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 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

@WildMommyMC

WildMommyMC@yahoo.com

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STOP the holiday CHAOS! Pt. 2

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

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

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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 RealSimple.com. 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

and

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

@WildMommyMC

WildMommyMC@yahoo.com

Early Morning love

 

 

 

 

After spending Wed-Sat at her cousin’s wedding, missing her daughter and husband, Hollis Stair wakes up to this…

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“After 4 days, I get my morning with my sweet baby girl.

Waking up so early never felt so good.”

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The Beautiful Hollis Roberts-Stair, her Husband Brian and adorable daughter, Lydia.

And Ridley, their furry family member!

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Often times, we forget that those early mornings are sometimes the sweetest!

And just as I have said before, absence DOES make the heart grow fonder.

It’s important to take those breaks, to do something for yourself or enjoy something with a friend.

Then, when you return, you’ll see how much more you actually APPRECIATE those early mornings!

 

Until Next Time,

Wild Mommy MC