Surviving the Holidays

As the Christmas season begins, you may be thinking about all those things you want to get done. Baking, cleaning the house, polishing the silver, decorating, entertaining, shopping, meetings, parties – the list goes on and on! With so much happening, it can be hard to find the time to actually enjoy anything. But never fear! Use this holiday guide to get the most out of this festive season without even breaking a sweat.

Home Invasion
Expecting some guests during the holidays? While simple overnight guests don’t cause too much disruption in your usual routine, those that come to stay for a few weeks can. Whether it’s the in-laws or the neighbors spending a night or a week at your place, use these tips to make that stay an enjoyable one – for you and your guest.

  • Sleep Well: To ensure that visions of sugar plums dance through your guests dreams, make their sleeping arrangements as comfortable as possible. A good pillow and cozy duvet are always a good idea. Investing in a good quality bed, pullout couch or even a blow-up mattress can make all the difference between happy guests and guests that never want to come back.
  • Want Nothing: There’s nothing worse than being a guest and waking up in the middle of the night wishing you had an extra blanket or pillow. To keep your guests from roaming the halls of your home at 2am, lay out additional pillows and blankets "just in case".
  • Make Way: Be sure to clear out some space in a closet or drawer so your guests can unpack and feel more at home.
  • Home or Hotel?: For the ultimate in a luxurious stay, provide your guest with a bathrobe and some slippers. Not only will they feel more at home, they’ll likely recommend you to all their friends.
  • Say Yes!: A common mistake among many hosts is to try and do everything themselves in an effort to help their guests relax. Unfortunately, this makes you stressed out while making your guests feel unhelpful; they sit and watch TV as you run around like a chicken with no head. So, if they offer to set the table, do the dishes or help out with the cooking, be a good host and say "Thanks! That would be great!"
  • Have a Life: When out-of-town guests are staying with you for an extended period, it is unrealistic for you to spend all of your time with them. While it’s a good idea to spend their first few days in town showing them around, feel free to let them loose after that so you can get back to work, meetings, running errands and living your life. Don’t forget to schedule some activities with them, though, so they don’t feel completely ignored.

Time Savers
If there’s one thing everyone can agree on, it’s that there is just not enough time to do everything at Christmas. Whether you want do some Christmas crafts or decorate the Christmas tree, you can get it all done and put your feet up at the end of the day. Just use these timesaving Christmas tips to make it all happen.

  • Get Flexible: If your work place offers it, then take advantage of flexible scheduling. By working a bit longer a few days a week, you can leave work earlier another day, helping you get more errands done at once. Even if your workplace doesn’t offer it normally, speak with your boss or supervisor about the possibility of temporary flexible scheduling.
  • Multi-Task: Been meaning to get together with some close friends during the holiday season? Then invite them over to help you wrap some Christmas gifts. They can bring their gifts as well for an evening of wrapping and gabbing. Christmas shopping is also more fun when done in two’s or three’s.
  • Don’t Leave Your House: Sure, there was a time when Christmas shopping meant having to deal with crowds, unhelpful sales associates, line-ups at the register, and searching for that non-existent parking space, but not any more! Just pick up your phone and order from a catalogue or, better yet, get onto the internet. From gifts to groceries, everything you need is just a click away.
  • Bake with a Vengeance: If you’re planning on doing some holiday baking this year, then get your kids involved and bake en masse. Not only do you get to spend some fun time with your children, you also get little helpers to make all that baking go even faster. Plus, Christmas cookies and other baked goods are great, easy gifts for all those people you forgot about last Christmas (your children’s teacher; that co-worker; the nosy neighbor).

Stress Busters
Even though the holidays are suppose to be a time of merriment and relaxation, most moms would agree that "Christmas" and "relax" are two words that do not belong in the same sentence together. Between visiting in-laws, shopping, festive parties, kid’s recitals, and the year-end rush at work, you barely have time to remember who you are. Use these holiday tips to keep your stress levels down and your holiday spirits up!

  • Get Active: Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Not only does regular exercise give you a chance to get your mind off what needs to be done, it also lets you focus on yourself for a change. Plus, when you get your body moving, you release endorphins; naturally occurring chemicals that make you feel good. So, whether you’re going to the gym or going for a skate with the kids at the local rink, get out there and get active!
  • Eat Well: Everyone knows that with the holidays comes the parties. And with the parties comes the eating. Followed by more eating. And then eating some more. Unfortunately, all that extra food is likely to be high in calories and fat, which means piling on a few extra pounds as well as feeling more tired and sluggish. Plus, with all your rushing around, you’re more likely to skip meals, which is never a good idea and can cause you to fill up on those unhealthy temptations. So, when you want to reach for another piece of apple pie, go straight for the apple instead. You’ll get more energy, keep the pounds off, and feel better all around (don’t forget to serve some healthy snacking alternatives at your Christmas party, too).
  • Make a List: Help yourself stay organized by making a list (and yes, you can check it twice if you like). This will let you prioritize what needs to be done and keep you from forgetting important tasks. Plus, you’ll be able to see how much headway you’ve made in your To-Do list as you cross off completed items.
  • Sleep In: Just like skipping meals, skimping on your beauty sleep is a big no-no during this time of year. Lack of sleep can seriously deplete your energy stores. As a result, you’ll feel more stressed and be in a bad mood the next day. Unless you like being compared to the Grinch, try to aim for 8 hours of sleep every night.
  • Get Some Help: Your kids and partner are just as capable of vacuuming, dusting, putting up the Christmas lights and finding the Christmas decorations as you. So don’t run yourself ragged – ask for some help! You can always threaten them with lumps of coal in their stockings if they don’t.