September 1st - Labor Day weekend. Chilling, drinking a cocktail, maybe out on the boat, have a little cook out for dinner. Hakuna Matata. AND THEN BAM...CHRISTMAS. With little to no warning it's here buddy and there aint no stopping it. That means family Christmas cards aka the day the shit hits the fan, organic gluten free cookie baking, flawless home Christmas décor, hang the outdoor lights, have you taken your kids on a sleigh ride? What about a calligraphy style letter written to santa? Surely you bought tickets to see The Nutcracker? Also remember - matching pajamas and you need to buy about $5,000 worth of Christmas presents for everyone. AHHHH the pressure. Maybe I'm being a little extra but basically that's what it feels like being a mom during Christmas. I do love this holiday and this time of year and I really try to enjoy it rather than let my anxiety spin me through it. So here our some tips to kick back this holiday season and sip some egg nog. Rule Number 1 - Add bourbon to the egg nog. THATS IT! Extra bourbon. MERRRRRY CHRISTMAS....if only it were that easy.
MAKE AN IMPORTANT LIST & STICK TO YOUR TRADITIONS.
This one goes out to all the moms out there. I get so overwhelmed every year now since becoming a mom because of all the expectations I feel like I should be meeting. All the traditions my family did and my husband's family did. All the activities I see on instagram and Facebook. All that must be done right?! NOPE. Make a list of what is important to you and your family ONLY. Who gives a rip about the other things, this is about the memories for your children. I get so caught up in trying to perfect every single thing that I end not having time to do some of the things that meant the most. Trust me when I tell you, you're kids won't know the damn difference. Years from now they will remember the precious moments you spent with them curled up on the couch watching their favorite christmas movies and decorating the tree with colored lights and handmade ornaments even if the tree is lopsided.
This is important because you could wind up in a massive pile of christmas mess. I picture myself tied up in christmas ribbon like Cindy LouWho when she first discovers the Grinch in her dads post office. HOT MESS y'all. Knowing where your christmas STUFF is, marking on a calendar all your events you want to attend (you don't have to attend them all - refer to rule 1), where those christmas jammies and school holiday program outfits are (I usually run around like mad woman at 6:45 in the morning tearing through storage tubs looking for anything slightly red or green), make a list of christmas gift ideas for everyone you plan to buy for and where to get it (this prevents aimlessly wandering around nordstrom for 3 hours and walking out with 5 new treats for yourself and none for your fam, I didn't personally do this, I'm just saying i've heard it happens). Basically what I'm saying is write everything down. ALL OF IT. Get a large wall organizer/calendar and write that shiz down. color code it. put stickers on it. Whatever it takes people.
ok lets back it up here. Lets be real. This can get tricky especially if you have kids. But I have bad news...you can't go to 3 holiday dinners in one night. with 2 kids. or with no kids really. I mean i guess its possible but it is going to be stressful AF. Try to schedule with the family members something that works best for you and maybe that means you have to break up it over a week and weekend. But 3 holiday dinners on Christmas Eve ain't happening unless I'm blacked out on spiked eggnog. Maybe you can schedule a day when all family can come to your house and maybe each person brings a dish? That way you are at home but still celebrating with family. Aunt Jenny's apple cobbler is the worlds greatest but it might have to wait until after santa comes or maybe even New Years apple cobbler? In all seriousness just try to plan what will be best for your family. Maybe you could do dinner one place and stop by for that cobbler later in the evening and plan a breakfast the next morning? Don't get overwhelmed trying to do it all at once.
CREATE A BUDGET
What's a budget you might ask. Well it is something that is unfamiliar to most of us at christmas time. Basically my money just falls out of helicopters over top of target and publix. When it is all over you try to avoid looking at your bank account until 2018 and start fresh. This year I set a tight budget for each gift for each person. My children don't need to get every single thing on the earth. They just don't. I ask for the top requests and then I search the best sales and coupons finding the best deals. Food to feed everyone can get very expensive. As mentioned before, asking guests to bring a dish helps. Hitting up costco or your local grocery store and buying the premade holiday dishes help as well with not only your money but also your sanity. Who has time to buy 42 different ingredients for one potato au gratin dish? not me. Set a strict budget and stick to it ladies. Maybe do it with your husbands so you can be held accountable. Stay on the same page with it.
FIND ME TIME
I love this one. For obvious reasons. This season is always about giving and spending all your time with family and other people but try your darnedest to sneak some "me time" in there. Whether it be a trip to the nail salon for a festive mani/pedi or just some time at night sipping hot chocolate staring at the glow of the christmas tree (alone) (yes please). You can't pour from an empty glass as they say. I think. Make sure you take care of yourself so you can take care of everyone else. Happy mama, happy kids. Happy wife, happy life. Happy girlfriend, happy boyfriend. You get the idea. TREAT YO SELF.
LEARN TO SAY NO
I'm pretty certain this is in the how to survive the holidays for dummies book. 1st page. Anyway yeah..say no. Refer to rule number 1 and then say no. This may hurt some feelings here and there but you have to do what works best for your family. After organizing and planning and scheduling everything just perfectly, something or someone will pop up, If it doesn't work for you just say no. In a nice way of course. When family members ask if they can buy your kid the play doh extreme pack, the answer is no. Can grandpa buy them a rabbit, no. Can you cook a holiday ham this year, no..but Costco can. Feel me?
I hope everyone has a very happy holiday and makes lots of fun memories. I'm no expert. It is only December 13th and I'm barely surviving. Cheers y'all!