Boo! It is almost time for Halloween and trick-or-treating which is an indication that the holidays are quickly approaching. This means the stress and expectations of cookie swaps, dinner parties, gift-giving, and family obligations are growing rapidly. Have you ever stopped to think why you dread the holiday season or why you start to plan excuses in October for where you will be in November and December?
If you dread the holiday season because of visiting family and spending time with your in-laws or extended family, you are not alone. The good thing is that the holiday stress is predictable and you know it is coming. This year try something different and plan ahead for what ultimately makes you want to pull your hair out year after year. Who knows, you may end up enjoying the holidays more than you thought you would.
Here are 6 easy tips to help you get through visiting family this Holiday Season :
- Communication is key. Sit down with your partner and discuss your feelings about holidays, how holidays were celebrated when you were growing up and how each of you wants to celebrate major holidays going forward. If it was your family’s tradition to take a hayride at your local pumpkin patch or drive out to the farthest tree farm to pick your perfect tree, don’t forget to mention that. The holiday nostalgia that you felt as a child could be something you want to pass on or potentially add to with your family. This could also be a great time to discuss any new traditions you want to create with your family.
- Set expectations. It might be hard for your Aunt when you tell her you’re not bringing your famous potatoes to dinner or that you won’t be taking the late-night drive to look at lights with your partner’s family. Let everyone know how or what you plan to participate in ahead of time so there are no surprises or expectations from previous years of going through the holiday motions. Be conscious about what you are doing and don’t just do things because that is how they have always been done, especially when it stresses you out.
- Share responsibilities. The burden of holiday planning usually falls on one person or a subset of the family. Try something different this year and spread the wealth. Consider ordering prepared dishes to have picked up or even delivered, make reservations and go out to eat or have everyone bring their favorite side or dessert. Who doesn’t love a good pot-luck? At the end of the day you don’t want to be in the kitchen the entire day preparing, cooking and cleaning. This can lead to resentment and undue stress.
Read More: Family Traditions from Around the World
Read More: 10 Unique Thanksgiving Side Dishes
- Limit overindulging. Too much spending, eating and drinking can lead to the dreaded post-holiday guilt. A wise man once said, moderation is key!
- Create a holiday budget and stick to it! The holidays should not be a time to go all-in, racking up credit card debt or spending extra money because your in-laws want to do gifts for everyone. Suggest doing a gift swap, only getting gifts for the kiddos of the family or playing a game of White Elephant with a set dollar amount.
- Holiday food is comforting, however those calories add up quickly. The average American eats upwards of 4,500 calories and 220 grams of fat from snacking and from a traditional holiday dinner. Try making lower fat options, offer nuts, fruit and veggie trays for snacks and try to maintain portion control.
- Blame it on the alcohol, or not. Too much alcohol will not only inhibit wise decisions but also dehydrate you. Try alternating a non-alcoholic beverage for every glass of alcohol consumed. There is no need to over celebrate in order to have a good time. Lucky for you these holidays happen on an annual basis.
- Get out of the house. Don’t just center the holidays around cooking, eating and drinking. Plan fun activities and get outdoors. If you are not into football, hiking or a friendly game of frisbee, take your board game or deck of cards and drum up a little friendly competition in the backyard or local park. What is the harm in burning some extra holiday calories or getting in a little vitamin D.
- Take care of yourself. Getting through the holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure to take some time for yourself, whether that is squeezing in some exercise, taking a nice hot bath or relaxing with an afternoon nap. Try to remember what the holidays are about and focus on being positive and making memories with your family and friends.
Read More: Why Moms Need Exercise
The holiday season should be a joyous time of year filled with happy memories and stress-free days, not days you dread spending with your in-laws or other extended family. Talk openly with your partner and family about your plans this year, how you are going to spending your holidays and strap on your boots for a fun season ahead!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Shows, Events and Giving for the Best Thanksgiving Ever.