This year, more than any other holiday season in my life, is about taking shortcuts. I truly cannot pull off everything I have in the past. But the greatest part of that statement is that I don't even want to. I am only about half as stressed as I normally am five days before Christmas! In my process of writing about and talking about burnout in motherhood, I have learned a lot. One of the lessons that I am try to live by is that my kids having me be present, smiling, relaxed and not running around is a priceless gift I can give to them. So this year, here are some of the very practical things I am doing while not killing myself in the process to create a great Christmas for my kids:
1. I bought a pre-roasted turkey, just needs to be put in the oven for two hours and voila I have a delicious Christmas dinner. On Christmas eve morning I will decide whether I have time to do the sides, if I do great and if not I can run to the grocery store that opens at 7:00 am and buy them- done.
2. I tried out a tape dispenser that also has a gift wrap cutter attached to it- works like a charm. Saves time and cuts really straight lines! It's a small thing but I love it!
3. Decorated the tree with about half of our ornaments. We have accumulated so many throughout the years that I figured we would decorate the tree with ornaments that the kids love and are special to them but we didn't need to use every last one like we have in past years. It allowed us to enjoy what we opened, the tree still looks beautiful and I will have less to put away in a few weeks!
4. I gave gift cards and money to extended family. In years past when a niece, nephew or cousin would ask for something and on their list was a gift card or money I would skip right over it feeling like I wanted to buy them something thoughtful and have it wrapped. This year I am realizing that was just for me. The older kids get the harder they are to shop for, they just want money and they want to pick out their own gifts. And while I really do still like personal gifts this is the year I just went ahead and bought gift cards. And the best part is I could do that while grocery shopping- all the stores they asked for were all right there in my local supermarket- easy breezy and everyone is happy! No boxes to ship, no big fees at the post office, no lines to wait on!
5. Getting my kids to wear the cute matching Christmas outfits has always been a part of my perfect holiday fantasy. However, this year I did it differently. Instead of anticipating the protest as we are getting ready for mass or a party I pulled up a website on a day they were having a huge sale and asked each of my kids to pick out their own holiday outfits. I told them how many days they had to get dressed up and had them pick out their own clothes. So far so good, there is no one to complain to when they picked it out themselves and all the clothes arrived in about 3 days from the day we ordered them. So. Much. Easier.
So, my holiday stress reliever has a theme. I have simplified. I haven't given anything up that matters to me like good food or nicely dressed kids, I just did it a little differently and set the bar a little lower. I am hoping I will look back at this time of year and only have sweet memories and not even think about what I gave up. Happy Holidays everyone, Cheers to a more simple, less pressured New Year in 2018!