Workin’ It Wednesdays: Keeping sane during the holidays!

It’s Workin’ It Wednesday!

The second Wednesday of every month, Erika and I host a link up where we talk about how we’re “workin’ it” in certain areas of our life (and then ask you to share your advice/tips/tricks on the subject too).  Today is the last one of the year…WHERE has the time gone?!?!

So far this year, we’ve discussed these topics:

January: Keeping our New Year’s Goals
February: Keeping our marriages strong
March: Balancing work and home life 
April: Spring cleaning
May: Planning/prepping for your summer vacation
July: What you do on your weekends
August: Back to School Traditions & such
September: Transitioning Summer to Fall Clothes
October: Making your home cozy
November: Planning for the holidays!

and today…

Keeping sane during the holidays.

When Erika and I were talking about our topics for the year, this one instantly popped into our minds because, hello?!  Sometimes, it’s hard not to lose your mind during this busy/crazy fun/over-committed time of year.  I don’t know how many great tips I have…I honestly am hoping you guys have a ton that I can borrow 😉 .  That being said, here’s what I’ve learned over the years about keeping my wits about me during the holidays…

#1: Remember the reason.  Any time I start to stress over silly things like finding the time to do holiday chores like gift wrapping,  I take it back to Jesus.  I mean, how dumb is it to stress over wrapping gifts?  Yet, it’s something that at 10:00 PM I start to think “Dang, I should have wrapped some gifts after the kids went to sleep.  When am I going to do that?”.  Fill in the blank…whatever it is this time of year that starts to make you stress out, take it back to Jesus.  This is a fun holiday, but the minute we lose sight of the reason for the season, we’ve gone off course.  Remembering to have my daily quiet time and constantly keeping myself close to the Lord helps me prioritize.

#2: Delegate.  I’m getting better at this…but I still have a long way to go.  I am not great at delegating my work to others.  I always think “I can just do it faster myself”, and therefore, I get over-extended and caught up doing things that others could do for me.  This year, I decided to do a little delegating…and it’s working BEAUTIFULLY!  Here’s one thing I did…I asked someone else to address my Christmas cards.  Addressing my cards typically takes a few hours…and is always one of those things I find myself doing at 11:30 at night, so this year, I found someone with pretty handwriting and paid her to address my cards.  She told me it was quote “fun to address my cards” where I would have thought it was a fate worse than death…and bonus, she got paid a little to have “fun”.  Win, win.

#3: Just say no.  As much as I love to be everywhere and do everything…there is just a time when you have to say no.  I am volunteering at my kids’ school this year…but not as much as years past.  There are lots of parents who volunteer at my kids’ school (so many, that they often invoke a lottery drawing for volunteers), so I decided to step out of the way and volunteer some, but not all the time.  Everyone needs a turn making copies, right? 😉

#4: Chill out at home.  We literally schedule in “stay at home nights” on our calendar.  For us, it’s the only way we guarantee a cozy night inside.

#5: Hit the gym, eat a veggie, drink water.  I really try to keep my routine even during the busy holiday season.  I still aim to hit the gym a few times a week, I try to eat a little healthy during the day (so that I can indulge at those fun holiday parties), and I stay nice and hydrated.  I think it’s super easy to go off track this time of year, and then you feel the results as soon as the holidays are over.

I know these are all no-brainers, but they’re what I cling to when things get all nutty and crazy over here.  So, tell me…what do you do to keep your sanity during the busy holiday season?  I would love to know!!  Link up below if you also blogged or just comment and share.  I totally could use some more tips.

One last thing before we go…next year, Erika and I have a whole new link up for our Wednesdays…

We’re going to share “how we” all 2018 long and would love for you to join us.  Here are our monthly prompts…

The first link up will be January 10!  We can’t wait to see how you’re doin’ it at your house!

 

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog December 13, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Saying “no” is a great tip. It’s important not to overwhelm yourself! I find it hard enough this time of the year and I’m not even a parent, can’t imagine how crazily busy Christmas time is for you! Mega props! 😀

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Sarah December 13, 2017 at 5:09 am

    Love these tips!! We’re also big into not overscheduling ourselves. This year, my oldest started kindergarten which has been a big adjustment (school starts so early for them!!). We’ve made sure to have lots of at-home time. The holidays are busier, of course, but we still end up being home or doing things just as a family which is great!!

    Happy holidays!!

    -Sarah http://www.thefrugalmillionaireblog.com

  • Erika Slaughter December 13, 2017 at 5:10 am

    Guess what I was doing last night? If you said addressing cards-you’re right! The funny thing is I tried to delegate this job to Tab and he blamed it on his handwriting. Hahahahahaha!!

  • Cheryl Blevins December 13, 2017 at 5:25 am

    I usually stress about cleaning my house. I try to “spring clean” right before a party. Then I realize that the things that I am stressed about, people won’t even notice. So, I make sure I have a candle lite and yummy food and make everyone feel like family. That’s my goal anyway. 😉

  • polly peterson December 13, 2017 at 5:27 am

    I find that people find reasons to make the season “crazy” when they don’t have to. It is a product of a society that is always looking for stimulation, instant gratification, and a need for self importance! I agree—most importantly, remember the reason for the season!

  • Lindsay Freeman December 13, 2017 at 5:29 am

    We give back to others during Christmas. Not only does this help someone else who needs it more than we do but it takes the focus off of our family and places it upon serving others. One might think this would only add to the Christmas chaos but for us it slows us down, makes us think of others (from shopping all the way to delivery) and has helped teach my children the importance of serving others.

    Our kids go to a Catholic school where parents are required to volunteer X number of hours each year. While this is my daughter’s kindergarten year, I am not planning to exceed that number. To your point, let others have a chance to make copies! Instead, my husband and I both volunteer as mentors for an hour a week at a school with a high poverty rate. Many of the students’ parents are either not present in their lives or don’t have the ability to volunteer, so we help out. My job for the company I work for is to find volunteer opportunities for our staff and to help our company and staff give back. I am LOVING State Farm’s HUGE volunteering push that is all over the media. We need more companies to remind us to help others.

  • jamie December 13, 2017 at 5:45 am

    SO EXCITED about your new {how we} wednesdays! enjoy your wednesday. our first {winter storm} is arriving today in the ann arbor, michigan area. we have 7-8 inches of snow forecasted. christmas cozy right there!

  • Sheaffer Sims December 13, 2017 at 5:50 am

    DANG! I haven’t addressed our Christmas cards yet! Wonder if I can delegate that to Chris?!?

  • emily @ a little bit of emily December 13, 2017 at 6:05 am

    I agree with sticking to a routine! This week especially, I have been trying to keep things ‘normal’ during the day with eating and working out, so that I don’t feel as bad about indulging in the evening. I think it has definitely helped me stay on track and minimize some of that holiday aftermath!

  • Elspeth Mizner December 13, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Great tips! I’ve learned to plan out more and schedule when I’m going to get everything done. I also try to stick to a routine so i stay on track!

  • Narci Dreffs December 13, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Great tips, friend! I love the one about delegating!!! It is so smart!

  • Judy Pfretzschner` December 13, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I find the easiest part of addressing Christmas cards is set your list up to print up on labels. The first time you have to enter all the names it takes longer, but after that it’s a breeze. I do it in Microsoft Excel (on spreadsheet) and then labels print in Microsoft Word by doing a Mail Merge. When I get a change of address on someone during the year I try to remember to go in and correct it real quick. Not sure how you would do it on a Mac which I know a lot of people use but I’m sure there’s a way.
    P,S, This is a snap for me as I did administrative work for 50 years.

    • COLLEEN December 13, 2017 at 7:14 am

      Agree! Just print those address labels! You can still make ťhem look fancy using cool fonts. I have a Mac and the functionality is the same using Microsoft Word and Excel. Definitely a skill that is worth knowing. I also print address labels for party invitation and print out 2 sets so the second set is ready to go when I have to write thank you cards.

      • Emily King December 13, 2017 at 1:26 pm

        Also agree! And you can pay someone to do the data entry. You can watch a youtube video to show you how to do the mail merge. My daughters did the address labels and stamps and I stuffed envelopes. Voila, a dreaded task became a family craft.

    • Alice H December 13, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Labels is what I do also. I use a fancy font to make it look like pretty handwriting but there is no way I would hand address my cards.

  • Kelly December 13, 2017 at 6:38 am

    I delegated addressing Christmas envelopes to my 10 and 12 year old. Most of the envelopes were addressed upside down lol. Next year I’m going to hire someone to type all the addresses into my computer so I can print out labels. Then my kids can do an assembly line – one puts on stamps, one puts on return address labels, one puts on address labels and one seals the envelope! Voila!

  • Erin Port December 13, 2017 at 6:39 am

    We had a few similar ones, I am learning to say no more for sure so I can create space to be at home and even be spontaneous if we want this time of year. I also love that you said, delegate. That is a good one for sure! xoxo ERIN

  • Summer December 13, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Great tips! What does your weekly work out routine look like? And what’s a typical day in your diet look like? Thanks!

  • Laci Robertson December 13, 2017 at 6:51 am

    It takes me forever to address cards as well! One thing new I did this year was order my cards through Minted.com. They address your cards for you with many pretty choices at no extra cost. The bonus is that they save your address book when you log in to your account and you can use the next year!

  • Alexis deZayas December 13, 2017 at 7:13 am

    We had our return address printed on our Christmas cards this year and it was so nice!! Can’t wait to read your 2018 link up!

  • Kerri December 13, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Order your cards from Minted and they have free envelope addressing…. you have to type in all your addresses but then they’ll be saved in there every year. Minted is a bit more expensive but I always get sucked into going to them to avoid having to write out addresses

  • Cristin December 13, 2017 at 7:26 am

    My Christmas time holiday saving tip is to create a mail merge in Microsoft Word. Its titled “addresses”. Column 1 is Name so… “the smith family”, column 2 is street and column 3 is city, state zip. Throughout the year I add in people I have met that I want to send a card to and I update it as people move. Then…when my cards come in, I measure the envelope, enter the dimensions, create the merge and hit print. 200 cards in 10 minutes and they are not ugly little mailing labels 🙂 I do a fun font with a cute design element every year. Bazinga!

    This year, we moved to Spain and they celebrate the birth of Christ and do not do “Santa” so this year, we are embracing our new host nation and only doing stockings from Santa this year…and the gifts from us are all trips and experiences in Europe. It gave me anxiety at first to not have a tree loaded with “stuff” but at the end of the day, I am so happy.

  • Lisa D December 13, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Two tips that really help me with the busyness of the holiday season…. get enough sleep, and drink a lot of water! Sounds easy right? When I don’t sleep enough I’m frazzled and don’t think clearly. When I don’t keep hydrated I’m worn out. So those are my two suggestions for keeping your wits about you this time of year, and really, for all the time. Have a wonder Wednesday!

  • Angela A. December 13, 2017 at 7:51 am

    I second the use of labels for holiday cards, makes getting them out less of a task. I keep a file in “my documents” and update it throughout the year with any changes. You can create the labels at a less busy time during the year and it will be ready for you come time for Holiday Cards 2018. Saying no has always been so difficult for me but I have started doing it this year and it has really been a huge help, I definitely am someone who tends to overextends myself.

  • Heidi December 13, 2017 at 7:58 am

    My friend pays a teenager to wrap her gifts,she said it’s her gift to herself and worth every penny!!!!
    I wrap as I go and that’s been a life saver for me.
    I didn’t even do Christmas cards this year …and I’m not feeling bad .. ok maybe a little bad lol

  • Angela Ellingson December 13, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Those are great tips!! 🙂 I need to work on every single one of them! Thanks for the reminder! Merry Christmas!

  • Julie December 13, 2017 at 8:23 am

    This post was so needed as I host out of town guests this week, make Hanukkah fun for my kids, and plan and prep for our neighborhood holiday party this weekend! Oh, plus normal mom life which (as we all know) can fill up your entire day :). I LOVE your tip about scheduling a night in. Though we are Jewish, my whole family loves Christmas movies and we try to get through all our favorites each year. (Elf, Christmas Vacation, While You Were Sleeping, BRING IT!) So I’m definitely going to schedule some nights in! (We tried your peppermint popcorn at our last movie night and WOW). Thank you for sharing this and I have to add…one way I keep my sanity is by reading your blog. It cheers me up each morning. Thanks, Shay! Happy Holidays!

  • Jen Cole December 13, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Amen sista! #1 is my mantra – at Christmastime and year round! I especially choose not to let anything stress me out at Christmas – because it’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s all about family, friends, and Christmas magic!

  • C Sims December 13, 2017 at 8:35 am

    On our mantel we hang a stocking for Jesus. When someone is caught doing something kind we write it down and put it in Jesus’ stocking. You can not tell me if you did something. I need to hear it from another one or I witnessed it. It keeps us focused in all we do is for Jesus. On Christmas morning we take out all the slips of paper and read them. Our gift to Him is being kind to others.

  • Gina Ireton December 13, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Every year my Sister-in-law has a gift wrapping party, she supplies all of the paper, bows, ribbons, tags, tspe, scissors, etc. she gets a lot of the supplies after Christmas and saves a bunch, she also goes to dollar tree for supplies. She bakes and has goodies to munch on. She plays Christmas music and we all just wrap away and talk. I go there with all my wrapping and leave with it all looking so cute, under my tree it goes! Just a thought.

  • Rebecca Brittain December 13, 2017 at 8:55 am

    Great ideas, and especially to keep the focus on the reason for the season being Christ and to say no. Sometimes we let our schedules and other people’s wishes control our lives and then poof! The holidays are over and we’re exhausted. Thanks for sharing!
    XO
    Rebecca @ EveryPieceFits.com

  • Jaimie December 13, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Thanks for sharing, it’s so important to have PERSPECTIVE in all of this hustle and bustle and your #1 is so perfect! I also like trying to stick as close as possible to my routine!
    http://www.lilyparkeast.com

  • Kelly Henderson December 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I read somewhere a few years back if the answer isn’t an immediate “heck yeah” then it’s a no! I like this philosophy, no reason to hesitate or apologize for saying no, just say no and move on!

    Addressing Christmas cards:, I keep an excel spreadsheet with names and addresses and print labels. I’ve been mom-shamed about this and I do not care, this works for us and we will keep doing it. I update the spreadsheet yearly or when people have life events, it’s brilliant and it also gives me easy access to addresses when I need them. Outsourcing/delegating is a beautiful thing!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Laura December 13, 2017 at 10:41 am

    A tip i have is to host a wrapping party. I host one with my girlfriends every year-everyone brings an app, dessert, or wine, we listen to holiday music, and get all the wrapping done. Makes the chore fun:)

    • Mix and Match Mama December 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      I love this idea!!

  • Tracy December 13, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Great tips! Can’t wait till your January post. I STINK at resolutions/goals/etc.

    What’s the story with the cute elephant that keeps popping up in your photos?

    • Mix and Match Mama December 13, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      I don’t know? It’s a phase 🙂 .

      • Tracy December 13, 2017 at 1:22 pm

        Adorable! I love the fun phases kids go through and how they get attached to the most interesting things! Enjoy it!

  • Darcy December 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Great tips!!! I actually blogged about this today, without realizing it was a Working It Wednesday. We are trying to do really simple things….and get big enjoyment out of them. That’s helping a lot to stay sane – just lower the bar, lol. 🙂
    http://www.sexsoncharolais.com/2017/12/real-life-wednesday-christmas-traditions.html

  • Gail Young December 13, 2017 at 11:38 am

    If our Christmas card/letter is not done and addressed by a certain date that we set ahead of time then it automatically is set aside until after the New Year. We actually receive many cards from others in January or later so I know it’s not just us!
    When our kids reached hischool we decided as a family that instead of gifts under the tree we would put the money that we would have spent into a travel fund for all of us to go on a trip or adventure together. Sometimes we save up for a few years and take a longer or bigger trip. We spend Christmas Day having a nice brunch at home, opening stockings, and just hanging out. Our kids are married now and in their 30’s and this still works out well.

  • Leanne Borella December 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    I agree about not stressing about the small stuff – Jesus is the reason for the season 🙂 I always think back to the stress of my wedding and it made me feel so much better knowing that even though things went wrong no one noticed! It was just all the expectations I had in my head & I was the only one that knew. Everything turned out perfectly to anyone else. Same goes for Christmas. As long as family is together that is all that matters 🙂

  • Jenny December 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm

    Love these tips. The gym is a big one….it’s a stress reliever for sure. I make sure to have good family time with our family Advent calendar. I wrote all about it here http://www.jennylouisemarie.com/how-to-make-a-family-advent-calendar
    It’s a way to keep even my teen boys centered.

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick December 13, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I was so proud of myself for ordering cards early this year! Unfortunately the majority of them are still sitting there waiting to be addressed. I’ve only handed out ones in person so far! I need someone to address mine too!

  • Natausha Manis December 13, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Great tips Shay! Jesus is the REASON!

    My tip to add to yours would be:

    VITAMINS and Hand Sanitizer and extra washing of hands! I know this should be in everyone’s to do list for everyday, but I make sure to take extra care during this time of year. I sometimes even add “Airborne” tabs to the mix. It seems EVERYONE is sick around this time of year and making sure I do all I can to prevent that from entering my home is important.

    With all the to do’s and excitement, who wants to miss out because they are sick!??

  • Patty Anderson December 13, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Love these tips! I agree…Christ is the Reason for the season and keeping Him front and center is a priority for our family. We look for ways to serve others whether it’s an angel tree name, keeping one dollar bills handy for the Salvation Army bucket, showing kindness anonymously, or some other thing we do for others. We look outward first and foremost. That being said, we do minimal gifts and I try to get them done early before the craziness of December hits. That way I can relax and not stress. And I’m with you. NO is ok sometimes!

  • Stacey December 14, 2017 at 8:09 am

    Hey Shay, Thanks for all the tips. My tip for you is about the Christmas card addresses. I keep a document on my computer in Microsoft word in Labels of all my friends and family’s addresses. That way at Christmas card time you can print them out on Avery labels. You can pick the font and color and bam your all set, stick the labels on the envelopes. I also make return address labels that have our address, they print out 30 per page of avery labels.
    I print a copy of the document on regular paper and check the addresses that come in on the cards and change any that may have moved over the year and later I fix my document to update. I hope this helps to shorten the time this task takes.

  • Patricia December 14, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    I hit the easy button on EVERYTHING! The house is decorated and the outside lights are up. Our holiday greetings composed and emailed and holiday baking is done (and in the freezer or already gifted). Christmas shopping all done and WRAPPED (in gift bags, that counts too).
    Impossible you say? Nope, just lower your expectations. The Christmas letter is a mass mailing done by email. The Christmas tree gets decorated by grandkids (they love doing it and I love getting it done). Holiday baking; giant batches of pumpkin bread that everybody likes and freezes well. Gift wrapping … gift bags here I come! Only Martha Stewart can be Martha Stewart. I just try to be me.

  • Andrea McAnally December 22, 2017 at 9:41 am

    You know I was nodding along with the chilling out at home one 🙂