Surviving the holiday season (with littles)

Christmas looks a little different as a parent, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a bucketload of fun for everyone involved (after all, they kind of make this whole season complete, amIright?)! You just have to make sure you have the right mindset heading into the holiday season. Here are a few tips for surviving — and even thriving — as we barrel into the most wonderful time of the year!
  1. Act the way you’d like the rest of your family to act. Let’s face it, you are a role model and set the tone for the rest of your family’s behavior (especially your children) — so why not set a good example? You can’t expect your littles to behave if you, yourself, have a bad attitude. Act stressed, and everyone else will feed off that tension. Stay calm, cool, and collected, and everyone is sure to enjoy the holiday season.
  2. Manage expectations (including gifts, company, meals, and activities). Christmas begins earlier every year, doesn’t it? Not a big fan of the Christmas tree at Thanksgiving dinner? Don’t be afraid to make your feelings known. We Tomes are a one holiday at a time kind of family, but you have to decide what works for you. (Truth: we do start watching those cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies at Halloween, however.) Make a game plan, and stick to it. Discuss what’s feasible. Do not allow yourself to be backed into a corner. This is your holiday season also. You want to begin the New Year feeling refreshed and renewed, not dreaming of a tropical vacation AWAY from your family. And when it comes to all those gifts? Tell your kiddos you love them, and remind them that Christmas is about family and kindness — the gifts are just an added bonus.
  3. Just say yes to help! Does grandma want to watch the littles while you finish your holiday shopping? Let her have ‘em! Did your husband offer to have a cleaning service come in and hit reset before out-of-town family arrives? For the love, say yes! Killing yourself does not make you Super Mom. Remember the oxygen mask on a plane anecdote? You have to take care of yourself if you want to be useful to others. This includes saying yes to help during the holiday season.
  4. Remember that game plan we discussed above? Make one. And try* your best to stick to it. The kiddos will be home from school, which means they will be all, “Mom, I’m so bored. What can we do? Can we go to the mall? Can we go to the movies? Do you wanna build a snowman?” Why not have activities planned for your youngsters in advance? Check SFM's calendar to see what is going on around town. Schedule play dates — maybe you can even trade off with some of your mom friends so that everyone gets a little break (for shopping, or napping, or crawling back into bed with a cup of hot cocoa and an aforementioned Hallmark holiday movie). Sounds like a win-win to us!
  5. And don’t be afraid to relax the rules. Just a bit. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of the holidays. Why? Because my parents did such an amazing job of making it a magical time for our family. Sure, bedtime still exists over Christmas break — but what’s the harm in staying up for one last Christmas movie every now and then? Or taking an after-normal-bedtime drive around the neighborhood to look at everyone’s Christmas lights? Thanksgiving and Christmas only come once a year. Besides, you’ll get back on schedule in the New Year…

What are your best tips for surviving the holiday season with your sanity intact? What is your family most looking forward to this Christmas? We’d love to hear! Feel free to share in the comments section below, and don’t forget to tag us in your photos when sharing to social media! Use the hashtag #sfmholidaymemories. Cheers to a happy, and (mostly) stress-free holiday season!

About the author…After three blissful years in the Treasure State, Jessica recently moved back to Houston, Texas with her hunky husband and her three precious little girls, Savannah Leigh, Emma Kate, and Brooklyn Olivia. Jessica is a small business owner with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, and a nerd-like love for political science. She is passionate about writing, marketing, social media management, and this wonderfully beautiful mess we call parenthood.