Life is busy during a normal month. There are always chores to do around the house and errands to run. Then December rolls around and you know that family will come to visit, you will need to have a gift for everyone, you may have to cook dinner, your house will have to be decorated, and clean, and perfect (looking), and your list of to dos has suddenly grown out of control. Oh, and by the way, if you work your normal job, that will need done as well. Throw in a late fall / early winter cold, and the stress can be overwhelming.
So how does one keep their sanity during such a busy time of year?
The first thing is to know that it is only a holiday and you don't have to be stressed about it. Your family and friends are not perfect and they won't expect you to be. Any good Christmas movie will show the craziness surrounding the holidays, and none of the holidays depicted in these movies were perfect. A couple that come to mind is Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, & It's a Wonderful Life. These movies made us laugh, maybe cry, but the point is they did end very well.
Take some time during the season to do some things you want to do, even if that means a nap on a Saturday afternoon with the family pet on the couch. Remember that the holidays are for you to enjoy as well as your family and friends. If you aren't having any fun, that isn't fair to you.
Buy your holiday cookies, pies, baked goods instead of planning the weekend bake session if you are pressed for time, ask yourself if anyone would really care if you didn't actually make the chocolate chip cookies?
Make memories with the ones you love. Let the kids help you. The presents may not be wrapped perfectly, but you will have the memories of wrapping them with your little ones and everyone will love it when the kids show off their skills.
Don't worry so much about the perfect gift. Do your best shopping with your loved one in mind and include the gift receipt. Don't overspend, overextend, or do to much shopping because the holiday will pass and the bills will roll in causing more stress. No gift you can buy could ever measure the amount of love you have for a person.
Be careful of Traditions and not to get overwhelmed by too many of them. Decide which traditions are most important to you, prioritize, and skip the rest.
Finally, make sure you rest, eat well, and exercise when you can fit it in. Try not to be legalistic about it, but when you have a chance to go for a walk or maybe turn in to bed early one night, take advantage. You will find that you are more present for your family and the busy schedule in front of you. You may even avoid a couple of holiday pounds in the process.