Navigating the Holiday Hustle

Stress Management Tips for Parents with Kids

The holiday season is a time of joy, celebration, and cherished family time. Yet, it’s no secret
that it can bring along a large amount of stress. Balancing all that comes along with the holidays
can easily become overwhelming. However, with a bit of planning and mindfulness you can get
through the holiday &me with minimal stress. Here are some practical tips to help you manage
the holiday hustle.

Start Early:
Procrastination is often the root of stress. Begin your holiday preparation well in advance. Create a list that includes all the tasks you need to complete. Tackling a few tasks each week can help distribute the workload and prevent the last-minute rushes.

This year my shopping started in July with Amazon Prime Days and my goal is to be done all the present shopping by the end of November. Starting this early gives me time to look for good deals on gifts. I also suggested that you have a list to track your buying. One year I thought I would remember everything I bought, but I completely forgot about a couple gifts and ended up with more than needed. To prevent this, store all gifts in one central location so you aren’t searching for where you hid them.

Set Realistic Expectations:
The holiday season doesn’t have to be picture-perfect. Understand that things may not always go as planned, and that’s okay. Embrace the imperfections and focus on the moments rather than stressing over the perfect Christmas tree décor.

Holiday dinners can be a tough one for kids because for the most part it’s not food that they are exposed to all the time. In our family have accepted that our kids probably won’t have the perfect holiday meal. Our son prefers to eat his turkey in sandwich form with ketchup and our daughter will just load up on the buns. We ensure there is always a safe food for them and encourage them to try the different holiday foods, but never expect them to eat everything.

Involve Your Kids:
Allow your kids to help with the holiday preparations. This not only lightens the load but also creates a great bonding experience and lasting memories. Every year we make Hershey’s kiss pretzels, this requires multiple kisses to be unwrapped. I get my kids to help me with this task because it can be very time consuming when done solo. Sure, a couple kisses are consumed before they make it into the treat, but it’s not a big deal.

Practice Self-Care:
Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you put self-care on the back burner. This is the time to ensure you uphold your self-care practices, self-care allows you to stay centered and be better equipped to handle the holiday chaos.

During the holiday season I maintain my same self-care practice by keeping my routine when it comes to exercise. If I need to shift my normal routine due to a scheduling conflict, I will keep myself accountable by writing down a new date and time to complete the practice and put a reminder in my phone. These self-care practices don’t have to be huge, they can be as simple as maintaining your water consumption.

Simplify Traditions:
While traditions are special, consider simplifying or removing some to reduce stress. Don’t feel obligated to maintain every tradition from previous years.

A favorite simple tradition that my family loves is watching the Home Alone movies together.
My husband’s tradition is watching the Die Hard movies, which in my opinion are not Christmas

Delegate and Accept Help:
You don’t have to do everything on your own. Sharing responsibilities lightens the load.
For holiday meals with my family and my husband’s family, the person hosting the meal provides the main dish, while the people attending provide the sides.

Manage Gift-Giving:
Finding the perfect gift for everyone can be stressful. Consider drawing names for gift exchanges with extended family or a Chinese gift exchange.
My husband and myself have agreed not to buy each other gifts, however, we do allow the kids to pick out gifts for each of us, because they enjoy it plus its always interesting what they come up with. Last year my daughter bought my husband a Ken Barbie doll, he now gets to play the
role of Daddy Barbie when playing with her.

Maintain a Routine:
Holiday schedules can be erratic. Try to maintain a consistent routine for your children as much as possible. Children thrive on structure, and a predictable routine can help them feel more secure during the festivities.
When my kids were younger and consistently still napping. We did not mess around with their nap times. These times were non-negotiable. They needed their naps to ensure they enjoyed the time without being overtired.

Plan Quiet Time:
Make time for quiet moments with your kids. Engage in calming activities like reading holiday stories, watching movies, or simply cuddling. These moments provide a chance to bond and recharge together.
Both of my kids usually end up with a couple Lego sets after Christmas. We enjoy building them together while snacking on holiday treats.

The holiday season can be a blink and miss it type of event. By implementing these stress
management strategies, you can navigate it with more ease and enjoyment. Remember that the most precious gift you can give your children is your time and presence, so focus on being present in the moment and creating lasting memories together.

Shelby Smigelski

LPN & Student Coach


I am a Licensed Practical Nurse and have been practicing for 11 years. Upon graduating I worked in a clinic setting, until shifting to bedside nursing on family medicine unit in a small rural hospital.

My passion for branching into this area of health and wellness comes from the desire to get to the root of an issue and not just surface treat. I wish to give clients the knowledge, tools and motivation to take control of their own health and wellness.

I’m committed to being authentic and empathic in my support of others on their health and wellness journey.


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Hi, I’m Brianne

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