Thanks to Marissa, MJ, and Denise for your awesome pics!
Christmas joy… stress.
You had no idea you could buy Santa tickets online but they sold out weeks ago, so now you’re stuck without a mall date. You didn’t create any of the advent calendars you pinned and still haven’t had a chance to buy one. You don’t have a tree/decorations/turkey, haven’t started shopping, and that letter to Santa’s not writing itself. It’s beginning to look a lot like stress-mas.
I hear ya, peeps – you are in panic mode! Here’s what to do so you can actually enjoy this month:
- Slow down. Our auto-pilot kicks in to hustle when it’s fight-or-flight, but physically slowing your body down, taking a few deep breaths, and amping up mindfulness… instant pick-me-up.
- Skip the chores. You lowered the bar when your babe was born and brushing your teeth felt like a luxury. Drop it right back down and forget about the shower/dust balls/sheets. Seriously guys – this is what our stove’s been looking like for the past month… practicing what we preach.
- Shortcut-clean. If you’ve fallen off the chore wagon (like us!) but need a quick pick-me-up for sanity/company, get your kids to put away their stuff while you Costco it online for a Roomba. Clean floors make the whole house feel so. much. better and not having to vacuum for hours? Awesome! If you can spare ten minutes a day for one week clean ONE of the following: toilet, bathroom sink, stove, kitchen sink, TV/dark furniture dust. If you can’t spare it, don’t sweat it – nobody else is.
- Do one thing for yourself EVERY day. You’ve heard the story about filling up your jar with rocks before sand, right? Doing something for yourself is one honking rock you need to prioritize. This could be a workout, pedicure, date-night, dessert, or even a walk sans baby/stroller/diapers. If you only have three minutes, watch this… and then put down your phone.
- Low-key (but don’t skip) magical traditions. My parents make AMAZING advent calendars for us every year, but if they didn’t then I’d follow a friend’s lead and advent holiday socks or something equally adorable/easy. The surprise would be a slip of paper with a seasonal activity written down… something we’ll do anyway but this funs it up. If you don’t have an Advent calendar then print a copy of these here activities, get your preschooler to cut along the lines, raid her sock drawer (or stuff and sticker envelopes), and voilà. Your mini-me really won’t care that you’ve technically missed a week. Advent calendars aren’t the only way to make magic, you can use any holiday stuffie to Elf on the Shelf Dinovember style, personalized Santa videos can be made here if you miss the HOH OHO deadline for a reply (December 17th), and decorating sugar cookies is still memorable even if you cheat with store-bought!
- Shop without your children as much as possible – it’s even less fun for them than it is for you. Go online, hire a sitter, or head out after Goodnight Moon to get ‘er done.
- Say no. Listen to your inner sighs and don’t overextend. I recently refused a Secret Santa gift swap because while I love the idea, we don’t need more stuff/work and already have traditions aplenty. Yup, I feel some guilt, but I know it was the right call.
- Set a limit and spend smart. We’ve barely started shopping, but the theme so far is activities: magazine subscriptions (Chirp!), tickets for muppet-porn (SO excited for my parents!), movie theatre gift cards (teachers!), and an awesome Mommy Connections class for my nephew. Yup, that one’s more than the limit, but it’s combined with his December birthday prez. I’m a December baby too, so I know how it feels to have combo gifts… AWESOME! We’re also gifting the usual: calendars, photo books, framed school pics… you get it. And I snagged incredible munchkin fingerprint cufflinks and a tiepin for Ernie from the amazing Rima Macikunas – catch her at the One of a Kind show if you go this weekend! Ernie and I almost never exchange gifts (seriously guys – for his birthday I bought him candy and beer) so this is a once-in-a-lifetime splurge. The boys are gifting him Superman underwear that comes with a cape… natch.
You want your fam to remember this time of year because it was superfun, not because you were supercrazy. The pictures don’t really matter – it’s what’s going on behind the scenes that counts. Follow Elvin’s lead… have fun!
Leave a comment below or email us if you want a Santa reco that doesn’t need a reservation!