The Village - Christmas stress

Helping to raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice and cool finds.
The village: helping raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice, hacks and cool finds
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FAMILY

Christmas stress

By Adam Frost

Who’s ready for Christmas?
Strategies to make the most of the most wonderful time of the year.

I’m a little biased. Christmas is by far my favourite holiday - I start thinking about it as soon as my kids go back to school. So, you may read this like I “listen” to my dentist about good flossing habits. However, each year I feel like I’m getting closer to my goal of spending 100% of the holidays simply enjoying that time with the people I love. Here’s how I approach all the holiday tasks:

“Taking on too much is a sure-fire way to start disliking the holidays.”

1. Reduce or streamline the gifts you need to purchase

I am barely able to successfully find the right gifts for my wife, kids and mother each year (I use the word “successfully” loosely.) For extended family or coworkers, you might consider drawing names to allow for one special purchase and where that isn’t possible, streamline by choosing a theme for peripheral gift giving. It could be, everybody gets socks and a gift card, or a handmade wooden spoon, or a special baking tool. The key is to accomplish as much as you can with one store visit or one online purchase.

2. You don’t have to wrap experience gifts

Experience gifts can be just as thoughtful as tangible items and you don’t have to worry about sizes, tastes or if they already have one. If you are on the receiving end of an experience gift, consider sending the giver a photo as a thank you when you redeem it. Check out our list of experience gift ideas for inspiration.

3. Divide and conquer

Taking on too much is a sure-fire way to start disliking the holidays. Deciding early on what the plan is and splitting the tasks up can help you really lean into what you enjoy. For example, I am usually responsible for purchasing our kids’ wrapped presents while my wife takes care of the stocking stuffers. With our extended family, the gentlemen are responsible for Christmas Eve dinner, while the ladies take on Christmas Day dinner. Having these discussions early in the fall can help everyone feel involved and generate excitement for the upcoming festivities.

“An afternoon shopping trip is a lot less stressful when you know supper is ready and waiting to be heated up.”

4. Technology can be your friend

Whether it’s forming a family group on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to keep track of who’s doing what and when, creating shared lists on apps like AnyList or Google Keep, or simply moving more of your purchasing to online, while you stay comfortably at home in your pajamas, you have a lot of tools at your disposition to help organize yourself and your crew.

5. Double duty cooking

I have gotten into the habit of doubling recipes when I cook and freezing half. It doesn’t take much longer to make twice as much of key meals in October and November which you can then count on in December. An afternoon shopping trip is a lot less stressful when you know supper is ready and waiting to be heated up.

“…it is in the imperfections (even the disasters) where lasting memories are made.”

6. Shop early

Years ago, in early November, I used to attend a tradeshow in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. There’s a lot of shopping in Pigeon Forge and since I had time, I got in the habit of doing all or most of my Christmas shopping right then and there. Even though I no longer attend that tradeshow, I still try to complete my shopping by mid-November. The fact is, I actually really love shopping on Main street, on a Saturday, in December, listening to Christmas music, admiring the decorations and sipping my coffee. And the reason I love it so, is because my holiday to-do list is 99% done by then.

7. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect

In fact, it is in the imperfections (even the disasters) where lasting memories are made. I think most of us have learned over the past year what is really important when it comes to the holidays. If that means you need to purchase prepared food instead of making everything from scratch, limit your shopping list, or take it easy on the crafts and decorations - that’s all totally okay. Give yourself permission to put your energies into what brings you joy and relax expectations elsewhere. I, for one, couldn’t care less about centrepieces but I can easily (read: happily) spend an entire Saturday preparing my gravy.

About the Author: Adam Frost started working for Hatley right out of university 20 years ago. Along the way he got married to his wife of 15 years Annie and they have two kids: Emalyn and Henry. Both children have played integral roles as Hatley product testers and enjoyed short but successful modeling careers back when they were cute and well- behaved.

FAMILY

Christmas stress

By Adam Frost

Who’s ready for Christmas?
Strategies to make the most of the most wonderful time of the year.

I’m a little biased. Christmas is by far my favourite holiday - I start thinking about it as soon as my kids go back to school. So, you may read this like I “listen” to my dentist about good flossing habits. However, each year I feel like I’m getting closer to my goal of spending 100% of the holidays simply enjoying that time with the people I love. Here’s how I approach all the holiday tasks:

“Taking on too much is a sure-fire way to start disliking the holidays.”

1. Reduce or streamline the gifts you need to purchase

I am barely able to successfully find the right gifts for my wife, kids and mother each year (I use the word “successfully” loosely.) For extended family or coworkers, you might consider drawing names to allow for one special purchase and where that isn’t possible, streamline by choosing a theme for peripheral gift giving. It could be, everybody gets socks and a gift card, or a handmade wooden spoon, or a special baking tool. The key is to accomplish as much as you can with one store visit or one online purchase.

2. You don’t have to wrap experience gifts

Experience gifts can be just as thoughtful as tangible items and you don’t have to worry about sizes, tastes or if they already have one. If you are on the receiving end of an experience gift, consider sending the giver a photo as a thank you when you redeem it. Check out our list of experience gift ideas for inspiration.

3. Divide and conquer

Taking on too much is a sure-fire way to start disliking the holidays. Deciding early on what the plan is and splitting the tasks up can help you really lean into what you enjoy. For example, I am usually responsible for purchasing our kids’ wrapped presents while my wife takes care of the stocking stuffers. With our extended family, the gentlemen are responsible for Christmas Eve dinner, while the ladies take on Christmas Day dinner. Having these discussions early in the fall can help everyone feel involved and generate excitement for the upcoming festivities.

“An afternoon shopping trip is a lot less stressful when you know supper is ready and waiting to be heated up.”

4. Technology can be your friend

Whether it’s forming a family group on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to keep track of who’s doing what and when, creating shared lists on apps like AnyList or Google Keep, or simply moving more of your purchasing to online, while you stay comfortably at home in your pajamas, you have a lot of tools at your disposition to help organize yourself and your crew.

5. Double duty cooking

I have gotten into the habit of doubling recipes when I cook and freezing half. It doesn’t take much longer to make twice as much of key meals in October and November which you can then count on in December. An afternoon shopping trip is a lot less stressful when you know supper is ready and waiting to be heated up.

“…it is in the imperfections (even the disasters) where lasting memories are made.”

6. Shop early

Years ago, in early November, I used to attend a tradeshow in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. There’s a lot of shopping in Pigeon Forge and since I had time, I got in the habit of doing all or most of my Christmas shopping right then and there. Even though I no longer attend that tradeshow, I still try to complete my shopping by mid-November. The fact is, I actually really love shopping on Main street, on a Saturday, in December, listening to Christmas music, admiring the decorations and sipping my coffee. And the reason I love it so, is because my holiday to-do list is 99% done by then.

7. Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect

In fact, it is in the imperfections (even the disasters) where lasting memories are made. I think most of us have learned over the past year what is really important when it comes to the holidays. If that means you need to purchase prepared food instead of making everything from scratch, limit your shopping list, or take it easy on the crafts and decorations - that’s all totally okay. Give yourself permission to put your energies into what brings you joy and relax expectations elsewhere. I, for one, couldn’t care less about centrepieces but I can easily (read: happily) spend an entire Saturday preparing my gravy.


About the Author: Adam Frost started working for Hatley right out of university 20 years ago. Along the way he got married to his wife of 15 years Annie and they have two kids: Emalyn and Henry. Both children have played integral roles as Hatley product testers and enjoyed short but successful modeling careers back when they were cute and well- behaved.

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