I can’t believe it’s December. I feel like time is flying this year, but doesn’t everyone say that each year? I’m not sure when it happened, but it definitely seemed like the year just started a month ago.
December is always a rough month. I’m the youngest of seven, and most of my family have children so they aren’t able to travel as much. That leaves me as the traveling member of the family. I end up going through 3 states within a week in order to see family and exchange gifts. I always end up exhausted and a bit run down, but I LOVE being able to see everyone and spend time with my family. As such, this time of year can cause a lot of stress. Here’s how I do my best to manage it.
Buy gifts in the order of people you’ll see. I’m currently in the process of buying gifts for my mom and dad. They are the first people I see, so I cross them off my list as soon as possible. My dad is always the hardest. Does anyone else have this problem? Do you have any go-to for the father in your life? Because damn….I need some serious help. While my mom has a good start, I have absolute nothing for my dad.
Sales, Sales, Sales! Utilize as many sales as you possibly can. I’m not big on black Friday. I only find things for myself on that day (amazing how that happens). But sales continue throughout the month. Also, if you happen to see people after Christmas like I do, wait to buy for them until the day after Christmas. It’s a present to yourself. While everyone is stuck in the exchange line, you get to fly through store check out lines.
Generic Gifts. I love giving unique gifts to everyone but having some good stand by’s is perfect. A manicure set, a small make up palate, you can add them to anyone’s pile of gifts to jazz up the selection. I like to grab a bunch of these when I see them, along with the lotion/soap/sanitizers bundles.
Put Together a Schedule. This is so important if you have a large family and have to hit quite a few spots during the holiday season. Scheduling your time and how you’ll spend it will keep you on track. Rather than rushing from house to house, I find I’m more relaxed when I have a set idea of when I’m visiting who.
Pack Early. Packing the car is a task and a half! I hate having to wake up early to pack the car so I always strive to pack gifts in my trunk the night before. But if you are a morning person, pack as early as you want. Enjoy some relaxed you time at home before you start traveling and the excitement of the holiday and family gets going.
Food. Oh this one is so important! I’m lucky that I get to spend a few nights in each state, and everyone one of my family members cooks for an army. I always end up bringing food home with me, but I like to make sure I have snacks available for the hours I spend in my car. Snacking can keep your energy up, making you more focused. Not to mention that HATE stopping between destinations. The only time I stop is for traffic.
Music! I don’t listen to Christmas music all season long. It drives me crazy after a few times listens. So I make sure to plan my own play list. Whether it’s an actual playlist or podcasts or specific stations that I know won’t consistently play holiday tracks, it helps keep me sane.
So that is how I make it through this hectic time of year with my crazy Italian family. How do you deal with the holiday stress or rush of trying to meet family obligations, work and friends?