Ahhh, fall. My favorite season. There is an underlying buzz of excitement in the crisp, smoky, earth-scented air wafting as the deciduous leaves crunch underfoot beneath a cornucopia of enchanting color. It is a time for celebration.
You see, in the time frame between October 28 and January 1st, we have at least 20 special occasions to celebrate in my family. Festivus. While not exactly the holiday described and made famous by Seinfeld circa 1997, I can’t think of a better way to describe these ~2 months of non-stop celebrations.
Halloween is the kick-off event, and let’s face it, it is no longer a one day thing. After all the costume preparation, trunk-or-treats, and school parties we are all pretty much zombies and witches by the time October 31st rolls around.
There is no rest for the overly-sugared weary in my home, as all three of my kids have November birthdays! Party planning commences and we spend practically every day and night of November either preparing, celebrating, shopping, creating, cooking, baking, or cleaning for the birthday festivities. (I admittedly get really into throwing fun themed parties for the kids and realize there are easier ways to go about this!)
Of course somewhere in there we also celebrate Thanksgiving, which again entails preparing, shopping, celebrating, cleaning, and often traveling. Oh, and crazy relatives.
As we head into December, Chrismukkah begins. That’s right folks, we do it up. We celebrate all 8 nights of Hanukkah in addition to the Christmas holidays. Sometimes they all fall on the same week, and sometimes they literally span the entire month. It’s incredible! The food, the joy, the lights, the family time, the decorations, the advent, the spirit. It truly is a magical time of year. This year my husband wants to add The Elf on The Shelf to our traditions… (no further comment).
Hold on, we’re not done yet! My husband’s birthday is the day after Christmas and we all feel badly for him and overcompensate with a fun celebration. Then we desperately try to get our heads back on straight as we head into the New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations, resolute to do better in the coming year.
Phew! It is exhausting! However, we love it and wouldn’t change it. But how do we survive it??? Or perhaps the bigger question is how we afford it?! Take a few pages from our holiday happiness playbook and make the most of your festive season!
The good thing about all of these holidays is that they come at the same time every year. It is no surprise that fall is the gateway to a non-stop party. So I use the months leading up to it to start planning. My best friend Pinterest and I spend a lot of quality time together creating folders of ideas for each of these holidays. I pay attention to my kids’ interests and start gathering cute birthday party ideas and gifts in advance. For the last three years my son’s
interests obsessions have resulted in his Halloween costumes doubling as his birthday party theme, so at least there’s that. Of course these are subject to change up until the day before the party, but at least I feel more in control knowing I have all of the “research” done.
I have two words for you: Gift Closet. I hate scrambling last minute, so I am always on the lookout for great gifts. If I find a good deal, I buy it and save it for when it will be needed. I am stocked for my own kids’ birthdays and holidays, their friends, secret Santas, toy drives, etc. If I find the perfect gift for my sister-in-law in June, I will buy it and be prepared for Christmas! I buy things I know people will love, often at a fraction of the price. I love being able to give them more than I would (both thoughtfully and tangibly) if I had to fight the last-minute shopping madness. It also helps to space out the spending so we aren’t completely slammed during this Festivus season.
3. Take it One Day at a Time
Take each day as it comes. With so many celebrations, and not wanting to slight one, we will never be the people who start putting up Christmas decorations before Halloween. By doing some advanced planning and preparing in September and October, we are able to truly relax and enjoy all of these holidays. We take them each as they come and strive to be in the moment. We don’t worry about the next party when in the middle of celebrating the first one. On the days between celebrations we clean, regroup, and try to eat healthfully!
4. Letting Go
There is nothing we can do about the fact that 80% of our nuclear family’s birthdays fall in the same month as all of the other major holidays. We accept it and embrace it. This is our busiest time of year and we cherish every single celebration!
It truly is a season of Festivus, and with planning, preparedness, and a positive attitude, there really is rest (and so much joy) for us!
Whatever holidays you celebrate, we at Knoxville Moms Blog, wish you the happiest, sanest season. What are some of your tips for taming the holiday craze?