It feels like only yesterday that I was standing in the school playground with my daughter and her classmates counting down to the beginning of summer vacation, and yet somehow Halloween has come and gone and it’s already the middle of November.
Where does the time go?!
Like many people I know, I’ve always loved this time of year. The leaves are beautiful shades of orange, brown, and red, the cooler weather offers the perfect excuse to layer up in warm sweaters and cozy socks, and the discussion of Santa’s impending arrival does WONDERS in keeping my daughter’s behavior in check.
But one thing I don’t like about the holidays is the craziness of it all. While I enjoy having an excuse to over-indulge and get together with family and friends, it can all be a bit much sometimes. From battling crowds at the mall and finding the time to wrap presents, to juggling holiday parties and cooking a delicious spread, I often wish we could go away for the entire month of December to avoid it all.
Of course, the grass is always greener on the other side, and if we DID go away for the entire holiday season, I would probably complain that we missed out, so we tend to do a bit of both – spend time with family and friends and then get away for a few days so we can get some much-needed R & R before welcoming in the new year.
At first, this little plan of ours meant double the work for me. In addition to spending weeks shopping, wrapping, cooking, and socializing, there was the stress of packing, travel delays, and time changes, and by the end of it all I felt absolutely exhausted.
The good news?
I’ve picked up some pretty awesome time-saving tricks over the years, and since I’m all about paying it forward and helping to make the lives of other like-minded moms easier, I’ve created my own Holiday Survival Kit for Busy Moms, and today I’m teaming up with RAYOVAC® Alkaline batteries to share 7 of my best tips to stay sane over the holiday season.
1. START PLANNING EARLY. Whether you’re hosting a party for 50, have more people to buy for than your Visa is comfortable with, or have decided to escape to a beach for the holidays, do yourself a favor and do as much as humanly possible ahead of time. Start collecting holiday recipes to try as soon as school starts, write down a list of gift ideas in August so you can take advantage of sales, and book flights and hotels 6+ months in advance before prices are marked up.
2. LEARN HOW TO SAY NO. If you’re anything like me, you probably vacillate between feeling obligated to attend EVERY social event you’re invited to and feeling annoyed that every free moment of your time is booked from December 1 to January 1. My advice? Carve out some time before the holidays start to take stock of what’s important, and then only accept invitations to events that merry up to those core values.
3. SEND NEW YEAR’S CARDS. The year my daughter was born, I took great pride in designing and sending personalized holiday cards, and while I did a pretty good job of keeping up for the next several years, I completely bailed last year. Life was particularly busy, and the idea of ordering, addressing, stamping, and sending 75+ cards made me want to cry. So rather than adding to an already full plate, I decided to send New Year’s cards, and I had such a good response from family and friends – ‘what a great idea!’, ‘I’m totally doing this next year!’, ‘you’re a genius!’ – I’ve decided to stop sending holiday cards and do something fun and original in the New Year instead.
4. SHOP ONLINE. I used to love walking around the mall searching for the perfect gift for everyone on my list, but now that I’m a work-at-home mom, I just do not have the time. Period. And that’s why I love online shopping. I can tackle my list when it works for me and my schedule, and thanks to the beauty of Black Friday sales, I can usually knock everything off my Christmas list for a fraction of the price weeks in advance.
5. MAKE IT A PARTY. If you feel completely overwhelmed with the amount of things on your to-do list and worry you won’t have time to spend with those you love over the holidays, consider hosting a gift wrapping / holiday card writing / present wrapping / cookie making party. It’s a great way to turn monotonous tasks into something fun, and I guarantee the other women in your life will thank you for finding a way for them to be merry and productive at the same time!
6. HOST A POTLUCK. If cooking isn’t your thing but it’s your turn to host, get creative and host a potluck instead. You can provide the essentials – a place to celebrate, a turkey or a ham, a salad, and a killer dessert – and your guests can bring the rest. It may sound tacky, but as someone who has attend more than her fair share of potlucks over the years, I can assure you that it’s a lot of fun. No one gets stiffed with all the work, and you end up trying a lot of really cool dishes and drinks over the course of the evening. Everyone wins!
7. ALWAYS HAVE SPARE BATTERIES. Regardless of what your holiday plans are – to do it all, or to do as little as possible – I speak from experience when I say one of the best things you can do to ensure the month of December goes off without a hitch is to ensure you always have a stash of batteries in multiple sizes on hand. Toys, games, flashlights, and smoke detectors have a tendency of running out of juice when the stores are closed and the weather turns bad, and if you’re the parent of small children, you know how important it is to be prepared for every eventuality.
Santa used to leave my sister and me a selection of batteries in our stocking each year when we were growing up – AAs, AAAs, Cs, and Ds – and he’s continued the trend with my own daughter.
And after narrowly missing an ice storm that took out the power in the greater part of Toronto while we were traveling over the holidays a few years ago, Santa also leaves everyone in the family a flashlight and portable charger to ensure we’re prepared for everything.
Better safe than sorry, I say!
RAYOVAC® Alkaline batteries have been our battery of choice for a few years now because they’re long-lasting, and while life as a mom can be pretty unpredictable – especially during the holiday season – I love that I can rely on the fair price and long-lasting quality of RAYOVAC®.
You can stock up on RAYOVAC® batteries at Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes, and grocery stores. Get a coupon and find other locations that stock RAYOVAC® batteries close to you using THIS LINK.
(Isn’t this shirt awesome?!)
The holidays can be stressful, especially when you’re the mom of small children who are bursting with excitement, but with a little planning and preparation, you can make this year your most memorable yet!
Don’t forget to follow RAYOVAC® on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, and remember: your kids won’t care if your house looks like something out of a Martha Stewart catalogue or if your food tastes like it was prepared by Rachael Ray.
All they want is to spend time with you.
So stop trying to be perfect and enjoy making memories with the ones you love most instead.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of RAYOVAC® The opinions and text are all mine.