Growing up in the States, the holidays were always celebrated with as much extravagance as we could muster. Sometimes that was a lot and sometimes just a little but it was always an occasion to be remembered. As a result, I absolutely love the festive season! The magic, the traditions, the sense of celebration and the bringing together of family and friends, every little bit of it! Well almost … As children we get the luxury of enjoying the spoils and splendors of the season without any real understanding of the work that goes on behind the scenes. Now that we are honorary elves the arrival of the holidays often places greater demands on our time, energy and resources. For many of us, the increased stress and pressure can be overwhelming and threaten to throw us off balance.
However, maintaining your balance and holiday spirit during the Silly Season is easy when you follow these practical strategies and Keep It Super Simple!
It’s no secret that time is one of a family’s most precious resources and it is often taxed to its limits in the lead up to the holidays. It can be tempting to squeeze every last drop of Christmas cheer into the holiday season by doing and having it all. But, as fun as it sounds, attending every festive event and gathering on offer with young ones in tow is generally more of recipe for disaster than a merry mix for festive cheer!
If you tend to over schedule and over commit, make sure you take time to prioritise you holiday commitments:
- Which events do your family really want to attend this year?
- Try letting each member of the family pick their favorite holiday activity and schedule into the calendar early on.
- When additional activities come up, pause and have a think. Is this something that will add to your holiday enjoyment or create additional stress on you time and energy?
- What are your family’s limits? Too many late nights and not enough down time can add up for all of us, but everyone’s threshold is different.
Sleep and Rest
Staying up late and joining in the festivities is part of the fun of the holidays but for some, children and adults, burning the candle at both ends can quickly lead to spontaneous combustion! And when this happens, everyone tends to get burned!
- Make sure everyone in the family is getting a decent amount of rest by planning quiet times and early nights into your holiday schedule.
- Establish and maintain regular sleep times for your child the majority of the time and try to spread later nights or missed naps out over the week so that your child has time to recuperate.
- If anyone in the family is particularly worn out or tired and you have a function to attend, plan to leave early … and then do! You could alternatively, call in some reinforcements or take turns heading home early from events to get the kids into bed.
- Be sure to leave some space for ‘family time’ where you can hang out together without extra guests or simply have an afternoon at home.
- Sometimes Mum and Dad need a break too! Take turns over the holidays giving each other some time out doing something you enjoy just for you. Even if it’s just relaxing at home with a book while everyone else heads out for a few hours.
With so much temptation on offer, it can be very easy to bite off more than you can chew during the holidays! Both literally and figuratively! But, too much of a good thing can come back to bite us if we aren’t careful! Keeping our family’s diet, and our own, balanced during the silly season is easy with a little bit of forethought.
- Make healthy food choices the base of your holiday diet and add treats into the mix – rather than the other way around!
- Make at least two of your daily main meals as healthy as possible and opt for healthy snacks and water in between.
- Bring a plate of healthy and yummy food to share when invited to a gathering. There are plenty of options that are healthy, tasty and festive!
- Provide primarily healthy options when hosting. Veggies, rice crackers and hummus for nibbles. Lean meat, lots of healthy salads and grilled veggies for a main. And fresh fruit for desert. Simple, delicious and done!
- Give yourself two treat meals a week during the holidays where you can choose more indulgent options and truly enjoy them. Sandwich your treat meals with extra healthy eating on either side.
- If you notice your eating or your family’s eating going too far off track, simply rein it in and get moving in a positive direction again.
Extra demands on our time and changes to everyone’s normal routine during the holidays means that exercise can easily drop off of our radar. But exercise is great tool to help combat additional stresses brought on by the holidays, to balance out excesses in other areas and is an economical way to enjoy time together as a family! See my earlier post for ideas on making Family Fitness Fun.
Creative thinking and solid budgeting are the name of the game when it comes to keeping holiday spending in check! Buying gifts for the whole family can quickly mount up! Put on your creative thinking hat and try some different approaches to gift giving this year. It can be a really fun chance to create some new family traditions and re-discover what holiday giving is really about.
- Try doing homemade gifts, such as, baking or Christmas ornaments.
- Adopt a Unisex Secret Santa approach and incorporate it into a game that can add an element of fun to the day.
- Set a low spending limit for gifts of $10. We tried this last year in our family and it worked out really well. We all had to think really creatively and it was exciting to see what people managed to pull together for $10.
- Shop online – avoid the crowds and stick to your budget by knowing exactly how much you are spending before you finalize your purchases.
- When it comes to the kids, less is often more in many cases. A really great approach to when getting them to write their wish list is to follow this format:
- Something I want
- Something I need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
K.I.S.S – Keep It Super Simple
My top tip for Maintaining Balance During the Silly Season is to Keep It Super Simple!
It can be so tempting to overdo things during the holidays in an attempt to make things ‘perfect’. To find the perfect present, put on the perfect dinner, find the perfect tree etc. But in reality perfection lies in simplicity and lack of complication. Allowing the honorary elves of the world to keep their balance and enjoy every little bit of it!
Wishing you and your family the happiest of holidays!