The holidays are a time when stress should dissipate. Yet, every year we are burdened with undeniable feelings of guilt because we can't be with both families, worry because we want to make sure everyone is happy, and anxiety because we feel the need to be on time for every plan we make.
I thought the holidays were a time for relaxation with your loved ones?
So, let's put an end to the madness and talk about some ways we can avoid the stresses altogether by creating the holiday survival pack plus tips.
1. Figure out a plan
COMMUNICATE with your family members to create a plan, then stick to it. Unfortunately, you are only human so you can only please so many people at a time. Talk with your parents, your relatives, your in-laws — whoever you are spending the holidays with —and find the middle ground. If you have to attend two dinners, plan one dinner for the three o'clock hour and the other at 6:30, then you can see both sides of the family. After you establish the schedule with the family, figure out your cooking/baking schedule.
2. Plan out your food
Figure out what you are bringing, make it ahead of time, and stuff it in the freezer. Again, if you are attending two different dinners, ask to bring something that doesn't involve cooking for the second dinner. It could be a tray of cookies, pie, salad — something you can literally walk in with and set on the table and it's ready. (Check out these cookie recipes).
3. Don't procrastinate!
Another tip that people tend to underestimate is the power of going to the store early. Sometime in the next five days, make a list and just go! Wednesday night after work, on December 23 is going to be the worst time. Suck it up and go to the store already. If you have to drop the kids off at grandma's for two hours, do it. Anything that will help cut the time down and reduce distractions will benefit you.
4. Know the schedule, pack the clothes
If you know you have a crazy schedule, like Christmas Eve dinner at grandma's, then church with the family followed by driving around to look at Christmas lights, pack the appropriate clothing for your kids. The forecast calls for snow next week, so if you know your children are going to want to play in the snow before church, pack clothes they can easily change into. Then, after you leave church, have some PJ's ready for the kids to hop into. So when the family is driving around looking at lights and your kids fall asleep, you can haul them straight to bed when you get home with no fuss.
5. If you're traveling…
If you are traveling for the holiday, make sure you are fully prepared for what mother nature brings. With Washington facing very unpredictable weather this year, be sure to have the necessary items to ensure safe traveling. Check out these tips for safe winter driving.
6. Most importantly...
Relax. Whatever issue you are facing, probably isn't as big of a deal as you may think. As the holidays are supposed to be a time for hot buttered rums, traditions and nestling in with a hot fire roaring, remember the reasons why you are celebrating in the first place. For more ideas and what could be helpful in a Christmas survival guide, check out my suggestions below.
Planner: a physical item that is not my phone (less distractions) that I can carry with me, where I can jot down all my ideas, thoughts and have my lists ready for the grocery store.
Peppermint gum/candies: Because fresh breath usually doesn't happen after Christmas dinner and it also acts as a natural reliever for an upset tummy.
An extra bottle of wine: after long days of shopping, baking, socializing, I am going to need that glass of wine.
Bottle of water: because no one wants a headache due to dehydration
A couple of bite sized chocolates: if you feel like the Grinch, eat some chocolate. Might help sweeten you up.
Aspirin: Again, headaches are never fun.
Items for the car: (in case you're traveling)