The most wonderful time of year can also be an overwhelming one. Especially when you are planning which family events will be held and when. You are adding each event to your family calendar as the phone calls roll in. At 8 AM you will head over to Aunt Sally’s and spend a few hours there. At around 12 PM you will head over to Grandma’s house, but only for a bit because you must go to your spouse’s side for dinner. Once dinner is over, you will head over to your mother’s house for gifts.
There are so many places to be that you wonder if you will be able to catch your breath. Rest assure that there are others like you. Moms who want to be there for everyone, and will try their best to make it happen. Here are a few suggestions to help you during this fast-paced holiday season:
Do different courses at each stop.
If three turkeys and 5 variations of potatoes are too much for one day, you can coordinate to have different courses at each stop. Not to say each course shouldn’t be holiday based, you just don’t want to be in a turkey coma before 4:30 PM.
Cycle through alternative days.
Family functions do not have to all be held on the same day. If you can plan early enough, you can see if other family members would consider celebrating the holidays on a different day. Although I am not a fan of double dipping (salsa, hummus, spinach dip…) double dipping on holidays can work and have worked for us. You can celebrate the day of with one side, and then celebrate two holidays in one for the other such as Christmas and New Year. If holiday sharing is not your cup of tea, you can see if you can celebrate with other family members on alternative weekends.
Be the brave one and host!
The saying is, “The more the merrier.” If you are brave enough to host both sides, or have a natural June Cleaver flair, go for it! Sometimes rather than completing the holiday relay, you can eliminate one, two, or all gatherings by hosting yourself. This is no easy feat, mind you. This could test your patience, require more than one bottle of wine after the festivities, or create a cleanup extravaganza. Hosting could also create a new tradition for your family and build wonderful memories. Your children will remember the wonderful community created around your table. A bonus is having the comfort of putting on their pajamas after dinner, and still have a chance to get to bed on time. Routine maintained? Yes, please!
It’s okay to say no.
If your child cannot handle car rides for extended periods of time or the disruption of stop and go with cause chaos in your family’s attitude, you can politely decline the invitation. Although you may sense some disappointment from your family, they will ultimately understand. Some have been there before.
At the end of the day, you want to be able to facilitate a holiday season of cheer and good company. You need to do what is best for your family, and work with others to extend the cheer onward. No matter what you decide, it will be worth it!