STOP the holiday CHAOS! Pt. 3

Are YOU caught up in the holiday CHAOS?Holiday-stress

In the last post, we focused on the holiday stress of Presents and Gift Giving. We talked about minimizing the cost of presents and ways to minimize the amount of presents you have to purchase, as well.

Today I want to discuss the final aspect of holiday gatherings. We have talked about location, food and gifts. Now we are going to talk about people.

The third (and final) category is

Handling Family and FriendsfamilyThere are many stressful issues when it comes to the holiday season. But, in my opinion, the most stressful is the worry I place on myself trying to make sure everyone is happy and having a good time. Just in a small setting, with close family, I worry about people feeling left out, people fighting and people having fun. With large family gatherings, such as are common during the holiday season, the stress of trying to create and maintain a joyous atmosphere can be a mountain of a task. But usually, for me at least, it’s more of a mole hill and I made into a mountain. So, let’s discuss some activities and tips you may be able to use in order to keep your family happy and you a little less worried!

The first stress I have with maintaining my people are the children. Not only do I worry about my own child, but I worry about every other kid too. You know how it is when you’re a kid at a holiday party. The only good thing about these parties for kids are the food and the presents and they have to wait for both of those things. Most families, including my own, lean a lot on the kids being able to play with each other and cure the boredom. But sometimes, you can have a few kids that don’t have other kids their age or you can have shy kids who don’t warm up to each other very fast. So, here are a few tips to help handle the youngsters at your event!

My first suggestion: “Kid Rooms”

I have always found that being able to separate the kids from the adults leads to a much happier party crowd overall. But, you may be like me and not have but one large room for congregating. So, here are my tips on how to have a “Kid Room” even if you don’t actually have a room!

  1.  Utilize your kid’s rooms- If you have other kids attending the party that are close to your own children’s ages, have their rooms be the “Kid Rooms” for the one year before and after their age. Ex. Your kid is 12, so their room is for 11-13.
  2. Utilize your kid’s entire room- It might be a hassle, but you can also consider moving your child’s furniture to the garage or another bedroom to create a “Kid’s Room”
  3. Create a “Kid’s Section”- You can easily arrange the furniture in your house and or other rooms to have an area clear for kids. Using a rope, fence or some other form of “fencing” to section off the area to allow only kids into it.

My second suggestion: Games and Activities

A very easy way to ensure the children at your event are entertained is by providing options for activities and games. By having a ready source of entertaining events for the kids, you allow the kids to have a good time and you take some of the pressure off of the parents to have to be watching their child, allowing them to have a better time as well! For some great suggestions for age appropriate games try visiting:

Nick Jr: “Party games” or “Activities and Games”

Another option would be to have a holiday movie ready for the kids to watch while waiting.

My third suggestion: Kids Table

I’m not going to say this is some sort of controversial subject or anything, but there has been some debate in the parenting world about kids table vs joined table. In my opinion, if you have only small children, that may need to be monitored while eating, it would be best just to seat them at the table. In that case, as a host, you want to make sure and arrange the seating so that there doesn’t have to be any shifting in order to place parents beside their children. However, if you have a wide range of ages, I recommend the kid’s table. It allows the kids to feel a sense of independence and allows the adults to have a sane meal! lol

The other stress you have to deal with is family drama. I know, not all families are filled with drama. But when you put a lot of family together in one room, sometimes drama can be the outcome. Within the boundaries of “Family” there are often very few boundaries. This can create an atmosphere perfect for meddling, arguing and plain out fighting. If you’re lucky, you have a family with very little drama and the closeness only brings joy. But if you’re like most, myself included, things can go well or terribly wrong, depending on the preparations made and the damage control used.

My first suggestion: Have a Game Plan

If your family has a tendency to stir up drama at big occasions, you might benefit from having a sort of schedule. In no way, would I suggest a full schedule during a holiday gathering. People need to be able to mingle. But, you could easily throw in a few “activities” for adults to participate in in order to prevent any tension. Board games are a fantastic way to keep the atmosphere light and happy. For some suggestions for board games visit: Best Board Games List.  However, if your family isn’t the board game type, you could always bring out the home movies and/or photos. If you plan ahead, you could even ask guests to bring their favorite videos and/or photos. That way, the family can be entertained as well as brought closer together by remembering bonding moments.

My second suggestion: Keep it as short as people’s fuses

There aren’t really any rules, per say, about how long or short your event must last. Sometimes, the drama doesn’t really start until the novelty of seeing someone you haven’t seen in a while wears off. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family. But even with as much as we love each other and as well as we get along, if you keep us locked in one room for too long there will be some sort of drama. So, to cut down on that, have a plan to bring the party to an end, when you can see that people are becoming short fused. Also, don’t be afraid to have your event in shifts, if you happen to have people who cannot stand each other. Offer a buffet style meal with a large range of time people can stop by to visit. That way if any two people do not want to be around one another, they can split the time.

I hope the past three blogs have been able to help you with some aspect of this holiday chaos! Just remember, the reason for the season is the JOY! So don’t let the chaos steal your JOY! Keep calm, find tips and tricks that work for you and remember, you’re a Wild Mommy, you can do ANYTHING!

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC



STOP the holiday CHAOS! Pt. 2

Are YOU caught up in the holiday CHAOS?

Last time, we focused on the holiday stress of Dinner and House Preparation. We talked about ways to minimize your holiday stress when it came to cooking and house cleaning for the holidays, if you are hosting a party.

Today we are going to focus on a stress that most people must handle during the holiday season.

The second category I want to talk about is

Presents and Gift Giving


Throughout the year, you often have to buy gifts for birthdays, baby showers, weddings, etc. But nothing throughout the year compares to the lengths most people go to for the holidays. Gift giving can be stressful. There is the stress of picking out the right gift, then there is the stress of finding the right price. For Moms, who end up doing most if not all of the holiday gift buying for family members, it can be very difficult indeed. So let’s discuss some ideas and tips that can help to alleviate your gift-giving stress.

The biggest stress I have when it comes to gifts and presents is my budget. If you’re smart, you will budget throughout the entire year to allow a gift budget for the holiday season. I know a few people that do this, they allot an amount of money per month to be held just for this time of year. However, if you’re like me, it’s basically a mad scramble to collect gifts, just about as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is digested. Sometimes, I don’t get down to really buying things until the first or second week of December! So, obviously, our budget isn’t exactly prepared for a large subtraction! So, over the years I have developed a few things that allow me to get by with minimal spending!

My first suggestion: Budget all year

Now, I know I just got through talking about how horrible I am about budgeting and saving. But, if you can do it, I highly recommend it. One option would be to make a list of the all of the people for which you plan to buy gifts. Then, select a price range for each person. Add up the total amount needed and divide that number by 10. Each month from January to October, you set aside that much money in a different bank account, piggy bank or wherever you keep your savings! Then by the time you reach November, you can successfully shop for all of your gifts!

If you can’t manage to save money all year long, like me, you can still plan a short-term budget. All you have to do is set a spending limit a few months ahead. Then, you can collect larger increments for fewer months. However, with this style of budgeting the best idea would be to set a standard, that each person gets a certain amount. What I tend to do, is break it down into categories: Each niece/nephew gets the same amount, each sibling gets the same amount and each parent gets the same amount. This keeps me from over spending on each person and also keeping everybody from getting envious! lol

My second suggestion: Minimize Presents

Much like the idea of assigning a certain amount of money to each person, you can easily employ a few options for minimizing how many presents are given during this time. One option is to adopt a “Kids Gifts” only idea. Meaning, the only people who get multiple gifts would be the younger people within your group. Then, for the adults you have a few options for how to limit it. You can play a gift exchange game. This year, with the adults in my family, we are doing a “White Elephant” gift exchange. To learn more about this game and others visit: “28 Ideas for exchanging gifts”  from By playing these games, not only do you minimize the cost of buying 1 gift versus 10-15, but you also get to create a new holiday tradition. One that I know, personally, can be a lot of fun! Another option would be to do a “Secret Santa”. Where everyone buys one present for one person. Though this way would have to be done in advance, it has the perk of allowing people to get more expensive gifts than they would with the games.

My third suggestion: Make it, Don’t Break it (the bank, that is)

This suggestion happens to be one that I use personally just about, if not every, year. Making your own gifts can not only save you a ton of money, but some of the best gifts I’ve ever given or received were homemade. There are so many different projects and cute things you can make for any age, male or female. A good place to look for great ideas would be Pinterest. It’s free to sign up and you can collect ideas all year long for not only gifts, but decorations and meals! Another great suggestion is taking a family photo and distributing them in homemade frames. For Family Photos, there are many options. You can easily check out any of the major photography companies, but in my opinion the best way to go is with a local photographer. Using a local photographer allows you to incorporate familiar scenery, to have a wider variety of prints and ultimately, in my opinion, a more comfortable and cozy photo. You can easily look up local photographers online. If you are near my area (Dallas, Tx), I have two photographers that I personally recommend.

AprilPintoApril Pinto with April Pinto Photography


JenniferPritchettJennifer Pritchett with Jennifer Pritchett Photography

Both of these photographers are especially good with children. Capturing wonderful and magical moments in nicely edited photos that will amaze you, all at decent prices! Don’t forget to mention that Wild Mommy sent you!

Using family photos as a present can easily cut down on your total budget. If you decide to frame them, you can easily purchase bulk frames online. Or you can wait until a craft store like Michael’s or Garden Ridge (Which is now: At Home) is having one of their regular frame sales. And you have options with the frames as well. You can either get bulk frames, then purchase paints and paint each frame specifically for each person and/or family. Or you can buy different and specific frames for each person and/or family.

I hope you have found some of these tips and suggestions helpful to your holiday situation! Join me next time when we talk about the third and final category: Guests. Where we will discuss ways to help handle anything a guest throws at you before, during and/or after a holiday event!

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC


STOP the holiday CHAOS!

Are YOU caught up in the holiday Chaos?


The holiday season comes but once a year and for most Moms out there, it’s a good thing. While the holidays are a wonderful time that bring family together in joyous celebration, if you’re anything like me, the holiday season also brings on enough stress to be crushed under! So, this season, instead of stressing, let’s focus on some tips to

STOP the holiday CHAOS!

As much as I’d like to deny it, most of the stress I experience during the holidays has nothing to do with outside sources. What I mean by that, is that most of it comes from my anxiety over wanting the occasions to be perfect. There have been very few time that another person is the source of my holiday madness. So, the easiest way to mange that stress is to plan ahead. If you tend to freak out during the holiday season, join me over the next 2 days to see if some of these tips can save your sanity this holiday season.

The first category I want to talk about is

Dinner and House Preparation.

woman cooking and cleaningIf your plans for the holidays are to travel to another person’s home or another location, then these tips may not be necessary for you. However, if you’re like my family, though we travel for the holiday season, we may also have a small gathering for our immediate family and/or friends. And, these tips are helpful when hosting ANY event in your own home as well!

In my case, the first stress I have when hosting in my own home is cleaning. Though your house may be clean (most days, if I’m lucky, lol) and well kept, there is a special kind of clean when hosting a party. I call it “Deep Cleaned”. For me it means scrubbing base boards, washing windows, dusting things I don’t usually dust and basically scrubbing every surface of my home. When it’s holiday season, however, you usually have a lot more on your plate and cleaning seems to be the biggest and most tedious task.

My first suggestion: Hire Someone.

Don’t be shamed into thinking that hiring a local maid service to deep clean your home is not an option. I know a lot of Moms out there who are hesitant to hire someone because of the stigma of

A) Not being able to do it yourself, B) That it must mean your house is disgusting

and/or C) That you are a snob or lazy.

For one, if I had the money to hire someone to clean my house ALL of the time, I would. There is nothing wrong or lazy about allowing someone to clean your house. Plus, there are many Moms out there who are in the business of cleaning houses. That makes it a Moms helping Moms situation! But especially hiring someone to deep clean your home before you host an event is just sensible. By taking that pretty big task off of your plate, you make room for doing the things that you can’t necessarily hire someone to do. Consider it an investment and breathe easy! To help find a maid service near you try

However, I know times are hard and money is tight already, not including the holiday extras, so if you need to cut the cost, hire a kid. It could be a friend’s kid, the baby sitter or a youth from Church or the neighborhood. By hiring a kid you cut your cost, but you also allow a kid to make money for their holiday season!

My second suggestion: Ask for help.

If you’re a Mom to a child basically 5 and up, you already have one volunteer for cleaning! lol But seriously, let your child(ren) help with the cleaning. Give them a task at a time and reward them with something they will enjoy for every task completed. You can even make certain tasks that may be harder or take longer worth a larger reward. And don’t be afraid to ask your family and/or friends to help you either. Find that friend, sister, brother or cousin that wouldn’t mind rolling their sleeves up for a nice dinner and/or movie. Then you get help, plus some bonding time with the person!

The next stress that I have is with the food. Good cook or bad cook, either way, most Moms out there do not have just a TON of experience organizing, preparing, cooking and serving LARGE meals. Sure, we may cook for our family of 5-8, we may make very intricate and detailed dishes and we may have served food plenty of times. But doing all of it from top to bottom for more like 10-20 people can be a daunting task.

My first suggestion: Keep it Simple.

If you’re like me, the holiday season is the reason for new recipes, as well as old favorites and traditions. For example, one tradition/old favorite I have developed over the last couple of years are cheese balls. I began doing it one year and have since perfected 3 recipes and thought of about 15 more. So for me, every year, it’s about making something that is better than the year before as well as bringing back the favorites collected over time. But when you’re hosting an entire meal, it’s a different story. Time won’t always permit you to do ALL things bigger and better. So, keep it simple with some of your dishes. You still have specialty dishes, but make them special. Not every side needs to be an intricate affair. It can be refreshing and exciting to have simple sides, with just a few specialty dishes.

My second suggestion: Plan Ahead.

Cooking several dishes, several additions and a large hunk of meat can be overwhelming. However, there are ways you can plan ahead that can help you keep your dinner running smoothly.

For instance, prepare your table ahead of time. Set out plates, bowls, cups, utensils, etc. Have it all done before you even begin to cook, that way even if you happen to need more time on your turkey or ham, you can allow guests to sit and begin on salad, rolls or even sides. For suggestions on easy holiday food, check out “25 Tips for an easy holiday” from

Another tip is to prepare as many dishes as possible a day in advance. Many dishes that are served during holiday season can be made and stored over night. Then all you have to do is put them in the oven the next day for heating. For this, I suggest buying the disposable aluminum pans. They come in just about every shape and size, most often with lids for storing and they are obviously, oven safe. And, you don’t have to clean them afterwards!


My third suggestion: Ask for Help/Hire Someone.

Now, there are two ways you can ask for help with preparing the holiday meal. One way, is to just ask a friend or family member who will be attending the party to come early and help you with the food. If you don’t have anyone that can be available, try hiring someone to be your Sous Chef. Basically, a person that can do the more tedious aspects of the cooking, like stirring and mixing. You could, again, hire a teenager you know or you could place an ad on CraigsList. There are MANY chefs and/or caterer’s that would be willing to help for a few hours for extra cash.

Hopefully, you found at least one tip that can help you eliminate some of your holiday chaos!

Join me tomorrow when we talk about the second category: Presents and Gift Giving. Where we will discuss ways to minimize spending and eliminate gift-giving stress!

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC