Planning Ahead May Be the Key To Avoiding Holiday Stress

We may have just finished giving thanks for all of our blessings, but it’s time to think about the holidays. Sometimes, however, the excess surrounding Christmas can be too much (the brawls in shopping centers over Black Friday are the exact opposite of what we are trying to teach our children about generosity of spirit).

How can we manage the stress surrounding the holidays? And how do we negotiate with overly eager relatives who want to lavish our kids with untold amounts of gifts? Our friends over at Healthy Child, Healthy World have some suggestions.

1. Give advance warning whenever possible so expectations are clear, whether it’s about gift-giving no-no’s, dietary requirements, or wearing shoes in the house if you’re bringing a crawling baby to visit. Screen whatever you can before given, eaten, or used to head off confrontations in the moment. It’s ok to bring your own stuff, too. Your sister might not want to go out and buy you organic groceries, but if you arrive with milk, snacks, and a side dish you’re happy to have and share, she might be grateful.

2. Take breaks. This is your vacation, too! Relatives should understand that your smaller family unit might like to eat lunch alone together or stay in a hotel rather than in a guest room. During these times you can call the shots. And having a plastic-free, sugar-free, organic meal break can be all you and yours need to get through the holidays without sparring.