Ah, holidays. A time to gather together and celebrate the important things. Family and food. (Or at least that’s what we’ve boiled it down to.) If you’re like me, you’ve got 11 thousand people to see and places to go. It all becomes too much. Holiday survival becomes the question of the rest of the year. And the goal: survive the crazy without going crazy!
In the years before our kids were born, it was easy. Sort of. An hour here, lunch there, dessert somewhere else. Add in “present holidays” and it can get even messier. For Thanksgiving we continued the visit everyone theme the first year our daughters were born. They were tiny and didn’t need much. They were portable. It was maybe a little harder on us, but they didn’t feel the effects.
Their second year was a total about face. On Thanksgiving, we left our house around 11 in the morning and didn’t get back until well after 8 that night. Our kids were exhausted and cranky from not being able to nap and we were exhausted and cranky from having to deal with that. I vowed that it wouldn’t happen again.
The next year, I was going to host at our house. Yes, it meant that I’d have to put in a little more work, but my kids could take a freaking nap and be in their own environment. So, when the time came, I let everyone know my plans. Full meal at my house, and I wouldn’t be going anywhere else. My holiday survival line in the sand was drawn. People’s feelings were hurt, despite the invitation to join us.
“That’s not the tradition.” Well, this is the new tradition. I have to do what’s best for my family. #sorrynotsorry. And that’s how it’s been for the last few years and it’s been beautiful. No stress, save for the planning of the meal.
So, how do you do it? How do you survive the holiday insanity without going insane?
~Take a page from my book. Do your own holiday. Save yourself the headache of dealing with the back and forth. If people want to see you, they have to come to you. If not, oh well.
~Make a schedule and stick to it. Let people know that you can only spend the allotted amount of time at their place before you have to move on. If you are catering to little ones too, head home or to a quieter venue for nap time. Plan your travel time so they get a solid car nap even.
~Only go to one place. Or one place a day if you decide to do more than one. This will also save you from having to spend a ton of time at crazy Uncle George’s. We’ve all got one.
~Ask to celebrate the weekend before or after. It’ll take the pressure off of you having to hit all the places in one day. It’ll make the holiday last longer. And bonus food!
~Just say screw it and do a celebration for your family only. You never know, it may just turn into an every year thing.
There comes a time when you have to put you and your family’s needs before other people’s feelings. And sometimes (okay- a lot of the times), you have to draw the line at the holidays. Boundaries are hard and they often make the holidays seem hard too. Holiday survival is not about making everyone happy. It’s about figuring out what’s important and making it the priority.
Let us know if you’ve got another idea or what’s worked for you in the comments!