The children writing to our sponsored child, Wilson, who lives in Guatemala.
The holiday period is a lot of fun for families, but ‘tis also a season of stress for parents. This year, try to lower anxiety levels and enjoy all that this festive season has to offer.
1) Stressor #1 – Shopping
• Be an organized shopper – know your budget, make a list, have coupons. Don’t be that frazzled mom with screaming kids wandering aimlessly through the mall. Know what you need and go get it. Have a plan and stick to it.
• Shop off-season – Aunt Betty may mention in July about the lovely slippers she wants, so buy them in July! Beats going over budget on something Aunt Betty doesn’t want on Dec 23rd because you’re desperate for a gift.
• Shop smart – if you have to go to the mall, don’t go at peak times unless you like a 3 mile hike from your minivan to the mall entrance. Better yet, don’t forget about a busy mama’s best friend: online shopping. Imagine doing all your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home while wearing your PJs after the kids have been put to bed. Cyber Monday just passed and the deals out there were amazing – remember that for next year!
2) Stressor #2: Entertaining
• You may say you love entertaining and doing it all yourself, but if you find that you’re barking orders at your husband and getting grumpy with the kids, I’ve got news for you – you’re not having fun anymore. There is no “Holiday Martyr Hall of Fame” so you might as well ask your relatives to each bring a veggie dish or dessert. Heck, I delegate the actual turkey out to a family member!
• Put those kids to work. There is no reason for you to do it all. Have your kids set the table, for example. I know the settings won’t be perfect, but get over it. Kids should contribute and the holidays are about being together, not perfection. The more relaxed you are, the more fun everyone will have.
• If you MUST do everything yourself, stress can be reduced by doing things in advance – have the table set the week before, prepare and freeze suitable food. Keep things simple and easy to prepare.
3) Stressor #3: Kids Getting Spoiled
• Don’t go overboard with presents. We see so many kids with so much. Set limits and stick to them.
• Teach about giving. There are so many opportunities to give during this season. Sponsor a family, donate to a food bank, volunteer at a soup kitchen. The list goes on and on. Move the focus off presents and on to the community.
• Role model appreciation for things that are not materialistic. If you’re going on about the latest gadgets and clothing labels, guess what you’re creating? Yep, your very own materialistic consumer kid. Have fun with that.
Hopefully those few tips will ensure you feel more “ho, ho, ho” than you do “humbug”.
Looking for giving opportunities? Adopt a family for the holidays through the Salvation Army or Family and Children’s Services. Foodbanks and soup kitchens are always looking for help – check out the Red Cross and Good Shepherd. So many of our Mabel customers tell us about the organizations they are involved with. One customer founded the Tumaini Children’s Foundation helping needy children in Tanzania. Find out about sponsorship and volunteer placement opportunities at www.tuchifo.com