Tuesday, November 29, 2016

5 Things I do to tame Holiday Hoopla craziness

Mom2Mom Ed Blog: 5 things I do to tame Holiday Hoopla craziness
It's that time of year again!

There is so much to celebrate and do with friends, family, and school! It's a busy time of year full of special treats, festive traditions, and making memories. For many families (mine included), it also tends to be a stressful time of year.

I don't know if it's the anticipation, the extra activities (and sugar!), or just the holiday season in general, but my kids tend to go NUTS at this time of year! For 11 months out of the year, my children are (mostly) adaptable, able to reason, and can function pretty well in our household without making it implode.

Until we get to December....dun dun dunnnnnn.

It's like a switch flips and we have new kids! When did we participate in a kid swap?

I've noticed this escalating for the past couple of years, and I have really tried to pair down our festivities and choose only ones that will not incite hysterical chaos in our house. (Is that even possible with a 3 and 5 year old?)

Anyway, here are some of the things I've done and plan to continue to do this year to keep my little family from falling off of the rails...

1. Keep meal times consistent and healthy.
We are the perfect definition of a family who gets "hangry"--so hungry that we tend to get angry. It's so easy to cave in and grab convenience foods as a result, so I try minimize fast food, random dinner nights out, and extra sweets and junk food. We tend to eat dinner around the same time every night anyway, but I pay extra attention to that during November and December.

In addition to consistent meal times, I try to have a little plate of cut up veggies, fruits, and crackers (my daughter calls them snack trays) out so that my kids, husband, and I can graze when we feel like it between meals. I know some people have strong feelings about snacks between meals, but my kids really need them. If they weren't eating meals at mealtimes, then I would rethink this, but for us it works!

2. Give them a treat in the morning.
Yes, I said it. Treats in the morning aren't an every day thing or part of our normal routine, but on a day that my little ones want that cookie or piece of candy, I let them have it--but only in the morning.

I know this sounds crazy, but my kids sugar crash hard. If we wait until after dinner to have that little treat, it's a disaster and if we have a treat after lunch then they crash right before dinner which is the craziest time of day in my house.

A small, single morning treat seems to work for us. My kids burn off the sugar high throughout the day and we don't have to try to get sugar crazed kids to bed on time.

3. I don't do advent calendars that have gifts or toys in them.
We tried this toy-based advent calendars one year and it didn't go well. Maybe my kids were too young. Maybe I had too many ideas of how it should go. Regardless, it wasn't pleasant. My son ended up thinking he got a gift every single day and didn't understand the concept of the advent calendar. My daughter pretty much chewed on her toys and then forgot about them.

It made me sad because advent calendars are so cute and I really wanted them to work out. I think that it was too much and my kids were too young. Toy-based advent calendars just added to the chaos of the season for us.

I do plan to try them again, someday, but I don't think that I"ll be making it an annual tradition. This year, I did pick up an advent calendar with a daily piece of chocolate though, and I think I'll let them open them in the mornings to do double duty with that morning treat I mentioned above! :)

That said, I have had success in the past with a holiday book advent calendar--check out THIS post with our list of recommended books and tips on putting this together.

4. We don't say yes to every party and event.
We happen to know quite a few people who host holiday parties and, while we really love to see everyone, I am very careful with how much I schedule for us (read THIS post to learn more about why).

I tend to be an over scheduler as it is, so this is really hard for me. I try to make an extra special effort to keep as much down time as possible in our schedules so we aren't all exhausted, run down, and sick by the end of the month. It's not worth it to be overextended, and thankfully our friends seem to understand and try to do the same.

The point is to ENJOY the holidays, not to be exhausted and irritated and just DONE, right?

5. We are starting a new tradition.
This is one I'm starting this year. I have asked my kids to pick out a few toys that they don't play with or want anymore so we can donate them to a child. I want my kids to get away from the "I want every toy in the entire world for Christmas" mentality and into the spirit of giving. I hope that over time, my kids ill understand why it is so important. I am excited to do this with them!

My kids have gotten things together before to donate, but never around Christmas when they are focused on what THEY want for themselves. I plan to talk about how we need to make room for new toys before Christmas as well.

I should add that I feel like our holiday season is extra long because my son's birthday is a mere 10 days after Christmas and my daughters birthday follows quickly in February. So we go straight from Christmas into back-to-back birthdays. It can get a little nuts and there are a lot of gifts/toys/stuff flying in and out of this house!

I don't know if any or all of these tips will work for you, but I thought I'd share since this time of year is crazy for just about everyone!

What do you do to minimize the nuthouse holiday syndrome in your family? My ears are wide open for ideas!
And, if you have a moment, be sure to check out these additional great posts, including our top picks for holiday gift giving:
Want another fun and cute way to tame your holiday madness? Pare down your gift giving to a want, a need, a wear, and a read and keep track of your gift buying/planning list with this fun printable from our Etsy shop:

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