How to Reduce Holiday Stress
This year’s holiday season is shorter than ever. Less than four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas – and zero weeks between Thanksgiving and Hanukkah – is a record for a compressed holiday schedule. For those who are traveling or celebrating the weekend after Thanksgiving and the weekend before Christmas, it means there are only two weekends left for shopping, wrapping and preparing for jolly times. And for working parents, there’s very little other time to do those things.
Over the past few days and weeks, I’ve heard friends and relatives share dozens of different strategies to cope. Some are shopping online only. Others spent Black Friday purchasing 100% of their holiday gifts. I have friends who are sending New Year’s cards instead of Christmas cards in order to give themselves an extra week. Others are giving up cooking and relying entirely on take-out meals starting on December 21 and going through Christmas Eve. And one friend of mine is gradually moving her kids’ bedtimes back a few minutes each night so she can get more time alone in the evening as she works to get things ready for the holidays (this gets my vote for most brilliant plan). Different strategies work for different people. But the one thing they have in common is the need to prioritize, set limits, and have realistic expectations of what you really need – and what you can do without – to have a happy and healthy holiday season.
Working Mother magazine had a fantastic blog post with 10 Steps to Reduce Holiday Stress. It’s worth taking a few minutes out of your day to get the reality check it delivers.