Holiday Sanity Savers

Today marks one week until Halloween. Can you believe that? 2013 has FLOWN by, as far as I’m concerned! As we draw closer to “the holidays”, I wanted to make sure that I take time to share with you my favorite “Holiday Sanity Savers”. Because, before you know it, you’ll need them! (And so will I!)

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Sanity is highly-prized in our home, especially in the months of October, November and December. Why? Because that’s when I get REALLY busy…which means my hubby gets really busy, too.

You regular readers know that I work full time, but from October-December, I run a great sale with my part-time photography business, because lots of folks love getting family photos for their Christmas cards! So, between those three months, I have about 20 photo shoots booked (oh, and even a December wedding this year!), in addition to my full-time job…and the blogging…and the company coming for the holidays, and the Christmas production we are a part of at church…and the Christmas shopping…and the Christmas card mailing…and the Christmas decorating…and the Christmas baking…

Okay, NOW I’m tired.

Every year I try to perfect my strategy, so that our Christmas is not like our first Christmas together.

It’s funnier now than it was then, actually. It was 11:55 p.m. on Christmas Eve, and I was just getting started in the kitchen on the food for Christmas Day. I was exhausted already, so I wasn’t really enjoying the food prep.

My husband was in the living room, doing his best to set up a set of speakers for the TV that his parents had given to him earlier in the day. He was exhausted, too, and the setup wasn’t going well.

At exactly midnight, I thought, “OH! It’s Christmas now! Our first one together as a married couple! I’m gonna go wish him a Merry Christmas!

I walked into the living room.

Me: Hey baby, guess what?
Hubby: (In an exasperated tone) What?
Me: It’s Christmas!
Hubby: Uh huh.
Me: Exactly right now, it just turned Christmas! Our first one together! Merry Christmas!
Hubby: (Throws down the screwdriver) I can’t get this stupid thing to work with the dadgum TV!!!!!

I went back to the kitchen.

My point is, I LOVE the time of year that is fast-approaching, and I want to be able to enjoy it, even with all the craziness that goes on! I still want to have FUN!

So, here’s my plan for this year (modified from last year, that worked pretty well).

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1. Plan ahead

We were literally planning Thanksgiving at the beginning of October. (Our Thanksgiving involves a bit of coordinating with family members and work and travel schedules, so we work it out as soon as possible. And when we’re all together on Thanksgiving, we’ll plan Christmas.) I have already been given my meal assignments for the day, too!

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2. Use the same system

I keep a document of address labels on file that I use for Christmas cards every year. Each year I modify a bit, as we know more people than we do the year before, but then, with one click I can print it out, and it sure is easier than having to address all of our Christmas cards.

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3. Keep inspiration fresh

I LOVE Pinterest for this! I have two boards in particular: Fabulous Fall and ‘Tis the Season. I pin on these all year round, but when it hits Fall, I go back and look at all the treasures, and I get excited all over again!

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4. Become a calendar Nazi

I don’t care if you keep a calendar on a normal basis or not – keep one just for this. Everything from when we are getting our pics done to when I need to start on the baking is on the calendar. And I get it on there as soon as possible.

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5. Shop online

I really hate the crowds who are out Christmas shopping. It’s no fun for me at all, and I normally get pretty frustrated. So, we start putting money aside for Christmas in June, and by Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) I have gone through all my catalogs and searched for all kinds of gifts online, and have made my list and checked it twice. At the stroke of midnight, when it is officially Cyber Monday, I order all Christmas gifts within about 30 minutes. Then they come to my house on their own, and I wrap them as they come.

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6. Delegate

I don’t care what you’ve got going on, there ARE some things you can delegate. My hubby takes on the brunt of the housework and even some of the cooking during these busy months (I’m trying to hard to teach him to cook!) and that helps TREMENDOUSLY!Β  My mom helps in designing props for photo shoots, and my dad fixes stuff around the house before guests arrive! Also, our family gatherings are always “pot luck” style, so no one person has to prepare the entire meal!

Hopefully the above tips will help YOU keep a firm grip on your sanity this coming season!

But what about YOU? What’s your BEST Holiday Sanity Saver tip?

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58 thoughts on “Holiday Sanity Savers

  1. Excellent tips. It’s a super busy time for us, too and I would be LOST if I didn’t keep a calendar. Seriously! I also shop online. I hate the crowds in the stores and I much prefer to do it from the comfort of my couch!

  2. So this is totally lame but this year my “holiday sanity saver” is the fact that we aren’t doing gifts. There is just SO much going on this year that we decided to forgo the “oh my gosh we have to get something for ____ and then get something else for ____ so that it’s fair”. October – January are absolutely the busiest months for me as well. October is our anniversary and my MIL’s birthday – not too much going on normally but this year it’s a bit different. We took our last road trip, before I deliver, last weekend, and my SIL is three weeks behind me in pregnancy so her baby shower is next weekend. Oh and then on top of that for this year add in all of the pregnancy appointments. They are scheduled every four weeks but as of Halloween, my next appointment, they will be scheduled every two weeks. So the first weekend in October was my glucose screening appointment and my MIL’s birthday, the second weekend was a catch up for everything that needed to be done so there was A LOT of running around, the third weekend was a family wedding that was out of town, this past weekend we went out of town to see my mom in VA, this coming up weekend is my SIL’s baby shower, next weekend is a family gathering (if we can make it all work out, there’s still so much to do in the nursery!), the weekend after that is my niece’s second birthday, the weekend after that is my FIL’s birthday, the weekend after that is Thanksgiving and my other SIL’s birthday… are you feeling my pain!??! Oh ya and don’t forget to throw in all my doctor appointments and things that routinely need to get done around the house. Ah!

  3. My absolute BEST Holiday Sanity Saver tip is: Do less enjoy more! Yep, it is simple but totally effective! It is ok to have just one present, and simple decoration (the same every year), and simple but yummy food. This way I have time to enjoy every minute of it, I love Christmas time.

  4. One this is for absolutley certain. The holiday season and stresses it brings can be overwhelming if not properly managed! It can feel like standing in a long line at a Disney World ride in the heat of the summer. I sure hope your pre-planning make for a much smoother season this year. All good advice!

  5. Holiday Sanity Savers, Thank you!!! For me the holidays should be a time we share with family and friends in good spirits not stressed. Too often we find ourselves on edge and snappy with our loved ones. These tips are sure to help everyone. Thank you!

  6. I agree with you having a system is absolutely crucial this time of year. I love it too but this year I am already burnt out and it is only the end of October. I am a huge planner so I do have that covered. However, like you I am always working or something so taking time to enjoy this is a bit tricky. I am going to try to do better this year than last year.

  7. Thanks for the reminders! I’d go crazy without my calendar. I also love to do some of my shopping online. And I’d add to this, start early – especially for Christmas. I’m casually getting some gifts now and sometimes throughout the year so I am not in a last minute hurry. I totally hate that!

    • Very true! Why I normally wait until Cyber Monday is because lots of the time I can get free shipping and great deals! But sometimes there ARE things you have to get ahead of time, that’s for sure!

  8. Great tips! The majority of my family is in South America, so there’s really no way for everyone to get together. But I have an uncle that lives close, so my family usually opens presents on the stroke of 12am christmas morning. Then we sleep and plan to meet with the other family for a dinner. WE bring ingredients and work together to get the food prepped. One year I bought all my presents online, I was thinking of planning to do that this year too. Thanks for the ideas!

  9. Nice list! I am definitely already starting on Holiday overload! I work full time, blog (well I am trying to) and run a Direct Sales Business. I am in planning faze and I am always a calendar Nazi! I wish you luck and a stress free Holiday.

  10. Whoa you’re busy as a bee during the holiday season πŸ™‚ Love your planning ahead idea and of course the delegating and online shopping. Much fun and easier to work if you delegate the chores and online shopping will not take all your time as you can do it while baking at home and other stuffs πŸ™‚ Thumbs up for this tips πŸ˜‰

  11. Wow! I can’t think of any tips right now…I love shopping online, but I also love the tradition of Black Friday shopping. Generally if I’m looking for clothing items for people I will check out the clearance racks on Friday to see if I can get any super deals and then I’ll also check online to see if there is anything else I can put with it.
    My husband has this great program at work where they take out a certain amount from each check and then we get a special check the beginning of Nov with all of that money. It is so nice not to have to think about it. Maybe that will be my tip. Most banks offer Christmas saver accounts, they are usually set up just like the program at my hubby’s job. Give yourself a set amount you want to save, or just whatever you know you can put away each week. Then you can shop in peace, knowing you already have the money. And if your credit card offers cash back or points you can take advantage o that as well and no worries about interest charges.
    Well that was kinda long… πŸ™‚

    • No worries on the long, that was a great tip! It really takes the pressure off if you already have the money set aside – you don’t feel like you’re breaking the bank, because you’ve already saved for the occasion!

  12. I love these tips, and I love that you got me to start thinking about them now. Online shopping a must, delegating I am getting better at, and the calendar thing…that is where I need help! I just found out about this app called Cozi though that can sync everyone’s calendar in your family. I think now is a better time than ever to get going on this! Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. I’ve talked myself into doing all my shopping online this year and never setting one foot inside a store. Not like that one year I stood outside Walmart at 3am on Black Friday. I’ll never do that again. These were great tips!

  14. Sometimes I think doing what my friend and her husband do would be SO nice. They don’t buy gifts. They just spend time with family. However, I think I’d miss the gift giving if I did that, so I’m back to square one.
    To avoid the madness, I try to get gifts early in the season. We make most of ours, so we have to get sort of an early start.
    I like your “potluck” approach. May have to incorporate that.

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