10 Ways To Have A More Sane Holiday Season

Ho, ho, ho, HELLLLLLLLLLLP! Holidays may be the season of good cheer, but they’re also one of the more insane times of the year. While I can’t help you deliver gifts or deal with a mother-in-law who always complains the turkey isn’t moist enough, I do have some ideas for having a more sane season.

1) Outsource. I’m not talking to India—I’m talking to your husband. A lot of us (and I am definitely guilty here) tend to take the brunt of the holiday to-dos. But Santa has his elves, and so can you! Rope your husband into buying gifts and doing the home decorating. Get the kids to wrap presents—who cares if they don’t look perfect! You’ll be a lot more merry if you’re not a one-woman show.

2) Make a list, buy it twice. The idea is to come up with one or two great presents you can give to a whole lot of people—say, a bunch of candles wrapped in ribbon for neighbors. Obviously, you’ll want specific presents for your family but there’s no reason the mailman and sanitation guys can’t all get a tin of cookies or a gift card.

3) Get the kids to create gifts. Make rolls of cookie dough (about one pound each), then wrap in red Saran Wrap topped with wrapping paper plus bows on either end. Or buy a bunch of plain mugs at the dollar store, have the kids decorate the cups with permanent markers, fill with candies, wrap in colorful cellophane, add tags with notes, done! Great activity for them, fewer presents for you to pick up.

4) Cut back on the card list. Last year, instead of sending out cards to every single person on my list, I halved it. Certain relatives got mailed cards; the others got emailed ones. And the kids looked just as cute in both versions.

5) Find a more sane post office. Ones that are in areas with lots of stores and warehouses tend to be more quiet than residential areas because those businesses don’t send much mail through the USPS. Hitting it shortly after it opens is usually the most quiet time.

6) Forget the post office and ship stuff online. Hit up sites like RetailMeNot for codes for free shipping. Also, get your name on the wait list for Amazon Mom—when you join

7) Hit stores when they’re least busy, too. A mall’s early hours and right before close tend to be the most quiet ones, and Mondays and Tuesdays the least busy days. For grocery shopping, go on a Wednesday, the least visited day., you get free two-day shipping.

8) Organize a class gift. If no mom in the class is doing this, suggest it. Then just get your child to write a personal note or draw a picture. A teacher once told me that although she certainly appreciated the presents she got from parents, what she most loved were the notes and pictures her students gave her.

9) Carve out time to volunteer. Sites like Volunteer MatchUnited We Serve, and 1-800-Volunteer list local do-good opportunities. During this time of year, organizations need help organizing presents and serving holiday meals; nursing homes and hospitals look for people to come and keep people company (The Holiday Project is dedicated just to that). Rope in kids to pitch in, too. One easy activity: Print out some pages from Color A Smile and send to them to be distributed to nursing homes and Meals on Wheels programs. Giving back is the best way to remember the true spirit of the season—and get perspective on how relatively non-stressful your life really is.

10) Schedule in you time. Literally write it into your calendar or punch it into your phone—a mani or pedi, dedicated reading time at the library, a brisk early-morning walk to burn off some of those holiday cookies. ‘Tis the season to keep your sanity!

If you have any ideas for making the holidays easier, please share.

From my other blog:

The thanks I owe my child with special needs


The special needs parent to-do list



Image: Easy button via Shutterstock


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  1. by Morning Feeding: Why I’m Defending My Two Moms

    On December 6, 2011 at 10:40 am

    [...] How to enjoy a more sane holiday (Parents.com) [...]