Friday, December 15, 2017

Holiday Survival Guide from a Mom of 4

Anyone else feeling like it's crunch time with only 10 days to go before Christmas?  With Christmas programs at school & church, holiday gatherings & parties filling up the calendar, and the need to still wrap all 22 of my gifts, it can be a little overwhelming.  And when Mom is overwhelmed, the whole house becomes chaotic.  So to help everyone out during this crazy, I mean wonderful, time of year, here is my Holiday Survival Guide:

Holiday Survival Guide from a Mom of 4

Organize and Make A Plan

It's not too late to start making a plan for the holiday season.  With places to be, food to make, and all while trying to keep a clean house, you need a plan.  A couple years ago on my blog I created Holiday Check Lists starting the week before Thanksgiving.

Holiday Survival Guide from a Mom of 4 - Organize and Make a Plan

This week make sure you have a menu in place for all of your Christmas gatherings and then buy all of your groceries.  The grocery store is a busy place the week of a holiday, so do your big shopping trip now, so if and when you need to go back, it can be for a quick trip!  Also, if you are like me and haven't wrapped any gifts, start wrapping!  No one likes wrapping gifts the day of a party to only find out you don't have enough wrapping paper.  So start now, wrap a few every night and before you know it you'll be done.  Be sure to check out the full check lists for 1 Week Before Christmas and Christmas Week to help you get organized.

Become a Minimalist

The minimalist lifestyle is a big trend these days, and part of the reason why is so you can declutter your life and live simply and happily.  You can take these principals when it comes to the holiday season too:
  • Make a budget for Christmas gifts, and scale-back on gift giving.  This might be the year to talk with family members about gift giving during the year.  Last year my sisters and I decided that we wouldn't give birthday gifts anymore for our generation and instead plan a birthday supper with the whole family.  We knew none of us needed stuff just because it was our birthday, and that getting together was more rewarding.
  • Don't buy holiday decorations.  Use what you have and if you want something new, make something with your kids.
  • Don't feel like you have to go to every holiday party you are invited to.  It is easy to say yes to every dinner and get together, but sometimes being away from home a lot, especially over the holidays, can be exhausting.  
  • Enjoy and evening at home.  Throw in a Christmas movie, pop some popcorn, and snuggle up on the couch with your family and simply enjoy a night a home with the Christmas Tree lights on.

Do those Extra-Special Things

So I know I just said, don't feel like you have to go to every holiday party you are invited to, but at the same time, make time to do those extra-special things and make memories with your family.  As my six year old son told me before we decided to go see the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train come through town, "this doesn't happen every day."  Go see Santa.  Go to a Christmas Tree Farm to pick out your tree.  Go on a drive to check out Christmas lights.  And always, go see the Holiday Train if it comes through your area.

Holiday Survival Guide from a Mom of 4 - Do the Extra-Special Things and Create Memories, like the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train
The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train in Mason City, Iowa

Bake Cookies

Baking Christmas Cookies isn't only delicious, but it can be a fun tradition to do with your family.  Now at the same time, there is no need to get overwhelmed by cookie baking, so make your favorites, or try some simple cookies.  Here are some of my family's favorites:

Holiday Survival Guide from a Mom of 4 - Bake Cookies including family favorites like Peanut Butter Balls

Holiday Survival Guide from a Mom of 4 - Bake Cookies including family favorites like Rum Logs

Holiday Survival Guide from a Mom of 4 - Bake Cookies including family favorites like Homemade Chocolate Mint Oreos

Remember the Reason for the Season

Lastly, always remember the reason for the the season.  Like I have said, Christmas can be a busy time of year, but take time to reflect with your loved ones about Jesus's birth.  Do simple things every day like family Advent devotions.  Make Christmas gifts simple by giving three gifts to represent the three gifts Jesus received.  Also, think about ways your family can give back or pay it forward during the holiday season to share God's love.  And incorporate your birthday traditions on Christmas Day to remind everyone why we are celebrating during the holidays.

What are your tips for surviving the holiday?  Be sure to share and Comment for a Cause.


  1. Thanks for the tips! I no longer have all the Christmas events to do with the kids and grandkids, but I too realized that a plan was essential. Have a Wonderful Holiday!

    1. Thanks Dee. Hope you have a great Christmas too!

  2. Such great tips, Val! I have definitely downplayed the busyness of Christmas the past few years and am fine with Christmas cards going out after Christmas! Less stress!

  3. Great tips! This time of year does have a way of getting crazy. It's nice to take a step back and decide how much of it is really necessary.