Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Haines house, every creature was stirring and so was the mom.
It was no fun.
I had two somethings in the oven, three small children terrorizing my for-a-second clean house, family members asking me multiple questions, three boiling pots on the stove and a wine glass running empty.
For a moment my thumping heart wanted nothing more than to just run away. The holiday was joyous and bright, the house was way too hot and the children were far too happy. I looked nice … two hours before everyone started showing up. It’s OK to laugh about it now, but I certainly wasn’t laughing in that moment … And I am going to do everything in my power to deflate that magnitude of stress this year.
The holidays are too precious to not to enjoy them, but they come with a lot of stress. There’s this pressure to entertain guests, make awesome food and serve it all at the same time, preparedness for spills, questions and escape routes when politics come up. So here is my checklist on how to de-stress the holiday:
The husband and the kids – kiss them every time they wiz by. It may sound silly but that intentional act will interrupt your brain from sinking into darkness when things start heating up. Kisses remind everybody that they’re loved … they remind you that love is all that matters and it’s the mission behind all your efforts.
Have a plan for attack – and this includes everything from the stuffing to the conversation topics. I made the horrible mistake of “just winging it” with our feast and my stress level paid dearly for it. And, we all know our loved ones and what they’ll want to bring up in discussion … so think ahead and find peaceful comments that will enrich the time you have together.
3. Accept Help!
Too many cooks in the kitchen? Give them all jobs! This falls into planning ahead as well, and it gives all willing hands some ownership in the event. It’s easy to overlook a loved one’s desire to help is coming from a heart that wants to be valued, helpful and serving. You’re going to have to learn how to let go if you have a controlling nature … especially if you want to let go of some stress.
4. Just Breathe – Just Pray!
Prayer helps everything. That moment when you lift your heart to God should bring you peace, clarity and strength. Find reassurance that everything – no matter what gets burnt, no matter who gets mad, no matter what gets broken – everything is going to be all right. The Father will empower you to conquer anything … including the holidays.
Rebecca Haines is a contributor to The Carthage Press.