There was a time in my family when nobody would speak up about what they wanted or needed. Everyone was trying so hard to please each other, but nobody was happy! Somehow, the assertive speaking skills we had mastered in the workplace weren’t carrying over to home. Once I started speaking up for my wish list, we were able to find new traditions that worked for everyone.
There’s a tipping point for me, when the to-do list reaches such gargantuan proportions that I become a deer in headlights. All work grinds to a halt as I worry about all the work to be done. That’s especially likely to happen during the holidays. Then came the magical day when I decided to try the project management software I use at work for my personal life. Better than a simple to-do list, Trello lets you break up the list into separate categories, or cards. Some of my cards are “Most Urgent,” “To Delegate,” “Shopping List,” and “Day Of.” It makes everything run smoothly.
Did you notice that one of my categories was “Delegate”? My life was revolutionized the day I realized I didn’t have to do it all. (Sure, mock if you will, but that was big for me). By delegating tasks to my kids, they learn how to someday navigate their own holiday seasons as adults. My favorite memories have been made wrapping presents with my children. Sure, some of the presents are wrapped a little… artistically…, but their siblings aren’t going to notice or care if the tape is perfectly aligned.
Delegating can even be extended to guests. Before the event, think of what tasks can be shared so when someone asks, “Can I help?” you have an answer for them. At every party, there will be people who would be happier if they have something to do. Parsing out little tasks not only takes some of the pressure off you, it makes you a better host!
Help during the holiday season can even come from the stores you shop at. Many stores have free gift wrapping services; they just don’t advertise it. Don’t be afraid to ask. Did you buy something that has “some assembly required?” Ask the store to put it together for you. Even if you have to pay for the service, the heartache you’ll save will make it worth it!
Let it go:
No matter how well you plan or delegate, there will still be hitches or things that don’t get done. That’s okay. Ultimately, the hiccups only have the power to ruin the season if you allow them to. Choose to enjoy your friends and family even when things go awry. Of course, for some of us, to “Let It Go” is such a monumental task that it’s worthy of an epic ballad if we manage to accomplish it. But the effort will undoubtedly make for smoother holidays. (And to everyone who now has that song stuck in your head: You’re Welcome. Oh, there’s another one).
Don’t be afraid to stop doing the high-stress traditions. Just because you’ve always done something, doesn’t mean you always have to do something. It’s okay to replace old traditions that stress you out with new ones that are more enjoyable for everyone.
Don’t ditch it:
Don’t give up the daily habits that calm and center you to accommodate the extra workload during the holidays. If your day starts with yoga or a trip to the gym, don’t give into the temptation to skip it to make extra time in your schedule. Use the tips above to make the wiggle room without sacrificing needed routines!
Keep it simple:
Some thrive on being the Pinterest queen, and I respect that. (I don’t necessarily understand it, but I do respect it). But for me, the big day is not the time to try an elaborate new recipe. I’m much better off to stick with the tried and true recipes I could do in my sleep that I know my family loves. I work those other recipes in throughout the year, so I can test them out in a situation that isn’t quite so intense. If I simply must try something new, I do a test run before, much to the delight of my kiddos. Remember, guests care less about elaborate decorations and more about seeing you – and your stress will stress them out! So, take a deep breath in and enjoy the holidays.