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How to Plan Your Holiday Calendar

Marjorie Bogart
Nov. 6, 2013

How one mom finds time for what matters during the holidays as part of the Care.com Interview Series

With a six-year old daughter and a baby on the way, a busy schedule is inevitable for Mary Carver. To make matters worse, 'the most wonderful time of the year' brings with it a flurry of holiday parties and activities that can't possibly all be attended. The Giving Up On Perfect blogger reveals her tips and tricks to avoid getting buried in the blizzard.

  1. Look Ahead
    Take a moment to look at the upcoming weeks. A great time to do this is Thanksgiving night when each family member can share their upcoming plans. Carver adds, "We carve out time before the craziness even gets started to look at our commitments and decide what we can and cannot do."

  2. Pick your Priorities
    When party invites start to pile up, it can be intimidating, but remember, you don't have to attend them all. Carver suggests "a good rule of thumb is to choose just a handful of activities to focus on - and let everything else go."

  3. Schedule a Break
    When you're filling in days on your calendar make sure to reserve a few days for relaxing. Write them down so you will be less tempted to schedule other activities over your free-time. Carver confirms, "We also make a point to plan down time and time for just our family to spend together without extended family or friends."

  4. Have a Date Night
    Take advantage of the mistletoe and have a romantic night out. With both her husbands' and her own birthdays falling around the Holidays, Carver insists they "have a special date night. A babysitter is a must for that night - as well as a couple times during the season for shopping, wrapping and other to-dos that are just easier without the assistance of a kiddo."

  5. Expect Spontaneity
    No matter how much planning you do, you'll always get a curveball with a last-minute invitation. These situations should be dealt with based on what you think your family can handle. When this happens, Carver debates, "I'm terrible at saying no, afraid to miss out or hurt someone's feelings - but at the same time I know I need to protect my family's and my sanity!"

  6. Keep Track of Ideas
    Make a special list for all the activities you want to try but just don't have the time for. Carver emphasizes, "If you must, pin all those other ideas to a Pinterest board for next year"

    Want even more Holiday ideas? Follow our own idea board: Holiday Cheer.

Learn more about Carver and her busy schedule in our full interview below - including how she tries to keep activities meaningful.

Tell us about you, your family and your blog?

Mary and her husband of 14 years live in Kansas City with their six-year-old daughter. They're also expecting a second baby in a few months. A recovering perfectionist, Mary writes with honesty and humor about her less-than-perfect life at Giving Up On Perfect. Her posts about everything from dieting and housekeeping to parenting and faith encourage other women to give up on perfect and get on with life.

How do you typically celebrate the Holidays?

We are blessed to live near both sides of our families, so we celebrate the big holidays both with extended families and together at home. This means our holidays are spread out over the calendar - which can be a good OR bad thing!

What are the biggest struggles you face during this season?

The biggest struggles my family faces during the holiday season are busyness and losing focus on the real reason for the season. It's so easy to cram our to-do lists and calendars with fun, special, meaningful activities. But once we begin trying to do too much, those fun events become stressful and the special or meaningful activities turn into just one more thing to cross off the list. And when we're dealing with stress and busyness (often of the self-induced variety), we lose sight of why the holidays exist in the first place!

Mary Carver is a Kansas City mother married to her high school sweetheart. After having a pre-mature baby and therefore spending most of her time in the house, Carver discovered the world of blogging. She keeps it real by blogging about her imperfect life at Giving Up On Perfect. You can find Carver on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Photo used with permission by Mary Carver.

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