This post is sponsored by Walmart
Does December feel like it comes at you super fast?
It’s such a busy month, especially with kids, and while I love all the fun, I also don’t want to be overwhelmed by it all or feel like I’m just trying to survive!
Every year I feel like I focus a little more on soaking up the coziness of Christmas at home with my girls and we’ve been loving the snow on the mountains while we’re snuggled up inside (these sweater pants from Walmart’s Free Assembly line have been on repeat for me for the last couple of weeks – they’re SO soft, come in several colors, are way more flattering than sweatpants, and look way more expensive than they are, plus they wash and dry beautifully! Also this long-sleeve tee is A+ – I already ordered it in another couple of colors!).
Here are some of the ways I try to make December less stressful and more magical.
7 Ways to Make December Less Stressful
- Don’t feel like you have to squeeze everything into December. December is the busiest time of the year for most people and I always love it when someone spreads the fun into January or February instead when there is a lot less on the calendar and the fun and excitement of the holidays is past. A favorite things party can feel like one. more. thing to squeeze in on your December calendar but in January when it’s cold and gloomy and all the holiday fun is over and your calendar is a lot emptier, it feels way more thrilling and exciting! What else could you push off into January or February? (One reason I love this sweater is that its festive without being Christmas-y – I can wear it just as well in January as I am in December!).
- Involve your family members. Sometimes it can feel like, especially as the mom, that your job is to make all the magic happen single-handedly. That’s a huge amount of pressure on one person! And I’ve found that my kids LOVE being involved! For our Christmas Eve Shepherds’ meal, my girls love making it a family affair to go shopping for all the food and it’s way more fun to go as a family than it is for me to find solo time to go. The girls also love wrapping presents and Bart (who does NOT like wrapping presents) hands over most of the gifts he buys, along with wrapping paper, scissors and tape, to them to wrap and they love being able to help that way. (and they are SO proud of the gifts they’ve wrapped). Look for ways other people can help – Bart always tells me, “there are very few things that only one single person is capable of doing.” And if the gifts maybe aren’t wrapped as perfectly as you would have wrapped them? So what?
- Take short cuts where you can. There are no gold stars for doing everything the most time-consuming way possible and there are lots of ways to streamline things. I love Walmart Grocery Delivery and have used it pretty much every single week for the last three years and I especially love it during the holidays when I don’t have to drive in the snow to go to the store when it’s busy! I also ordered all the food stocking stuffers (Pez and Pringles are stocking staples in our house) with my groceries so they came right to my front door, no Christmas Eve scrambling required.
- Identify what you’re doing just because you’re “supposed” to. Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you HAVE to do neighbor gifts or send out Christmas cards or have a fancy Christmas breakfast (and I love all of those things!). But maybe some of those don’t actually matter to you. No one goes to jail for having cold cereal for Christmas breakfast or not going to take photos with Santa. Lean into the things that you DO love doing at the holidays and go all in on those. Maybe you love putting on a pretty dress and going to see The Nutcracker. Maybe your favorite tradition is doing matching Christmas pajamas for the whole family and sleep under the tree during the week of Christmas. Focus on those ones and skip the ones that just feel like a ton of work to you – nobody HAS to decorate a gingerbread house during December!
- Remember that a tradition doesn’t have to happen EVERY year for it to be a tradition. We’ve gone most years to a local drive-through light show and I LOVE it – it’s so fun for the girls to get bundled up in their pjs and jackets and to head out in the dark . But last year, we just didn’t have time to make it happen and it felt like more stress than fun to go, so we just . . . skipped it. And we’re planning to go this year. Just because we skipped last year when it worked better for us to do so doesn’t mean the tradition is ruined forever. Traditions are supposed to make my life more fun and joyful, not more stressful.
- Make time for relaxing activities. It’s easy to have December just go-go-go, so I try to purposefully make time to do some quiet activities that I love that make me feel recharged. Whether it’s changing into cozy pajamas and reading with a blanket by the fireplace after the girls are in bed or changing out of jeans into these sweater pants and working on a festive jigsaw puzzle while I listen to an audiobook, making that space amidst the hustle of the season makes me feel way more relaxed. (Amusingly, I was working on a puzzle a week or two ago and I said to Bart, “making time to work on a puzzle makes me feel like I have a life” to which he responded, “I think some people would argue that doing jigsaw puzzles in your pajamas is the opposite of having a life.” Those people would be wrong).
- YOU get to decide what enough means. There isn’t going to be someone showing up to tell you that you’ve done enough Christmas activities or made December magical enough for your children or purchased enough gifts. You are the one who decides what enough means. And it might look different from year to year in terms of budget, time, or energy. Recognize that you’re the only one who can choose that “enough” and acknowledge that no one else is going to draw that line in the sand for you.
I’d love to hear how you keep December feeling merry instead stressful – let me know in the comments!
Photos by Heather Mildenstein