The holidays add a whole new layer of hectic onto every mom's already jam-packed schedule—but you don't have to manage your crazy to-do list on your own. Having your family help with all those tasks can help leave you more time for holiday fun—and less time feeling frazzled. Here are the best ways to get your whole crew in on the to-dos—to help you make the holidays better.
Check your list for tasks they can manage. Even preschoolers can help frost cookies, stuff holiday cards into envelopes, or put an ornament on the tree. Tweens and teens can help wrap presents (stock up on some gift bags from Target to make it easier), bake a batch of cookies, or help with chores—have them break out the vacuum and duster and get the house in ship-shape before any holiday festivities!
Create a cookie exchange. Want a variety of sweets without all the sweat equity? Get your extended family and friends involved in a cookie exchange, so everyone gets a mixed bag of deliciousness—without shouldering all of the baking effort.
Divide and conquer. Speed up your shopping trips by making a list of gift ideas, then splitting it with your partner and your kids and hitting the stores together. Agree beforehand on what everyone is getting; then split up in parent-led teams. Let kids shop for little, easy-to-find things you know you’ll need, like Duracell batteries. You'll get everyone's gifts in hand faster than if you all looked for each gift together. (If you're the competitive type, see which team can speed through their gift list first—and let the victors pick a cool pre-holiday reward.)
Encourage your kids to help make gifts. Sometimes, homemade gifts really are the best, most thoughtful ones. If DIY presents would bring cheer to some of the people on your gift-lsit, get your kids to help—when it's making ornaments for a tree, festively wrapped baked goods, or putting together hot cocoa kits.
Deck the halls together. Put your whole family to work to get the house decorated for the holidays—and don't worry about making everything look holiday-card perfect (especially if you've got little kids!). The tinsel on the tree may be lopsided, but you'll get the job done and make memories to boot.
Put the fun into it. Even the most mundane chores feel more exciting when you add a holiday spin to it. Create a holiday playlist and sing along as you tackle the to-dos, serve cocoa, and cookies while you gift wrap, or enlist extra reinforcements by inviting a few friends over to trim your tree.