Are YOU caught up in the holiday CHAOS?
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 FriendsThere 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!
- 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.
- 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”
- 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 Kidspot.com: “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