Tuesday, December 9, 2014

14 ways parents can beat holiday stress

How to beat holiday stress? Like this:

1. Make a deal with your husband: Tell him he can finish up the holiday gift shopping and you will hang out in the living room armchair. Emphasize what a fun-filled adventure he will have, and reassure him he will not need to know anything about the kids' clothing sizes.

2. Give yourself the gift of perspective: Will most people know that you placed quality, store-bought cookies in the festive tins instead of actually baking ones? And if they do realize it, what's so bad? Right.

3. Draw mustaches on the faces on the holiday cards you receive. And on your own. 

4. Buy that Groupon for the spa massage and book a date asap. If your partner protests your Saturday departure, ask if he is sure he wants to waste a $49 Groupon. (Never mind the fact that it doesn't expire until Spring.)

5. Watch this:

6. Give yourself the gift of yet more perspective: If you are so dreading going to that holiday party, it's probably a good idea to bail on that holiday party.

7. Get a few $10 and $20 Starbucks gift cards to have on hand for people not on your list who unexpectedly give you presents. If nothing else, you can use the cards in case of energy emergency (throughout the year, not all in December).

8. Down oatmeal. It packs the healthy carbs and fiber that can raise levels of serotonin—your brain's main mood-boosting chemical—for at least three hours, notes this Health.com slideshow. A couple handfuls of gourmet popcorn from the gigantic tin a colleague sent can also help. Assuming you do not consume the entire thing and induce a carb stupor.

9. Put "The Little Drummer Boy" or "Feliz Navidad" or Adam Sandler's "Chanukah Song" on auto-repeat. Enjoy the calm when your husband and kids flee to the basement.

10. Instead of worrying about cleaning up the house when guests come over, lock as many doors as possible and explain that you are in the process of "redecorating." Which is not a fib; as soon as you clear up months' worth of clutter, the rooms really will look totally different.

11. Don't forget to set up a quiet room for your kids and you to escape to when visitors get to be overwhelming. So much nicer than hiding in the bathroom and scrolling through email on your iPhone.

12. Just tie ribbons around some of the kids' presents instead of doing the whole gift-wrap shebang. Come the big day, your entire family will be be ever so much happier to have an alert, non-grouchy mom who didn't stay up till 2 a.m. the night before wrapping presents.  

13. Holly smells good and all, but for a major well-being boost, sniff a citrus essential oil—researchers say the scent raises levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. For extra effect and fun, inhale dramatically out of the bottle when relatives are around.

14. When the kids repeatedly ask what presents they are getting, finally inform them—in your most chipper voice—that, no worries, you have already picked up the new toothbrushes, mitten clips and mattress pads. They will be shocked into silence. 


  1. Ah, very funny! Have a merry and relaxed Christmas.

  2. Saw the feature on your family in Family Circle...awesome!
    Erica (a fellow Brandesian)

  3. I made peppermint/lavender bath bombs. I am sore because I did too many pull ups.

  4. Personally, I prefer Carol of the Bells to clear a room. Worked great to get out of practicing piano as a kid too. Mom says practice for a half hour? Sure thing! Within 5 minutes I was excused!

  5. I have one to add - when husband asks when 'we' are sending out Christmas cards tell him it will happen when he gets it done. (We haven't sent cards for years when I started doing this and no one seems to mind)


Thanks for sharing!

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