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15 tips for a happier home this holiday season

Everywhere I look at the moment, I see exhausted families limping into these last two and a bit weeks of 2013. Kids are cranky, parents are irritable and if the car park at my local shopping centre is anything to go by, the affliction is spread far and wide. It probably doesn’t help that the whole of Australia currently seems to be in the grip of a gastro epidemic (Kelly shakes fist at gastro.)

With all of this in mind, I decided to solicit some tips from the legendary people in my Facebook community for getting through this pressure-cooker time of year with a smile on your face. Let’s go!

1. Jodi says: Know that Christmas will come and go whether you are organised or not. So take the time to enjoy the moment with those around you. It’s the memories of the people and family at Christmas time which will live on, not how perfect the turkey was.

2. Caroline suggests: Sleep, sleep and more sleep {Caroline has two kids … I refuse to believe she can live by this suggestion!}

3. Lorraine says: Go with the flow is my new mantra for when you know things are going to be chaotic – not very imaginative but I do find it helps. {Well you know what they say Lorraine – the best solutions are the simplest ones!}

4. Margaret says: Don’t put anything on your list of things to do that can wait until after Christmas. {And I say ‘This is genius’}

Lee and Kirstie both suggest you be prepared to say no.

5. Lee:  So much is going on in these last few weeks and doing it all will only exhaust you (not to mention your kids who have had enough too!!). I am learning to just say ‘no’. Trying to squeeze a second or third catch up or function in your diary is not cool – schedule it for some time next year. Next year is only a few weeks away!

6. Kirstie: Only say yes to things and people that are going to make you feel good. You don’t have to do something or be somewhere just because someone wants you to, or thinks you should. It will only lead to frustration and that guilt cycle that no-one needs at this time of year! Oh and plan ahead. Write everything down. Or schedule it in. My husband and I share iCal calendars for each of our respective things and then a calendar for our shared stuff. We found that it was easy to forget to let the other know that there was a client thing on here, or a work thing on there and so by sharing calendar events it avoids double booking or any relationship angst. Plus it also gives you a good visual if you have planned too much and need to tone it down a bit!

7. Shona says: We celebrated Christmas early (because we’ll be away). It’s the most wonderful, liberating feeling and all the pressure has gone! On Xmas day it will be much more spiritual too. We’re thinking of doing it every year.

8. Yolanda admits: This year has been exhausting with all the different functions and parties! Our family keeps it simple by focusing on the kids. We don’t do big gifts for the adults and my hubby and I don’t give each other gifts at all. And you don’t have to go to every event – prioritise the most important. I’ve had to give a few things a miss …

9. Cate says: The last two years I’ve written a list of things I’m not doing, made it so much easier to let it go when it was written out. {I LOVE THIS!}

10. Jane says: The only thing I can add is to maybe lower your expectations. Gifts don’t have to be perfectly wrapped and matching, food doesn’t have to be homemade, house doesn’t have to be spotless. These things don’t really matter in the scheme of things, and when looking back on silly seasons past, they are not the things you remember.

11.Peggy suggests: Don’t get sucked into the hype and go camping. That’s what we’re doing! {Hmm I am not sold on this. I will take pretty much anything over camping}

12.Nicole breaks it down: One day at a time, one present at a time. And sometimes we need to chunk it down even further. And don’t forget to breathe.

13. And when all else fails, Sarah, Seventies Baby and Kim all suggest treating yourself to nice hot or cold drink of choice 😉 Tamsin suggests not killing anyone and I will admit there is definite merit in that one 😉

As for me, I have two tips:

14. Get moving. Whenever everything gets a bit much at the moment, I put my baby in the pram, put my iPod on and head out for a brisk lap or two of the block. 20 minutes later I feel MUCH better. This is also a good technique for dealing with your four year old when he’s had his fifth tantrum for the afternoon. ie leave him with his father and head out for a walk!

15. Pretend you are Teflon. Now I really like my family and generally speaking, don’t find them irritating. But I know this is not true for many people … and of course this is time of year that we spend SURROUNDED by family members. So be like Teflon and let the irritating remarks just sliiiiiiide off you. So much better than letting them get to you. I promise!

Do you have a great tip for a happier home this Christmas? Share it in the comments!

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