‘Tis the season for many wonderful things—festive decorations, beautifully wrapped gifts, time with the family, and the list goes on. Along with the holiday season one not so fun thing can come along too—STRESS! At times the pressure of planning and executing the perfect holiday events can feel like it’s overshadowing all those great things we love about this time of year. This is true for everyone, but more so for parents than anyone.
Here are six tips for keeping your holiday cheer…
1. Set Expectations—So you saw the perfect party happen in your favorite holiday movie recently and you’ve decided it’s time to recreate it? Maybe that’s not the best idea… unless your family comes with a lighting crew, a well-written script, make-up artists, and prop assistants. The real thing never plays out like it does on the big screen, and that’s ok. Set expectations that work for you and your family and go with it.
2. Delegate—Clearly you’re Super(wo)man. You do more in a day that should be allowed for one person, and you do it every day. Rather than throwing it into overdrive, why not take this year to get a little help. Choose the parts you love the most for you and then let people help. Think of chairing your own Holiday Committee!
3. Budget—In economic times like these you probably don’t need to be reminded of this one. Even still this is the time of year when everywhere you look is an ad for something at “never before seen prices!” It’s easy to get carried away, so take the guess work out and plan ahead for what you’re able to do this year and then call it a day.
4. Reassess and prioritize—You’re halfway to the goal line for your holiday season. How did you do on numbers 1-3? Think about it. Make adjustments. Make it happe
5. Take care of yourself—You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Perhaps it’s cliché, but it probably became that way for a reason. Everyone knows you’re Super(wo)man (see above), so you’re going to get asked to do a lot. There’s no shame in carving out time to do a few things that will give the holidays a little personal cheer for you, and when you make it all look easy it will be better for everyone.
6. Keep things in perspective –You know this one. At the end of the day it’s not about the gifts, decorations, or a perfectly prepared meal. If you finished the holiday season by sitting around a table with the people you care about then it’s a success. Remember, the holidays are about people connecting-those are the times we remember.
Keep these tips in mind as the holidays quickly approach. Hopefully they’ll help you stay a little cheerier and enjoy the end of 2011.
Dan Melnick, PhD
Director of Residential Support Services
He has been serving CV kids and families for 13 years.