Want a Stress-Free Holiday? Start NOW.


Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” I think that kite-flying guy and I would’ve gotten along well because I am a major planner. If I don’t have my ducks in a row before an event takes place, we end up at said even with feral geese that have no sense of direction.

And as we inch closer and closer to the two major holidays on most everyone’s calendar – Thanksgiving and Christmas – I can tell you right now that a failure to plan for these holidays will likely end up with a stressed-out, over-worked, over-committed momma, and cranky kids (as well as spouses).

Have no fear! I’m here to help with some ways to get your holidays in order so you can (hopefully) enjoy the season. 

In order to plan effectively for your holiday season, focus on the Four W’s: Who, What, When, and Where. 


Do you want to take a hostess gift to whoever is hosting Thanksgiving? Who are you buying Christmas gifts for? 

Make a list NOW.

You don’t have to write down what you’re getting, just who you’ll be giving to. And do not feel as though you have to get every single person in your life a gift. Keep it simple and keep that boundary. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spent well over what my budget allows because I felt I had to get a gift for that one person that was nice to me that one time, three weeks ago. 


What are you making (if anything) for the various dinners? What are you comfortable making? Now is not the time to try and be Ree Drummond if you’ve never baked a day in your life. Think about what you’re good at and what you are capable of accomplishing. And if all you’re capable of right now is a packet of instant mashed potatoes, then you serve those taters with pride, girl! Also, know what your limits are and tell yourself to not cave to pressure to do more than what you can handle. Remember: “no” is a complete sentence.


Sit down and talk with your spouse about this one. Where will you be spending the holidays? At home? Down the street? In another state? Have these discussions now. I would also suggest keeping notes so if your husband says, “You totally didn’t tell me that” you can say, “I have the notes!” and provide him with evidence like a primetime television lawyer. 


Some “whens” can’t be planned out until a week or weeks before the holiday. For example, you’ll need to know when the Thanksgiving meal will be served/the time you’re expected to arrive and when you’ll celebrate Christmas with extended family (if you do that).

Other “whens” can be talked about now. “When I get overwhelmed, this is how I’ll take a break to get refreshed” or “When the kids freak out and go crazy, this is how I plan to respond” and “When things don’t go according to plan I’ll tell myself:_______”.

Let’s face it, we can plan until we’re blue in the face but things will inevitably explode in our faces faster than Santa’s belt on Christmas Eve. In order to not completely melt down, you need to have plans in place for when things don’t go the way you want them to.

This is another time when communication with your spouse is key.

If you’re the one that does all the shopping, have your husband do the wrapping. If you’re not the cook in the family, tell your husband you’ll keep the kids busy and out of the kitchen so he can prep the holiday meal without interruption. Plans will change and even the most perfectly planned event can go awry. Show grace to yourself and to others and know when to set boundaries! 


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