Inside: Today I’m sharing my “Exhausted Mama’s Guide to Hacking the Holidays” so you can save your sanity without missing out on any of the fun.
Do you ever have one of those moments of clarity when you realize you’re holding yourself to some ridiculously high standard? I had an epiphany the other night where I think I learned something important about myself.
I have an incredibly hard time saying no.
It’s not that I’m a pushover, exactly. It’s more that I’m so dang excited about so many things that I just overcommit. Constantly. Anyone else? My little one started first grade this year and I’m totally in love with her school and teachers. And would you believe I signed up for every.dang.committee?
And I also signed up to be the room mom. Oh, and this just happens to be the most crazy busy time for our family business. And then there’s the two blogs and the freelance writing gig I sort of said yes to, and oh-by-the-way-I-also-work-full-time-and-I’m-kind-of-in-charge-of-planning-all-the-holiday-events-and-parties.
And we kind of booked a trip out of town for EVERY weekend in November because #travelhacking and I know I’m #blessed and these are all #firstworldproblems that I brought on myself, but also? I’m tired.
I’ve decided it’s time to hold my hands up in protest and JUST SAY NO. I’m saying NO to Pinterest-perfect projects. I’m saying NO to holiday stress. I’m saying NO to over-the-top recipes and ideas. I’m saying NO to fussy holiday hosting.
And I’m giving you permission to do the same.
I know it’s hard because I always want to do everything 100%. And, I know you do too. But let’s give ourselves the gift of sanity this year. Ready to get started?
The Exhausted Mama’s Guide to Hacking the Holidays
1. Ain’t Nobody Got Time to Bake
I get it. Christmas = cookies. And you probably got invited to a cookie exchange or two.
So you hop online and it’s all over. Pinterest seduces you with its gorgeous Christmas cookie photos and you’re instantly drunk with desire, dreaming about those perfectly decorated Christmas tree sugar cookies cut-outs or that “easy” blonde toffee nut caramel brownie bar that has exactly 37 ingredients, and requires a trip across town to the specialty shop. Then you see an ad for a GORGEOUS cookie from the local bakery, but dang they are $$$. But ain’t nobody got time to bake.
Instead, I offer to you the most delicious cookie of all time. So what if you didn’t bake these yourself. They cost $6 for almost a HUNDRED cookies, come prepackaged in a cute little tin and if you don’t feel like going to the store, Amazon will ship them right to your door.
Also – if you’re the kind of person that likes to give out cookies to all the important people in your life (guilty!) I totally think you should get something like this to repackage the cookies into. I promise you that no one will care that you didn’t slave over your stand mixer to whip them up yourself, and if they do, ask yourself if you REALLY need that kind of negatively in your life.
2. Shopping Online is Better
Allow me to make my case: There’s no crowded parking lot to circle. No boxes to haul to your car in inclement weather. Shopping online means you can take advantage of portal bonuses because #travelhacking. It means you don’t have to wear a bra. Or pants! I could go on and on, but seriously, no need because clearly shopping online is better.
I am giving myself permission to pour a glass of wine, light a scented candle, put on some Netflix and do my holiday shopping FROM MY COUCH. And guess what?! Amazon already has a list of Black Friday deals to help you save money while you’re saving your sanity. Don’t forget to pick up a COMPLETE set of gift wrap & supplies. Actually scratch that. Wrapping gifts and putting on bows is way too much work. Instead, have these easy-peasy gift bags delivered right to your door. No scotch tape needed.
3. F@&#ing Christmas Lights
I have a hate-hate-hate relationship with Christmas lights. I hate that they are such a pain to put up and take down. I hate that I have all white light sets and half are LED and half are regular and I’m too cheap to throw out the old ones, but the “whites” don’t-really-match-because-LED-“white”-actually-means-blueish. And I REALLY hate how my house looks when I don’t put up lights and decorations because, dang it, they are so sparkly and gorgeous.
Do you have as many #firstworldproblems as I do?
This year – I’m getting a couple of these and calling it done and dusted. There’s exactly 30 seconds of “put up” and “take down,” I don’t have to worry about matching anything, AND I’m not the scary awful house on the street that didn’t decorate or put up lights. Who’s with me?
4. Stock Up On Hostess Gifts
I really love all the fun and festive gatherings this time of year. And during times of lower stress, one of my favorite things is picking out thoughtful little hostess gifts to bring along. Like a matching “mommy & me” apron set for my friend with the 5 year old who loves baking. Or maybe some fancy-pants flavored Himalayan pink salt for my foodie friend.
But sometimes (like during the busiest 2 month period of the year), it’s the thought that counts.
I plan to stock up on hostess gifts. This year, I’m picking up bottles of my favorite wine and some totally luxe (but also affordable) candles and I’m letting go of my need to find the absolutely perfect, most thoughtful gift.
And friends – if you don’t love L’Authentique Red Table wine (totally affordable at Trader Joe’s!) and these amazing 100% eco-friendly soy candles scented with essential oils, then:
a) You’re nuts.
b) I’m confident you can regift them to someone who does.
5. Christmas Breakfast. In 10 Minutes
This is my favorite hack of all. Instead of slaving away in the kitchen while the rest of the family has ALL THE FUN, I’m going to whip up a batch of pancake batter (and I might even use a premade mix….ok, I probably won’t, because I once read the ingredients and I’m still sort of haunted by it and I’m too cheap to buy a fancy non-scary-ingredient mix but you do you, boo) and then I’m going to pour it in a sheet pan and bake for 10 minutes. Cut into squares, serve to your kids alongside a bottle of maple syrup, and bask in your family’s delighted wonder of how mom made SQUARE pancakes?
Voila! Christmas breakfast is served. Also, isn’t this idea genius? I wish I could take credit for it, but I can’t, and I’m eternally grateful for all the creative bloggers out there, working hard to make our lives so much tastier.
For a great recipe with easy to follow instructions, CLICK HERE.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my “Exhausted Mama’s Guide to Hacking the Holidays” and found at least one thing that will make it easier on you this season. Help a girl out – anything you’d add to the list?