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Six Steps to a Stress-Free Holiday Season

It’s Christmas Eve 2015, and I am running around my house like a crazy woman trying to get everything ready for our annual Christmas Eve party. I remember it like it was yesterday. We’d just put the boys down for a nap, and I was about to vacuum. 

And it hit me.

I had forgotten my son’s Santa gift. Literally the ONE AND ONLY THING he had asked Santa for over and over and over again. I had completely forgotten to buy it. I had spent so much time preparing for Christmas that I forgot to BE Christmas.

So there I was at 3 pm on Christmas Eve, racing through IKEA to pick up a new wooden train track for my son. Of course, it was worth the running around to see his face light up on Christmas morning, but can’t you see that I had missed the point of Christmas? I’d gotten so caught up in the details that don’t actually matter – the beautiful tree, the creative tablescape, the meal we were serving. Looking back on our Christmas that year, I remember the gifts the boys received and how excited they were when they opened them. And yet at the time I was so frantic to throw this perfect party, that I almost missed the magic of Christmas all together.

Not this year, dear readers, not this year. I will not be a victim of Christmas again. I’ve {hopefully} learned from my mistakes because I’ve gotten a head start this year. No, I’m not the Christmas Crazy who already has her tree up, but I have already done a few things to beat the holiday madness. And if you’re anything like me, procrastination is also your BFF. So, here’s my unsolicited advice to make your holidays {Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas} less frantic!

Six Steps to a Stress-Free Holiday Season | Houston Moms Blog

1} AVOID PINTEREST.

 Last year I mistakenly got on Pinterest to get ideas for something that I probably never did, yet I fell into a dark hole. A deep dark hole called Pinterest Pressure.  And you know what happened, I ended up getting suckered into making Christmas Eve Boxes for my boys. Y’all. Christmas Eve Boxes. WHO INVENTED SUCH NONSENSE?  Yet I saw these, and I thought to myself, “Self, how did we ever have Christmas without these boxes?” and “My kids have to have these!” I fell for all the nonsense … hook, line, and sinker … and ran out on December 23rd to Hobby Lobby and the Target Dollar Spot to fill their Christmas Eve Boxes. Pinterest – 1. Brittney – 0.

2} SHOP ONCE A MONTH.

We admittedly break the bank each holiday season for reasons that I cannot fully disclose here because frankly, it’s embarrassing. This year, I’m not letting it happen because I’ve already started shopping. A few months ago, I started to pick up small gifts in hopes that our bank account will be reprieved of its annual December whiplash. Once a month I spend about $100 crossing gifts off of our list, and keep track of it all in a Google spreadsheet so that come December, I actually can remember what I bought and don’t find it in some mystery drawer in February. Not that I’m speaking from experience…

3} SAY NO.

It already gives me anxiety to think of all of the Christmas functions we will be invited to attend both as a couple and as a family. This year, I’m vowing to say no to some of these invitations. Instead, I want to spend more time at home with my family creating our own Christmas memories that don’t involve driving on a Houston freeway or taking my double stroller anywhere near Zoo Lights.

4} LET’S TALK ABOUT OCTOBER.

Once the calendar rolls over to October 1, everyone gets all deep on social media and posts “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” and I just roll my eyes and judge them. I feel like it’s my duty to remind you that you live in Houston, and October actually feels like just another month of summer. If you are still getting bra sweat when you lift your kids in and out of the car and still suffering from humidity hair, then it’s only October on your calendar, my friends, and not in your actual life. {…Steps off soapbox...} In October, let’s focus on Halloween and what our littles are going to dress up as, and not on how many bags of candy corn I’m going to consume. Avoid the mad dash to Party City or Arne’s, and get your child’s costume now. Chances are, they’ve been telling you what they want to be since August anyway, so buy it now and let them wear it out and about so you can get your money’s worth and bizarre looks from strangers.

5} HELLO, THANKSGIVING.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? If you virtually raised your hand, why not go ahead and buy the dinnerware {or if you’re me – the paper plates} you need while there are still plenty to choose from. Get the “Thankful for a family that drinks” party cups and “Gobble till you wobble” napkins before those other clever moms do. Store it all away from your children, and you can rest easy Thanksgiving morning knowing you are all set for the day. Just kidding – you have kids, you’ll never be able to rest. Ha!

6} SHOP THE SALES.

After these holidays pass, I try to plan ahead for next year and stock up on any party goods or potential gifts when the prices are so low it makes me question if I was being ripped off in the first place. For example, we bought this year’s Christmas tree after Christmas last year and saved a ton of money {right?}. Storage containers and holiday cookware are always super cheap right after a holiday, too. I try to purchase anything new before putting the holiday stuff away, so when I pull it out the next year it’s ready to go. Truthfully, any excuse to shop is the main reason I “plan ahead” for holidays! Wink, wink.

Six Steps to a Stress-Free Holiday Season | Houston Moms Blog

Maybe if I follow my own advice, I won’t feel like my baby boy when Christmas rolls around!

So, would you add anything to this list? How are you planning to fight off the madness of the holidays this year??

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One Response to Six Steps to a Stress-Free Holiday Season

  1. Erin September 30, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    Britt, long before I even started dating B, I was way into holiday cookie baking. And it seemed like every year, the word got around to more people and I got invited to more cookie swap parties and I tried to top the year before’s cookies with new recipes… And… And… Thank goodness all of this was before Pinterest, too! So I offer my tips for de-crazying the cookie baking. 1) embrace the drop cookie over lots of cut-outs, 2) cookie stamps and colorful sugar sprinkles are easier than a ton of iced decorating, 3) make ahead doughs can be your friend–Good Housekeeping usually has some great suggestions, 4) stick with recipes you know and love–I eventually had a no new, or only one new, recipe rule, 5) bake with friends–my friend Julie and I have an annual cookie baking afternoon and it gives us a chance to catch up while tackling the baking.

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