Done with your holiday shopping yet? Those are words that send shivers down the spines of busy moms every holiday season. Circle of Moms member Sally W. is one of many who struggle with the stress that the holiday season can bring for moms. As she explains, “There is always so much pressure on you to be perfect, a picture of joy, and everyone expects you to keep them happy."
Circle of Moms members who've learned to stay calm amid the holiday storm say it's important to notch down the pressure. They also point out that no-one's going to do it for you, so you have to do it yourself! Here's how:
1. Scale Way Back on Holiday Travel
Every year the stress starts mounting as families plan for holiday visits. One way to take the heat off is to start setting boundaries early, they add. “Say a big no to trekking from relative to relative’s house,” says Lee Y. “Start putting up some boundaries now so relatives don’t expect a two-year-old to trek from house to house. You want to create happy memories for your son to remember, not dread. Don't start a tradition that only creates misery for you and them.”
2. Tap the Season's Real Meaning
Keeping your focus on the true meaning of the holidays, instead of on the commercial hoopla, will help relieve some of the racing around stress, says Circle of Moms member Amanda C. “As your kids get older it only gets more complicated,” she says, "so start young and set a tone that Christmas is about giving from the heart and not from the wallet. Maybe start a tradition to volunteer as a family at a shelter (teen, animal, food). Keep gifts simple! Only get one present of real value and ask family to look at the child's list and buy from that. . . . start when your kids are young and make it about giving, and . . . you [will] stress less.”
3. Save Money by Making Gifts
The pressure to buy perfect gifts for everyone on your holiday list can add lots of financial anxiety to the holidays. “We never have enough money and it stresses us out,” says Nikki C. As she explains, "we worry about how many gifts are under the tree instead of celebrating the holiday with our families and friends and realizing all the positive in our lives. This year, in an effort both to cut costs and to get back in touch with the true meaning of the holidays, she'll be giving homemade baked goods to teachers and friends. Caitlin A. stayed within a budget last year by gifting baskets with jams and jellies that she made over the summer. "It was a hit," she reports.
4. Simplify Your Shopping
Instead of bouncing from store to store across town or the mall, some Circle of Moms members recommend hitting one store or boutique and purchasing all your gifts there. Boutiques often wrap the gifts, too. “We always tend to go low key,” shares Caitlin A. “With a third child in the family this year, it's certain to be a small affair."
Or, as many members suggest, bypass the stores entirely and shop online, in the relative calm of your own home. Kristen F. says you can cut costs by shopping online: “You can find some GREAT buys on eBay and Craigslist. . . .it's used sometimes, but honestly, do they know?"
5. Schedule Some “Me Time”
In the rush of holiday planning, busy moms need to take a moment to just breathe. “I find a day when I can just chill out and have no running around town activities and [I] schedule in some major down time for myself,” says Jody P., adding that this has lessened her holiday stress considerably.
6. Treat Yourself
As Taryn P. points out, it's all too easy to neglect ourselves when we're so busy making the holidays happen for our families. The best gift we moms can give ourselves is a commitment to our own health. Taryn suggests focusing on getting proper sleep or setting a fitness or health goal for the New Year. And she adds, "Don't forget to treat yourself."
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.