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Savouring the holidays

Savoring the Season: How to Get Through the Holidays


This fab article was written for you by Daniel Sherwin.

Parent is challenging, and the holiday season can feel out of control for many families.  

You have special shopping, cleaning, cooking, and events on top of the usual commitments and obligations.  

The season can feel like utter chaos, and sometimes you might wonder how you will get through it.

With some thoughtful planning, you can not just survive the holidays, but savor the season with your children.  

Don’t overcommit.  Of course there will be some things you will have to do, and many things you want to do.  But be sure to set some time aside that is free from commitments.

Cut back on some of the parties and rushing to family obligations, especially if you have very small children.  Clearing space on your calendar will help lower your stress level.

Make room. The holiday season comes with a lot of extra stuff. For many people, especially those who already struggle with anxiety, a mountain of new toys, clothes, and electronics can equal overwhelm. Before gift-giving commences, clear some space by sorting and organizing your belongings to make room for more. Start by cleaning out your closet. Take an afternoon to empty everything out, categorize it all, organize and purge. Once you’re done with your clothing, you may be motivated to make more difficult choices, like kids’ toys and electronics. Even though they are old and out of date, they likely hold sentimental value or were expensive, making them more difficult to give up.


Quality time.  Spending time at home with your children, making memories and enjoying each other is a key to being happy during the holiday season.  Set aside the electronics and do some things you all love, like baking cookies or watching holiday movies.

Self-care.  Take time out every day for yourself.  The holidays can be hectic, but that makes it even more important to maintain a self-care routine and embrace coping skills.  If you feel your stress level rising, step away from busyness and settle your mind.  A few minutes in meditation can help reframe your attitude. Get plenty of sleep and don’t neglect exercise.  Go for a hike or practice yoga for a few minutes before you start your day.  Doing something physical will be good for your overall well-being.

Simplify shopping.  Many of your family members and friends would enjoy a handmade gift from your kids. Plus, it saves money and reduces time spent running to stores.  It also provides an activity your children will enjoy. Think along the same lines for holiday decorations. Handmade items are one-of-a-kind treasures that reduce spending, and you get the bonus pleasure of quality time with your children.


Daily routine.  Establishing a solid morning routine and maintaining it through the holidays can help minimize holiday stress.  According to experts cited by Fox17 West Michigan, “We all know that kids do best when they’re on a regular routine, and allowing kids to keep that routine during the holiday season is very important.”  


If you’re struggling with how to make that happen during the craziness of the holidays, here are some suggestions from experts:


  • Rise every morning before your children.  Even if it’s just 10 minutes early, it will provide you an opportunity to sip some coffee or tea and feel like you have some control over your day.
  • Talk with your significant other and exchange who gets up first in the mornings.  Trading off will give you each an opportunity to sleep in regularly.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast with the family daily.  In addition to giving you all a good meal, it’s an opportunity for everyone to connect and get started on the day together.  
  • Stay positive.  No matter how your morning starts out, even if the toast burns or the youngest is grumpy, remember it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
  • If you have an event planned early in the morning, experts recommend doing some things the night before.  Set alarm clocks, lay out clothing, and organize any items that are going with you, such as gifts or baked goods.  


Lower expectations.  When we attempt to create picture-perfect holidays, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.  Be realistic while focusing on traditions your family enjoys together, and do things that make it feel special.  If certain family members add to your stress level, give yourself permission to limit time with those people.


Savor the season.  If the holiday season feels daunting, take control over your commitments and set aside time for your family and for yourself.  Start your mornings out right, simplify your shopping list, and keep a realistic, positive perspective. With the right tools, you’ll be able to enjoy the holidays and create wonderful memories to treasure for years to come.

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