Surviving—and Thriving—this Holiday Season

Surviving—and Thriving—this Holiday Season

With Thanksgiving just one week away, the holiday season is about to launch into full gear. For all parents and caregivers, this joyous time can also be filled with lots of tension and anxiety. Add to that dealing with children or teens with mental health issues, and it all can seem overwhelming.

Here are 10 tips on making the holiday season more about giving and celebrating than about consumerism and stress.

  1. Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Make it a collaborative effort and ask each guest to bring a dish—but find out ahead of time what they’re planning so you don’t end up with five dishes of Brussel sprouts!
  2. Thanksgiving is known not only for stuffing but for overstuffing. Avoid a bloated belly by eating some very small meals before the official feast starts. Starving yourself will only lead to excessive consumption.
  3. Put the “thanks” into Thanksgiving by asking each member of your festivities to mention at least one thing that they are grateful for this year. 
  4. Instead of buying holiday gifts for every relative, offer to donate to a cause in their name. That way, Aunt Alice doesn’t get yet another pair of gloves or a scarf, and her favorite charity will be a winner!
  5. Speaking of generosity, make a date with your children to go through their old toys and donate ones they no longer use. Of course, make sure they are in great condition. To find a place to donate near you, ask your friends or join a Facebook parent’s group. They’ll be sure to know how to find a good destination for your gently used items.
  6. Shop early and/or shop online. If you’re worried about the kids seeing packages come to the house, ask a friend if you can send them to her house instead. Also, if you are sending packages to distant locales, have them sent directly to the recipient’s home rather than to you first.
  7. Worried about staying within your holiday budget? First, set realistic expectations with your kids. Even if they still believe in Santa, you can let them know that Ole St. Nick has a limited number of gifts and a long list to cover. For bargain shopping, sign up at your favorite retailers for their e-newsletters to get discount codes, or visit sites like couponcabin.com, RetailMeNot.com or moneysavingmom.com. Also consider signing up for a free trial of Amazon Prime, so you’ll get free shipping on your holiday gifts.
  8. Be selective about what events and parties you attend. It may seem like fun when you get a dozen party invites, but just a few will suffice—and you won’t risk burning out or overindulging on too much eggnog or cookies.
  9. Plan time to spend outdoors with your family. Bundle up if it’s cold and get those bodies moving! It’s a great way to spend some time refreshing your spirits and bonding with your kids.
  10. If you or your children have experienced a loss this year, don’t ignore it or pretend that everything is fine. Even though it’s a season of celebration, it’s normal and necessary to allow feelings of sadness into your holiday. Share memories of your loved ones and let the tears flow. There’s sure to be some laughter in the mix, too.