But has the magic vanished for you? Are you feeling more dread than joy as October has crept into November and the days are careening faster and faster toward December? Do you wake up already wondering how you're going to fit everything that needs to be done into a schedule that's already so full?
I have a plan for you. Actually, your toddler does. Your child (from toddler to teen) knows exactly what to do to have happier holidays:
Before you say yes to another commitment, whether it's helping out at the holiday fair or attending the Christmas party at your office, ask why like a toddler: Why are you going? Why do you want to spend time doing this thing instead of doing something else? Why are you feeling obligated? Why can't you just stay home? If you have a hard time coming up with a good answer to your why, consider making choices that feel better.
Toddlers know how to say no quite well. This holiday season, channel your inner toddler and say no. Repeatedly. No. Nope. No, thanks. Make room for you and your family to enjoy the holidays by saying no to what doesn't delight and excite you.
• No, I don't want to take on another commitment right now.
• No, thank you. We're busy that night.
• No, we've decided to stay in on Christmas Eve and start a new holiday tradition with the kids.
Trying to do everything all by yourself - from shopping to party planning and gift wrapping - can make the holidays stressful. Ask for help with obligations you don't want to do and activities that don't fit into your already full schedule.
Here are some ideas:
• Make it a potluck party.
• Delegate the party planning to someone else.
• Hire a neighborhood teenager to wrap presents.
How much fun do you allow yourself to have during the holidays? Do you tell yourself that you'll get on the floor and play with your kids AFTER the dishes, AFTER finishing online shopping for out of town relatives, AFTER the house is ready-for-company clean?
"Pleasure is like the oil that keeps the machine of your life running smoothly," writes Cherie Carter-Scott in her book If Life is a Game, These are the Rules. "Without it, the gears stick and you will most likely break down."
Act like a toddler and make playtime a priority. What are the activities, places, and people that will bring you pleasure this holiday season?
Even the smallest of changes you make will lessen the stress of the holidays.
Want some additional help and ideas for managing the holidays? Build your own guide to happier holidays at The Well-Crafted Mom's mini-retreats in November. Visit the mini-retreat page for details and to register.