1. Resources
  2. /
  3. Parenting
  4. /
  5. Holidays & seasons

6 Ways to Ruin the Holidays

Marjorie Bogart
Nov. 6, 2013

One mom's warnings of what NOT to do when trying to survive the holidays, as part of the Care.com Interview Series.

Holiday activities can quickly lose their winter magic and turn into dreaded obligations. While raising a child and working full-time, Jes Peterson understands it's hard to keep smiling through hectic days. The Jes' Delights blogger shares the most common and surefire ways to kill your holiday spirit -- and no one wants that!

  1. Follow the Stories
    Holiday songs and movies might conjure up images of snow flurries, hot cocoa and warm open fires, but these stereotypes aren't for everyone. Instead of aiming to recreate the perfect holiday image, embrace your own traditions. With family in Florida, Peterson has her own traditions, "like surfing the waves, instead of sledding in the snow, and relaxing by the pool as a substitute for a fireplace."

  2. Over-Schedule
    Over-booking your calendar and spreading yourself too thin will quickly backfire on you. To avoid burning out, Peterson follows, "the 'reservation theory'. You have to actively carve out time for taking care of yourself and stay focused on your core values, while letting go of the stuff that doesn't matter to avoid burning out."

  3. Always Say Yes
    Sometimes that "just one more thing" can be the tipping point that sends you over the edge. Figure out what is important to you as a family and as a parent -- and write it down. If your schedule is already booked solid and someone asks you to do something that doesn't necessarily line up with your family's goals, Peterson recommends, "saying no more often."

  4. Skip the Gym
    When schedules get tight, you might be tempted to sacrifice your own hobbies. But it's important to do the things you like, so that you can be happy and energized to tackle the rest of the day. Peterson confirms, "During the next few months, we may also be relying on a babysitter briefly some evenings, so I can make it to a fitness class after work."

  5. Do it Alone
    Don't forget to consult your partner before making any big decisions. You might save yourself some stress if it turns out he didn't really want to go to that party either! To avoid saying yes out of obligation, Peterson tries to "include my husband in the decision-making process to make sure it's something we both actually want to do, or feel is necessary."

  6. Pull an All-Nighter
    Wrapping presents through the night might seem like a good idea at the time, but it does more harm than good when you find yourself in a sleep-deprived daze on Christmas morning. Peterson admits, "Sacrificing sleep is always my downfall. When juggling work, family and additional activities for the holidays, sleep is usually the first thing to go out the window and the result is not pretty."

Learn more about Peterson and her holiday traditions in our full interview below -- including how she embraces controlled chaos.

Tell us about you, your family and your blog.

My name is Jes. I was born in Alaska and raised all over. Now my husband and I live with our almost three-year-old son in Annapolis, Maryland. Jes' Delights is where I blog about what delights me -- family, travel, living a healthy lifestyle. I write about work-life balance, the challenges of being a working mom, tips for traveling with kids, crafty ideas for busy parents. I also post a lot of photographs (mostly of our son!).

What are the biggest struggles you face during this season?

Over-scheduling is one of our biggest struggles, as well as coming up with the energy to be creative as it relates to generating thoughtful ideas, doing nice things for others and finding meaningful gifts for friends and family. It can be hard to make the time to be creative and thoughtful when our lives are so busy, but I know all parents feel this crunch during the holidays.

What is your best tip for surviving the holidays with children?

Try to involve your children in holiday preparations, even if it means a messy kitchen or tinsel strewn across your living room. Preparing for the holidays is a wonderful time to teach your kids about your family traditions by including them. To make it easier on you, try a "controlled chaos" approach. Start projects yourself, or divide and conquer with your partner, and then invite your kids to join in when you have specific tasks for them to do, such as decorating cookies you baked or topping wrapped gift boxes with colorful bows.

Jes Peterson writes about all the things that delight her on her blog, Jes' Delights. Growing up, she traveled often and moved many times, as her father was an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. Today she calls Maryland home, where she lives with her husband and three-year-old son and works full time in our nation's capital city. You can find Peterson on Twitter.

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

Photo used with permission by Jes Peterson.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Related content

How much should you pay for a babysitter?