Girl Chat: Juggling the Holidays
I’m linking up with Danielle, Emily, Lindsay, Lizzie, and Sierra. Today’s Girl Chat edition is about how we manage the holidays. I seriously need help with this because every year I promise to do better but fall short.
Planning Ahead for Traveling and Events
Chaos usually starts to begin once October hits. Typically my family has already figured out locations/hosting assignments for each of the holiday. Oftentimes the challenge for me is figuring out logistics between time off work and arrangements with our dogs. I also like to coordinate with my sister-in-laws to find out their holiday plans as well. Since I now have a second job, this year will be tough regarding my length of stay for out of town visits and whether or not the dogs will be with us. This is only temporary! At least that’s what I keep telling myself…
When I married, I knew I would need some kind of system to keep track of gifts for everyone. Buying for two families is not only tricky for Christmas but for birthdays and days such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Two years ago, I started an Excel spreadsheet on my computer to keep track of gifts. This has been super helpful to remember what I have purchased in year’s past and keep a ballpark figure for gift costs. I also keep a list on my phone of gift ideas for family members as I’m shopping or plotting and scheming with others 😉
By my own admission, I am a Black Friday shopaholic. Before you judge, I have been on the other end and paid my retail dues. In high school and college, I would be at Target until 2-3 AM during the holidays and also handling customer service….
Black Friday ads have already been leaked so I have been skillfully taking notes and mapping out what stores to visit with my family. Traditionally I shop in Houston with my family and will leave what I buy with them so I won’t have to haul my finds all the way back to DFW just to be brought back down again for Christmas. I am very limited on car space especially when both dogs are in the back seat.
My parents and grandmother have been very accommodating and will even wrap the gifts for me! I will label the bag and tie it up so they won’t accidentally stumble upon their own presents 🙂 Amazon Prime has also been my best friend. Since I frequently travel, I have sent some gifts to my parents’ home for the same reason above.
Also….ALWAYS SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS 🙂 Several years in working customer service taught me that lesson!
Last year, my friend and I had a day of baking where we created lots of baked goods for our loved ones. I really hope we do this again this year! Last year was lots of fun and I enjoyed trying out new recipes (nothing fancy!) Everyone loves puppy chow, cookies, fudge, and trail mixes in cute little boxes or cellophane bags.
In addition to cooking, this is when I really take advantage of the Black Friday deals. Every year, I always find that I have extra folks to buy for: coworkers, friends, extended family members, etc. I like to stock up on items that I know will be of use such as fuzzy blankets, Bath & Body Works products, and candles. Such products usually have great prices on Black Friday.
Food Prep, Diet, and Exercise
Earlier this week, I shared a popular side dish that is safe for both Shay and I. Once I have an idea of what my family wants to serve for their holiday meal, I will make ahead whatever I can so I don’t have to worry about it later.
I personally enjoy volunteering to bring side dishes and/or desserts such as the ones below:
Most desserts can easily be made ahead of time (bundt cakes freeze well) and if the side dish can be prepared using the Crock Pot then I am all for it! Since Shay and I have personal dietary restrictions, I’ll check with him about what to bring so he know there is at least one side dish and dessert that are safe for eating. As for me, I usually fill up on salsa and chips (since most people have this), items from a veggie tray, and whatever side dish I bring. It does sometimes stink that I can’t eat what everyone else eats but I’ve made the most of it. I’ve found that I eat quicker than others and have plenty of opportunities to do dishes, see if my grandparents need anything, or hold a baby while their parents eat. I have never gone hungry on a holiday 🙂
As for exercise, I try to stick with my at-home workouts or taking the dogs on walks. Nothing really fancy! Mall walking counts too right??
Lastly…it is important to remember to take time for you. Every year, I become stressed over very small things and lose sight of the real reason for the season. DON’T BE LIKE ME!