As we are in the middle of the holiday season, many parents are wondering how to make the most of this time with family. Sometimes the experience falls flat and our expectations aren’t met, which may lead to frustration and more stress. Many of us are dreaming of the perfect Christmas that we experienced as children, but in reality those days are long gone, and the holidays and celebrations are just different. Often, when our celebrations don’t meet our expectations, we tend to become stressed and frustrated.Ã‚Â Even if it means changing a few traditions just so that you can maintain your sanity, it may be worth it in the long run.Ã‚Â To avoid this downfall, here are a few tips to help every member of the family enjoy this wonderful time of the year.
Reassess and Prioritize
Most often is the case that holiday stress sets in when we try to do too much during this already busy time of the year. The main reason that we feel this stress is because we are feeling out of control and we react emotionally to it. It is at this moment of break down that it is important to take a minute to reassess the situation and figure out what exactly is stressing you out. Try to think of alternative ways of doing things. You may just find that there is an easier way of celebrating that doesn’t cause so much stress.
As parents, and especially as mothers, we try to do everything ourselves without letting anyone help. The motto is: “If I do it, then I know that it is done right.” On the down side of this motto is that we take on too much and burn ourselves out when we could have easily received help by delegating. Maybe the house needs cleaning or the decorations need to be hung, well, get each member of the family to help with these things. It is important to assign a job to the kids and to your spouse so that they feel like they are helping and so that you do not have to do it all. The job to be done may not be done to your standards, but this is a time where it is important to lower your expectations, especially for the children. First, make the expectations clear, then when the job falls a little from your expectations, realize that it is okay.
Know When to Say “No”
Throughout the holiday season, we as parents tend to hear the phrase, “I want, I want!” quite a bit. It is normal for children to behave this way, because after all they know that they are going to be receiving presents. However, this repeated phrase can wear down parents, and so eventually you may give into your children’s requests. It is important to not give into everything because essentially it may cause financial distress. If your children are old enough to understand, tell them that you just can’t afford to buy them everything that they want and that even Santa Clause has somewhat limited funds.
Another way to distract your children from all of the commercial commotion of the holidays is to find and develop new traditions that don’t cost any extra money. There are many ways to enjoy the holiday season without spending any money, for example, baking cookies for family and friends, going caroling around the neighborhood, giving to needy families and volunteering around the community. When children are young it is important to stress the idea that other families may not have as much as they do and that it feels good to give back. You may even want to ask your kids to pick out a few older toys to donate to the less fortunate, this way they are taking an active part in giving service to others.
Be Realistic About Relatives
When the in-laws and other family members visit during the holidays it is important to understand the situation for the short term. The reality is that they are there to enjoy the holidays with people that they love, and your cordiality is a gift to them. If there have been past issues with certain family members, try not to bring up these issues during the holidays. This will undoubtedly bring up bad feelings and may ruin the season for you and many others.
Also, if going to a certain relatives house every year seems to cause more stress than is needed, arrange with your family that you will only visit every other year. You’ll find that this will drastically cut down on the stress that you feel during this time of year.
When everything is said and done, it is important to take it easy on yourself during the holidays. After all, this is a time to celebrate with our families and friends and reconnect with each other. This is not the time of year to try and impress everyone who steps foot inside your front door. Yes, do a little decorating, but don’t feel like you have to over-do it. In reality, visitors won’t even notice every decoration that you’ve set out. Do what you can to have thingsÃ‚Â organized and ready to go, but in the end just sit back and enjoy this time of year.