Ahh, the holidays.
There’s so much to do. So many people to visit. Countless traditions to keep up with. A whole stack of favorite recipes to bake.
And suddenly, what was supposed to be a family-focused time to be grateful for the important things in our lives has turned into a stressful, complicated circus.
It doesn’t have to be so crazy though.
Instead of only sharing what I’ve learned about the holidays through the years, I’ve invited another 10 homemaking experts to help uncover exactly how to make the holidays the beautiful time of year they should be.
Be sure to check out the introductions post to read more about all of the homemaking experts and to visit their websites.
What is one holiday preparation mistake homemakers make during December?
Emily Chapelle –
It’s easy to get so caught up in what everyone else is doing that you forget to focus on your own family. Every year, I see people on Pinterest scrambling to “save” all of the best advent traditions, Elf on the Shelf Ideas, dozens of craft ideas, the most glamorous or trendy holiday decor, and tons and tons of recipes, all in the name of holiday preparation.
All of the focus on other people’s traditions (or often, to be truthful, something they did or made ONCE just so they could blog about it) can make the holidays feel overwhelming.
Instead of trying to make your family’s traditions “The Best Ever,” just make them the best possible fit for YOU.
Laura Wittmann –
They decide that they have superhuman powers and go crazy trying to do it all. It’s impossible and overwhelming and will eventually lead to burnout.
Simplify, simplify, simplify! I can’t stress it enough. Sometimes we just want to do it all because well it’s the holidays and there is so much fun to be had…the eating, the parties, the decorating (if that’s what floats your boat), the singing, etc.
Sometimes the decisions to be made are HARD because we want to do it all and we forget that we are only human and can only do so much. We think we’ll be able to fit one more thing in, do one more thing, bake one more thing, attend one more function, until we’re smack dab in the middle of it all crying uncle.
Everything we say yes to requires something from us, so don’t forget to factor all of it in.
Joshua Becker –
The desire for perfection plagues far too many holiday seasons. For some reason, we think we are able to artificially create the “perfect holiday.” The food will be wonderful, everyone will be happy, and the kids will be all smiles and content with their gifts.
Of course, we know this is never the case–countless past experiences have proven that to be true.
Don’t get caught into the trap of chasing the perfect shopping-catalog holiday. It often only leads to stress, anxiety, disappointment, and unneeded purchases (food, decorations, and gifts).
Courtney Carver –
I know I used to be guilty of trying to make the holidays over-the-top special. In doing that, I forgot that they were special even if I didn’t do a thing.
Overdoing it is the biggest mistake. The holidays are grand and marvelous without you stressing yourself out to have the perfect tree/party/picture/gift/meal.
Becky Rapinchuk –
I think people get so involved in the preparing for holidays that they forget to realize that it isn’t all about the decorations and the gifts. And then the day after is there and you realize you were a frazzled mess.
Enjoy the season and don’t get caught in the hoopla of what you ‘should be doing’ to make the occasion perfect.
Jen Jones –
I think that people in general try to take on too much during the holidays, and it can cause more stress than enjoyment. Everything from baking to decorating to hosting, we want to do it all!
I always recommend partnering with extended family to share in the responsibilities of hosting and activities throughout the month to avoid holiday burnout.
Andrew Mellen –
Don’t try to do too much and forget what the season is about–family and friends and love and generosity.
It can so easily become a gauntlet of chores that make you miserable and end up seeming more like an endurance race than a celebration.
Rachel Maser –
The #1 mistake I have made over the years with our holiday plans is not letting the kids be involved in the prep. It’s so much more important to include them, than to have things perfect (I’m a perfectionist in recovery).
Let the kids decorate the tree. And don’t change it when they go to bed. Let the kids wrap the gifts. So what if they aren’t pretty…they will get better each year. Have the kids set the tables, and give them a little lesson on how to properly do so.
If you do neighbor gifts, make sure the kids are involved in creation & delivery.
Danielle Smith –
I know the answer to this because I do it every year – waiting until the last minute.
The problem here is multi-faceted: when you wait until the last minute, you:
a) don’t manage to fit in the ‘fun’ as there are too many ‘musts’ left to do
b) you cost yourself money with late ordering or last-minute shipping costs to send gifts to family and
c) your stress level increases because there is ‘too much to do and not enough time’.
Beau Coffron –
Saying “yes” to too many things. Between family, friends, and work you can be so busy you don’t have time to enjoy the holidays. Remember when you say “yes” to one thing that means you are also saying “no” to something else.
Don’t be afraid to say “no” in order to keep your sanity!