The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
By Patti Hermes
Yes, it's that time again … the Holiday Season has begun! What?!
Didn't we just get over Halloween, yesterday? Of course, didn't you get the memo? Holiday Season now starts with Halloween. Unless you live in Canada, where it starts with Thanksgiving … which is a about a month earlier.
Are you feeling it? Talk of Holiday Season can stress out even the most laid-back moms and dads. It's supposed to be a fun, family-centered time to liven up the darkest days of winter, and yet it strikes fear and anxiety across the land. Will I have time to decorate? Will I have time to finish all the gift shopping and will I have enough money to pay for it all and will everyone love all the gifts I pick out just for them? Yikes! And I haven't even got started with all the baking yet!
OK, that was just my annual panic attack. It's all over now so we can get on with the business of not freaking out about all the holidays to come in the next couple of months. Here's my checklist for November, because some things just require a checklist.
1. Wake up early to give yourself some quiet time before the household moves into full-on day mode. Personally, I need at least an hour to squeeze in a workout and then some writing time before the kiddos get up for the day, but you may need only five minutes. If you can carve out some quiet time later in the day while the kids are at school, or while taking a break at work, then just a moment before the day begins to take a deep breath and not let it get away from you before it even starts might be all you need. You could try another quiet time after everyone has gone to sleep at night, but it's not the same (and it's bound to get interrupted).
2. Plan to have some friends over for commiserating about the upcoming frenzy. Pick a day right after the American Thanksgiving holiday, after you've recovered from Black Friday, and just get together for a midweek game night or old-fashioned morning coffee. Actually, if you can squeeze it in, make it every week, and plan to just hang out and be with friends. Show your kids that you need play dates too!
3. Go ahead and plan to make a bunch of homemade gifts, but set a reasonable deadline and stick to it. Anything not done by December 1st gets put away until next year. You have enough gift-wrapping and baking to do to fill the entire month of December. Any and all crafting after that point should be relegated to the children.
4. Ah, kids! Did we forget we have minions? Delegate, delegate, delegate. And then just go with the flow. If they're old enough to drive, send them on errands. If they can cut and tape, hand off the gift-wrapping. They may not do things your way, but getting the whole family in on the holiday frenzy adds a special touch, doesn't it?
5. You're almost there, so take a deep breath, and enjoy. Whatever you celebrate, whenever you celebrate, celebrate with joy.
Patti Hermes is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it's a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at http://writesforchocolate.blogspot.com.