The Parent’s Holiday Survival Guide

December 24th, 2015by admin

The holidays can be a challenging time for everyone, but once you throw children into the mix, the holidays can seem impossible. Most parents want to dial up the holidays for their kids, but that is easier said than done:

“I imagined, while pregnant, that I would do the holidays up once the baby came along. I have a manila folder full of ideas for projects, ripped from magazines while the baby was still baking. Aside from serving as solid evidence that I’m a total dork, this folder is now also just sort of laughable in the face of the realities of first-year parenting” (Taylor Newman,

No parent should have to go into the trenches that are the holiday season alone, so here are some tips to help you hold onto your sanity this December.

The first year won’t go how you planned


Many parents get their expectations up for baby’s first holiday season, but it is also the year that your child will need the most care. You will likely be flying by the seat of your pants at this point in your child’s life, especially if both parents are working.

“Life right now is a day-at-a-time kind of deal; in this week alone I’ve had two freelance assignments, a 100-question-long test in my kinesiology class, a doctor’s appointment for Kaspar, and, alas, very little sleep. Plus regular work, and regular baby-care action” (Taylor Newman,

With so much on your plate, keep in mind that your child will likely not remember this holiday season later in life, so it’s much more important for you to prioritize than to make this December magical for your child. Your baby will benefit more from having parents who are living balanced lives rather than loads of gifts and decorations. It may sound harsh, but it’s reality: “We’re choosing to wait for big family visits and blowout Santa hysteria for when [baby’s] big enough to understand what’s going on” (Taylor Newman,

Instead of going all out, plan for some small gestures to make this holiday special. Get a custom Christmas ornament made with the year and your baby’s photo to remember the year. Spend more time with family who – if they are willing – can both help you out with preparations and focus your holiday season on what is really important.

Schedule some time to slow down

Not every moment around the holidays has to be a big deal with decorations, elaborate recipes, and huge family gatherings. Sometimes the simplest moments can be the most special, especially when the world seems to be in a frenzy around you.

“And I think it’s important to slow down (!) and note the changing seasons, celebrate the joy in our lives, give, receive, fill the house with good smells. We’re definitely planning on doing Christmas morning proper . . . and then heading to the coast a few days later to show him a beach and the ocean for the first time . . . but I want to get us into the holiday swing of things before the big day, which will actually be pretty low-key” (Taylor Newman,

Schedule a night to watch your favorite holiday movies. Slow down and make decorating a family event with music to get you in the spirit. Try not to take the holidays so seriously and it will minimize your stress.

Use your free time wisely

For those rare free moments when you have some time to yourself, your first priority should be your mental health. Take a bubble bath, watch a few episodes of that television show you’ve fallen behind on, or simply take a nap.

Once you feel like a sane person again, your next priority should be to get organized. Lists are your friend, both for gift shopping and grocery shopping. Getting organized is an investment that can save you some serious time in the long run. If you plan out your gifts, you will spend less time shopping. When in doubt, don’t be afraid to give everyone in your family the same, simple gift such as candles or home-baked goods.

December is the most hectic time of year, so try to minimize your stress, learn to let things go, and spend time with friends and family, and you are sure to survive.

By Morgan Clark

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