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Parent Tips: Stress Management for the Holidays

December 8th, 2014 | 2 min. read

By Brianna Blackburn

With Thanksgiving barely finished and holidays approaching, along with the usual life scramble that comes along with the beginning of a new year, being a parent can get stressful! We want to make sure you’re staying healthy for the holidays by keeping stress in check. Besides providing you with resilience, keeping that inner calm will hopefully transfer to the rest of the family, including your little ones! Here are some simple lifestyle approaches you can take to manage stress levels during the holidays:


Keeping an Eye on the Budget

Money gets tight around the holidays, especially with gifts to buy and travel to consider. Here are few saving strategies you can use to make sure finances aren’t becoming a stressor for your family:

Work Lunches

You’d be surprised by how much all of the weekly lunches with coworkers add up to! Packing lunches the night before and using leftovers from earlier in the week is a great way to save time, money, and calories! If you find yourself going out simply to “get out of the building,” eat your lunch then go for a short walk at lunch. It’s a great stress reliever and leaves your budget none the wiser!

Comparing Prices

Reduce your grocery bill by making sure you take the time to compare prices instead of picking up what’s most convenient. Here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

  • Include a warehouse club on your comparison-shopping trip. (Costco, Sam’s Club, etc.) Even though you buy in bulk, you could be saving!
  • Include stores that are outside of your neighborhood if they have better prices.
  • Forget about brand names.
  • To make fair comparisons, note the size as well as the price of each item.
  • Ignore sale prices.

Preparing Last-Minute Meals

Keep the ingredients for your family’s two favorite meals on hand at all times. This also prevents any last-minute, expensive trips for fast food.

Favorite Gift Ideas

When purchasing gifts for children, it’s best to give gifts that will stimulate imaginations as opposed to simply requiring children to sit and observe. Here are a few ideas:

  • Children under five: Office supplies (index cards, highlighters, hand stamp with ink pad, inexpensive calculator, tape, etc.) so they can pretend they’re at work; blackboard, chalk, eraser and maps to play “school”; homemade blocks in lots of shapes and sizes; dictionary; dress-up clothes for dramatic play.
  • Six-to-ten years old: Preprinted return address labels; a hammer, nails, wood scraps; a date with one or both parents (no siblings allowed); large bottle of tempera paint, brushes and poster board; books on their favorite topic.
  • Preteens: A blank journal with a fancy pen; any clothing with the name of the high school they’ll attend; a photo album; a magazine subscription for a learning resource; board games.

And finally…

Lower Your Expectations

When we think of the holidays, we often imagine happy, well-behaved children enjoying family’s company while watching the snowfall and quietly falling asleep on the drive home. As every honest parent knows, that’s not quite how things work and it’s important to be realistic about what to expect from the holidays. Realize that things will go wrong and not according to plan, but that it’s ok because you’re surrounded by the ones you love!

Find even more year-round stress busters and small comforts for families who do too much in The Simpler Family.​

Author(s)Christine Klein

Brianna Blackburn

A graduate of Western Carolina University with a BA in English, Brianna served as a marketing and editorial Intern with Gryphn House in the Summer 2018.