Staying Sane Through the Holidays

Christmas in Lake County

Can you believe we’re already approaching the holidays? That block of time from the day after Halloween until New Year’s Day. If you’re like me, your brain thinks: what am I cooking for Thanksgiving? What Santa crafts will I do with my kids? Are we taking holiday portraits this year? Do I really get my child that loud/expensive/bulky item they’ve been wanting for Christmas? But I’d like to offer some relief. Here are some tips for staying sane through the holidays.

Tips for Staying Sane Through the Holidays

  1. Remember you can’t be perfect. So what if you don’t wash the baseboards for Thanksgiving dinner? Or that you haven’t gotten around to setting up your whole Christmas village. Oh well if someone notices. Maybe we try to make a parent pact: everyone scales back! Are you really judging the houses you’re going to? I recently went to a friend’s house that had toys all over the place. My reaction: yay! Someone who lives in my world!
  2. Take time out to have lunch with a friend. Commiserate together. Share cookie ideas. Watch each other’s kids while the other goes gift shopping. Think of it as holiday networking.
  3. Slow down. Look at your calendar. Are there any events you can cancel or not attend? Try to cut one event from your busy calendar. It’s amazing how removing one event making you feel lighter, less cluttered. If possible, cut out that event you were supposed to bake cookies for.
  4. Avoid the crowds. Shop online. Or locally. There are some great shops that are not at the mall or that begin with T and end with arget. And shopping in a quaint downtown will make you feel like you’re in a Hallmark holiday special.
staying sane through the holidays
  1. Traveling over the holidays? Here are some tips from Little Lake County’s Jessica G. for traveling with kids. Or if you’re traveling with a baby, here are some hacks from Alli.
  2. Pamper yourself. Go to a spa; exercise; sit by the fireplace and read; drink a huge mug of seasonal specialty coffee; take a walk with the dog; or all of the above. Whatever works. It may sound small but can really help to relax.
  3. Crafty? Take time out to do a craft with the kids. Not crafty? Then don’t do a craft with the kids. You can always take them somewhere that offers activities. Look at your library’s calendar of free activities or at your local park district’s brochure.
  4. Consider taking a year off from sending out holiday cards. One year, I used the money I would have spent on photo cards to donate to a charity. I probably saved myself ten hours of choosing photos, writing a message, licking envelopes, and hurrying out to the post office to get more holiday stamps (only to find that they are sold out of holiday stamps).
  5. Take time out to watch a holiday movie as a family. If you must make cookies/wrap gifts/clean the house, set the kids up to watch a holiday movie without you. (May I suggest Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas? It’s good for all ages.)

Remember that this time of the year is supposed to be joyful. Sometimes we get too wrapped up in trying to make all aspects perfect. If you think back to your own favorite holiday memory, chances are it wasn’t about the gifts or that the house was freshly dusted. It was about time spent with family and the special memories you created.

How do you stay sane over the holidays? Leave us your best tip in the comments section below.

About Natalie Rompella 37 Articles
Natalie is the mom of two humans and one nonhuman. She is the author of more than forty books and resources for kids, was a teacher and a museum educator, and will always be a Lake County native. Natalie enjoys insects, sled dog racing (observing!), crafting/experimenting with her kids, and forming a world safe from peanuts. Find out more about her and her books at

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