We're in the thick of holiday mode over here, I swear I can hear "Run, Run Rudolph" blasting in my ears each time I hop in the car to run an errand or haul all the gift wrap out to quickly wrap a few presents while the kids are distracted. I really live for this time of year though and while my kids are still young and I have many, many holidays ahead of us, I like to think I've gotten a bit smarter each year and put together a few tips that help us keep our sanity during the most wonderful time of the year.
Organize and de-clutter BEFORE the holidays
Rather than waiting for the new year to get organized, I like to get ahead of things and make room for any of the new toys that we know will be coming our way on Christmas Day. I've purchased a ton of different size, clear Sterlite containers that are stackable and have already boxed up a lot of toys that aren't being played with and moved them into the basement storage room. This makes it easy to rotate them in if we have a rainy day and they feel like brand new toys all over again. I've even done a deep clean of the fridge, freezer and pantry because I know I'll want to feel organized when it comes time to buy extra ingredients and whip up side dishes for holiday dinners.
Make a short list of must-do activities. Emphasis on "short".
Decide what your family's most important holiday activities are and make those the priority. Consider anything else you manage to squeeze in a fun bonus if it works for you. These are our must-do activities: drive through the Fantasy of Lights display downtown, read our daily advent scripture, take the kids to a movie at the theater, bake our two favorite Christmas cookies, and have "Brunch with Santa". That's it. If we are able to make it to a fun community event, see Santa at the mall, decorate a gingerbread house or drop by Dad's work with Christmas goodies, all the merrier! I don't let FOMO get the better of me during this time of year and soak up all the nights when we are home, warm and just happy being together.
Create or emphasize the importance of a night time routine
Helping the kids wind down at the end of a fun day is KEY for ensuring a solid night of rest and happy attitudes the next day. We try to do a bath every night, not just because it helps them wind down but it's also a signal that the day is about to end and jammies are coming soon! We read books together, rub essential oils on their feet, sing songs and say our prayers. It probably takes 15 minutes from start to finish and we rarely have trouble with anyone sneaking downstairs or falling asleep on their own. Hallelujah!
Make self-care a priority
This is a hard one and something you likely hear a lot. But I believe the mom sets the tone for the entire house and if I'm feeling rundown I know I'll end up unfairly taking it out on my family. Things that help me feel my best: a green smoothie in the morning, taking all my vitamins, working out consistently, drinking TONS of water and being intentional about when I say yes to not-so-healthy treats/meals and when I pass them up. A glass of wine at the end of the day isn't worth it to me right now but holding out for a delicious holiday cocktail at one of my favorite restaurants definitely is! Also never underestimate the power of hopping into bed early with a good book or watching a favorite movie. It's one of my favorite indulgences all year 'round.
I hope this is helpful and I truly hope you’re having the best holiday season ever with your friends and family. Happy week before Christmas!!