Holiday Tips & Tricks from
Busy Women on the Edge -- Part 2
Among the many experts at UAMS, we asked for holiday advice from the women who do a lot and make it look easy.
"Unrealistic holiday expectations -- be it around the food, the gifts or the family interactions -- can trigger anxiety and even depression," said Amy Phillips, one of our OB/GYN doctors at UAMS. "Taking care of yourself needs to be a priority, and try to dial down impractical 'Hallmark holiday' fantasies."
Holiday Survival Tips
Ease up on yourself! The "perfect" holiday is the one where you can relax and enjoy the people around you. Regardless of what all the holiday images say to you, it doesn't matter what the food tastes like, if the cards get out on time or if you have the most thoughtful and creative gift for everyone on the list.
Never underestimate what piling the family into the car, tuning in seasonal music on the radio and driving around to look at light displays can do to boost the holiday spirit.
Take that ME time!
Let the kids make the cookies. They don't have to be perfect.
Enjoy the moment with your kiddos … they grow up so quickly!
Start shopping early. If you see something you think someone on your list would like, buy it -- even if it's January.
Enjoy the opportunity to teach your kids how to cook. Before you know it, they will take over that dish and free up your time.
Find support. People facing difficult family situations should set aside time to spend with their friends. Those who feel isolated or alone should take advantage of resources in their community or volunteer their time at a local charity.
Reflect on the past. Honor and remember loved ones who have passed away.
Don't forget to laugh. Whether it's a girl's night out, on the drive home from an event or goofing around on the internet, have a good laugh and share it with the ones you love. Laughter is the best medicine for whatever ails you!
Favorite Holiday Traditions
"Christmas morning brunch with my family is always a warm and fuzzy time for me. Everything feels right with the world, and I get to bask in the afterglow of surviving the insanity of the past month."
"I love the candlelight Christmas Eve service. I've gone with my family to the same service at the same church for more than 40 years. It's the calm in the middle of the storm - a nice quiet, dark, peaceful time to reflect on the real meaning of the holidays. That one hour of peace is something I look forward to for weeks."
"Each year we randomly draw a country from a hat (each family member gets to put in two country 'entries'), and we create a holiday meal based on the traditional holiday foods of that country. We also try out at least one traditional activity from that country. The kids are in charge of doing the research, and we all prepare the meal and do the activity together. The best part is being in the kitchen together as we experiment with new foods."
"Put down the electronic devices and go old school.Break out the board games you have stored in a closet. Caroling is a great way to lift your neighbors' spirits and make some happy memories."
"My favorite holiday tradition is baking sugar cookies from scratch and decorating them with icing and sprinkles. When the whole family is involved, it's like a plateful of artwork when we're finished. We always pick the two best cookies for Santa and freeze those until Christmas Eve."
Advice for Busy Moms
"If you get to the point where you and your children are not having fun, you've gone too far. If your kids make an effort to avoid you, that's a sign you shouldn't ignore. If your kids are old enough, include them in your work and make the project a time to make memories together. The holidays are about fun times together, not perfect bows on every gift."
"The more you do, the more they will allow you to do (husband, kids and relatives). It is OK to say 'no.'"
"Don't forget the people who help you and your kids throughout the year. Let your child give a plate of cookies, a card or a small gift to a neighbor. It will make them both happy."
"Understand and embrace the truth of the concept that it takes a village. Don't be afraid to take friends and family up on their offers to help. Remember to return the favor when you run into another mom on the edge."
"Let your kids help with as many of the holiday preparations as they want to. Mine love to decorate, wrap and bake."
"Take time out to enjoy and learn from your child(ren). Commuting in the car is a great opportunity."
"Pick your battles."