As the holidays get closer, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending to-do list. From shopping and wrapping to decorating and more, there is no shortage of things to get done before the big day rolls around.
In many cases, one adult in the home usually takes on most of the responsibilities, which can add to that person’s stress even more, as everyone else seems to float through the holiday season carefree.
If any of this sounds more familiar that you care to admit, it is time to change the way holiday preparations are done in your home by enlisting the help of your spouse and children. For example, consider the following suggestions:
- Pick out new decorations together — If, when you pull out your boxes of Christmas tree decorations, you are reminded that you really need to treat yourself to some new ones, you are in luck. This is a great way to get the whole family involved in a holiday-related task. Make some cocoa and put out a plate of cookies and ask everyone to join you on the comfy couch. Bring along your tablet and pull up an online retailer’s website that offers a huge selection of high-quality and attractive Christmas ornaments in a variety of styles. Ask each kiddo to choose some new ornaments as well as your spouse. This way everyone will have something new to hang on the tree that they love, and you conquered the shopping together.
- Choose gifts as a family — Are you usually the one who selects gifts for the grandparents, cousins, neighbors, teachers and others? If the pressure of deciding who should get what gift is stressing you out, get your family involved. You may be pleasantly surprised by their budget-friendly and “from the heart” gift ideas. Then, involve them in the shopping, either by going online or heading to the mall or to a craft store to buy supplies so the kids can make something for grandma or their teacher.
- Ask your spouse to help with the to-do list — Sometimes, family members may not help with holiday preparation because you are, in a nutshell, so darn good at it they do not realize you need assistance. This may be especially true for spouses. Ask your honey to sit down with you and create a list of everything that must be done before the holidays get here. Once the list is done, make three columns: Yours, Mine and Ours. Take turns choosing who will do which tasks, and agree to join forces on some. If you want to include your kids in your chosen tasks it is up to each of you; the main point of this tip is to show your spouse, on paper, exactly what it takes to get things done during the holidays.
- Come up with a holiday tradition — In addition to tackling the holiday-related chores as a team or couple, get your family’s input on fun things you can do together. Ask your kids and spouse what new activities they would like to do this year — ideas could range from having a Holiday Family Movie night complete with cocoa and popcorn, volunteering together at a soup kitchen or going out to see holiday lights.
Make working together the new family tradition
After you successfully get through this year’s holiday season working together as a family, you don’t have to wait until next year to use this tactic again. Start to involve your kids and spouse in other projects throughout the year — by the time Christmas rolls around next year, they will be ready and willing to help.
None of these tips are particularly helpful to me. Our children are grown, and I have been trying since they were teenagers to get them all (including my spouse) more involved in the holidays. It’s difficult now to even get them all together at one time. My husband quit even hanging outdoor lights probably more than a decade ago, so we no longer have them. And even if I could get him to sit down and make a list of any sort with me, he’d likely say, why bother to do probably any of it at all.
Aside from stocking stuffers, I’ve even given up buying any presents because I really don’t know what to get for anyone. I have always had a hard time choosing good gifts, and it seems pointless anymore without young children as part of the celebration. I have honestly considered not doing any of it and treating it like any other day, but I think I’d be depressed if I tried that.
And I would love to start a new tradition like a movie night or anything at this point, but I live with “Scrooges” who aren’t willing to even allow me to watch Christmas movies or listen to Christmas music until maybe Christmas week, IF I’m lucky. I even tried buying cloth “snowballs” and placing them in baskets thinking it might encourage an indoor “snowball” fight, but the response I got gave the impression they all thought it was a stupid idea.
Now, with all this in mind, do you have any other magical tips that will suddenly make everyone in my family actually want to participate in the holidays? I’d love to hear them.