8 holiday sanity savers

The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful time of the year.

Let’s be honest: Moms work overtime during the holidays to make the season magical for their families. And kids don’t always handle the holiday hustle and bustle so well (read: major meltdowns due to being overtired, overstimulated and over everything!).

So how can you navigate this busy time of year and all of its challenges while also enjoying the spirit of the season?

Holiday shopping

We do four gifts for each child. One thing to read, wear, play with, and something that they need. Usually family fills in the gaps with other things, but this helps us stay on budget. Shopping happens all year long, and we hide gifts in our bedroom in things that they would never go through. Think suitcases, purses, etc. — Natasha Nicholes, mom of four.

I like to make a spreadsheet at the beginning of the season that lists everyone I want/need to buy presents for and the budget for each person. Then as I buy things, I enter the cost of each item. That way when I can’t remember what gift was for what person, I have a list that I can refer back to. — Cathy Schlie, mom of two.

Holiday travel

We travel to Michigan every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We have two things that have made it easier. First, we do minimal decorating at home—enough to feel the season, but we do not do a tree or anything crazy. Not having to clean up and put away my own decorations after spending a good portion of the holiday season traveling is a huge relief. We also designate the Sunday before Christmas as our family holiday. The last two years we have gone out for a really nice brunch downtown. Then we head home and bake Christmas cookies. — Tiana Kubik, mom of one.

For babies and toddlers, keep your routine, even if relatives look at you like you’re crazy. It’s tempting to let them stay up late because they’re having so much fun, but you will pay for it! — Kristin Swanstrom Cheuvront, mom of three.

Holiday stress

Create an intention for your day. Your to-do list can get out of control during the holiday season. If you could create your day, how would you like it to go? How would you like to feel when you go to bed? Take a moment each morning before you get out of bed and scan through your day. Visualize each task and see yourself feeling calm, happy and free from stress. — Jill Hope, writer, family empowerment coach and founder of I Shine.

I use a 100 Days to Christmas workbook. Every day you have a task that takes about 15 minutes (inventory your gift wrap, make your card list, plan your holiday menus, etc.). I love it. Keeps me from piling everything on last minute, and when it is time to shop or cook, everything is already planned. — Sara Youngblood-Ochoa, mom of one.

Holiday excess

I make freezer meals in the fall so that during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, I can pull meals out and they are ready to go. So even if we are eating not-so-healthy at parties, we’ve got good dinners at home. — Brandi Langer, mom of three.

It is easy to go overboard with so many temptations around during the holidays. I suggest making time for two or three indulgent events in the week. Limit dessert/treats the other days/nights. — Lara Field, owner/founder of FEED (Forming Early Eating Decisions).

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