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7 Ways to Fight Holiday Stress

Marjorie Bogart
Nov. 6, 2013

One mom shares her tips on getting through the winter holidays without breaking down, as part of the Care.com Interview Series.

Holidays make you want to scream? Before you start yelling at carolers, making fun of Rudolph and crying in shopping malls, take a deep breath. We're here to help.

We all know the winter holidays can get overwhelming, especially with little ones running around. Mom and House of Hendrix blogger Allison Hendrix reveals her tips for staying sane this winter -- and why re-gifting is sometimes necessary.

And for more helpful tips, check out Care.com's Guide to Managing Stress.
 

  1. Spread Things Out
    Instead of giving everyone their gifts at the end of the month, why not brighten people's days a little earlier? Hendrix encourages you to, "give all of the teachers and aides their gift on December 1st. It is a kick-off to their holiday season, checks teachers off our list and is remembered because it's not given during the chaos."
     
  2. Don't Lose Your List
    Keeping an organized list of people to shop for and what to buy them can save you a huge headache. However, Hendrix learned the hard way that that list is only helpful if you hold onto it! "I made one master list then the week before Christmas, I lost it. Several people didn't get a gift that year. It was awkward and there was some quick re-gifting going on." Trying saving your master list in Google Drive, so you always have access to it.
     
  3. Hire a Babysitter
    It's no secret that the simplest shopping trips can take hours when kids are involved. When it's time for some serious shopping or a tight deadline is looming, Hendrix opts to do it alone. "If we can afford it, I will get a babysitter to watch the kids, so I can do some last minute errands."
     
  4. Embrace Take-Out
    Feeding all the relatives around the holidays can be equivalent to feeding a small army. To satisfy her troops and still have some time to relax, Hendrix relies on some outside help. "On Christmas Eve, it has become a funny tradition to get take-out soup, salad and lasagna from Olive Garden for dinner, so nobody cooks."
     
  5. Try a Secret Santa
    Big families are great, but it can be a real strain on your wallet when it's time to buy presents for everyone. Hendrix has found a solution: "I have 35 relatives who we will be with over the holidays. To alleviate the financial burden of this, we draw names of a relative and we focus on getting them something personal."
     
  6. Choose Quality, Not Quantity
    It's hard to ignore the constant commercials convincing us to buy every hot new item out there. Getting caught up in the shopping hype will leave you burnt out and broke. Hendrix made it a goal to give her daughters more meaningful presents. "Suddenly, I was significantly more intentional and my time was not spent wandering toy stores."
     
  7. Focus on the Memories
    It's easy to get caught up (and stressed out!) about all the physical items to buy and make this time of year, but it's important to look at the bigger picture. Hendrix reminds us that, "toys break, meals are eaten, decorations come down, but the experiences that involve relationship are what linger."


Learn more about Hendrix in our full interview below -- including the surprising place her family keeps their trees.
 

Tell us about you, your family and your blog.

I am a wife to my best friend, who I met when I was 12. I have an 11-year-old daughter, Lily, and two sons, Campbell (8) and Palmer (6). Three words describing our home are joy, imperfection and grace. The House of Hendrix blog is life as we live it. We have no advice to give, only encouragement and a few things we are figuring out on our way.

How do you typically celebrate the holidays?

We have always celebrated the holidays big. In the past, we gather at my sister's house for Christmas Eve. The seven cousins sprinkle reindeer food in the lawn as we read "'Twas the Night Before Christmas." Grandparents, and any in-laws visiting, all gather and we will each open one present. In the morning, we each take a few hours opening presents with our immediate family and then gather together at my house for a big Christmas brunch. We make a birthday cake and sing happy birthday to Jesus.

Any winter holiday traditions you wish to share?

Each of my children has an 18-inch tree in their room. We decorate it with lights and every year we pick out one new ornament that represents something from that year. One son hung a soccer ball, my daughter, a horse.

Allison Hendrix is the blogger of House of Hendrix, where she accepts imperfection and embraces joy and grace. She writes motherly encouragement, not advice, because she's the first to admit she doesn't have all the answers. She is a happy wife to her best friend that she met when she was twelve and the proud mother of her three children, Lily, Campbell and Palmer. You can find Hendrix on Facebook and Twitter.

Check out even more holiday tips in our Care.com Interview Series: Holiday Survival Kit.

Photo used with permission by Allison Hendrix

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