordered stuff from Amazon, chose the gift-wrap option and sent gifts directly to people. The wrapping is pricey but mailing things across the country ourselves would have cost way more.

    (Oh…and from experience, travel to one place. Multi-city Christmases involving eight-hour road trips and/or more than two plane rides are for chumps.)

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  1. there will be no bobby brady | the mama bird diaries - Dec 23

    […] Looking for ways to reduce holiday stress? I’ve got a few over at Alpha Mom. And it includes me coming over and giving you a free 45 minute foot massage! Oh, it might not include that. Click here. […]

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