Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tips for Surviving the Holidays

Ah. The Holidays. Between the tree, the lights, the excessive family gatherings, the kids being home for two weeks straight, and the thoughts of trying to recreate Pinterest perfection in the kitchen, it's no wonder people go nutso over the Holidays!

Tis the season to lose one's mind, am I right?

While struggling to find my own holiday spirit, I started thinking about what funny advice I could give to make the season a little more bright and a lot less insane. That's when it hit me, we all have learned the hard way once or twice! So, I gathered up some of my favorite bloggers and funny Facebookers and asked them to give their best tip for surviving this chaos. Here's what they gave me...

Don't tell the kids anything in advance!

"This time of year brings out my sentimental side, and I try like crazy to make ev.e.ry.thing special. The fam and I do something fun each day leading up to Christmas. One year that meant visiting a railroad museum complete with life-size engines and holiday decor. And hot chocolate. I made the mistake of telling the kids we were going- five days before we actually went. By the fourth day and the 12,349th "IS IT TIME TO GO YET?!" I vowed to never, ever, EVAH announce the imminent arrival of anything exciting more than five minutes in advance. Those little humans almost broke me that year, but I added some Kahlua to my hot chocolate and mama found her happy place again."
-Stephanie from When Crazy Meets Exhaustion 
Find her blog at

Eat this Pinterest! Tips for Christmas baking.

"Every mom dreams about a tray of gorgeously decorated cookies, gourmet fudge, and perfect little Christmas candies. You set out all the ingredients, call in the kids and... four hours later, you have a kitchen covered in flour, a couple trays of half burnt cookies, that ICING on the ceiling? The fudge looks like dog droppings, the candies are melted globs, and the cookies the kids decorated don't make sense at all!  A blue hat on Santa? A yellow Christmas tree? Who put the green booger coming out of Santa's nose? And what the hell is that cookie shape right there....holy crap! That reindeer head is definitely upside-down male genitalia. Naughty cookie cutter! This year survive holiday baking with your kids by lowering your expectations. As long as you end up with edible food at the end of it, call it a win, no matter what it looks like. You can throw the burnt ones outside and tell your kids you are trying to feed Santa's reindeer. That always works." 
-Morgan from The Inklings of Life Find her blog at

Would you like that gift wrapped? A story of what not to do.

"Though I love the holidays, wrapping presents is the bane of my existence. Not only do I absolutely loathe it, I completely suck at it. Anyone who gets a present wrapped by me knows it because it looks like a one-armed blind man wrapped it. I try. I really do. But the harder I try, the more I rip the paper. Then I become furious and there's extra tape everywhere and one side of the gift has 27 extra inches of paper on it while the other has a blank spot where the present is showing through because I hacked off too much of the extra paper. Then I have to tape on a small square of paper to hide the blank spot. Every Christmas, wrapping comes with excessive whining and wine. One year, I ran out of paper at 3 am with about 4 presents (each kid) left to wrap! I dug around under my bed to find anything leftover that I could use. All I found was this amazing birthday paper. Then Eureka! I had the perfect idea! All I had to do was write "Jesus" under the Happy Birthday and BOOM! Problem solved. Then, I ran out of scotch tape. After searching the entire house, all I could find was some blue painter's tape. I finally finished up around 5 am and the kids were up at 6 rustling through stockings and presents. Then I heard my oldest son say, "Whoa! It looks like Santa may have had a little too much wine last night!" as he held up one of my creatively wrapped presents. My look shut him up pretty fast.

So, my tip about wrapping presents: Don't wrap presents. Buy gift bags instead. Or better yet, the next time someone gives one to you, save it and re-use it. It will save you a lot of sanity. And painter's tape. That stuff is expensive." 
-Jenna from Momster's Diaries

Is Santa Real? A lesson in question dodging.

"When a child asks if Santa is real, answer the question with a question. What do YOU think, sweetie? Then change the subject by offering to cook bacon. (This works exceptionally well at my house!) And maybe throw in some shiny object distractions for good measure. If all else fails, dance backwards out of the room, using every move you ever knew simultaneously, including jazz hands. Oh, one more little thing...if you want to perpetuate the myth a little longer, don't forget to buy extra special 'Santa' wrapping paper. Trust me on this one. I know from experience. In closing, disregard all I said before because Santa is real."
-Debra from The Debra Show

Speaking of dodging... Nothing beats a good holiday run.

"How to survive the Holidays. My tip? Run. No, no, not like exercise. What I meant to say is run away. I'm totally serious folks! Every year this SAHM packs up the overnight bags and signs out on a 36 hour pass to attend my BFF's Crazy Crafting Party. I drive 6 hours (each way) to hang out with her for the ONE day when we are both kid-free. Sounds crazy? How does this sound: 6 hours where I get to eat junk food off the passenger seat, sing loudly to MY playlist and stop only when I need to gas up or hit the loo. Priceless. Here's my point: all the holiday shite is stressful and you need a fecking break! Do something that is a bit childish, a bit ridonkulous even, and just for you. Tis the season, right?!"
-Serendipity from Mother of Serendipity 
Find her blog at

Traveling + Kids = Torture. A Christmas math lesson.

"We spend about 20 hours in the air every holiday season and I'm always looking for some ways to fill the time. A friend once suggested wrapping up a bunch of small gifts and giving one to the kids every hour throughout the flight. At the time I thought that sounded like a lot of money and work. Then I thought about how much my sanity was worth...Turns out 20 small presents is a bargain." 

-Lynn from The Nomad Mom Diary Find her blog at www.nomadmomdiary

Putting up the lights. A trip to Hell and back.

"There's nothing worse than spending four hours untangling and putting on the Christmas tree lights only to find THEY DON'T FREAKIN' WORK! So, here are my tips to make this miserable part of the tree decorating a little less miserable. 1) Check  the lights first! Plug 'em in and make sure they work before you put them on the tree. 2) When you pack them up, roll them onto a piece of cardboard instead of bunching them up and tossing them into the bin. You'll be happy you did this next year when you have to string 'em up again. 3) Start with the female side (that would be the non-pronged side) at the top of the tree and connect the strands as you work your way down, that way you end up with the male end at the bottom that you can plug in. Sounds simple, right? I can't even tell you how many times I've ended with the female at the bottom and had to start all over. ARGH! And there you have it. My tried and true wisdom to spare you the hell of Christmas tree lighting."
-Deva from MyLifeSuckers Find her blog at

Surviving Grandparents, the holiday "spoilers"

"With regards to grandparents: the best defense is a good I just don't give a shit attitude. You know they are going to give your kids a bunch of sugar, spoil them rotten, get them all wound up and then leave. It's going to annoy you but, trust me friends, this is a battle you cannot win. Surrender. Surrender before they even arrive. Embrace the chaos and save your energy for undoing the damage once they're gone. Whatever they do over the course of a weekend can be undone in the same amount of time with discipline, perseverance, and M & Ms."
-Mackenzie from Mommy Needs A Swear Jar 
Find her blog at

Finding your peace in a room full of relatives. Or maybe your piece.

"You know what I'm talking about: the backhanded compliments, the inappropriate observations, the blatantly rude remarks, and the unsolicited advice. (That last one makes me absolutely CRAZY!)
Whether these come from your mother, your in-laws, and/or any other relative, I have a great solution. Every time it happens, indulge in your happy potion. That is stock up on something that makes you blissful- Christmas cookies, wine, salted-chocolate caramels, vodka straight from the bottle- whatever sends you to a happy place. Then, anytime anyone says something that sets off your nerves, indulge in a bite or a sip of your merriment. It will immediately provide you with pleasure. And it will keep your mouth busy so you don't say anything you'll regret later."
-Kathryn from Foxy Wine Pocket Find her blog at

Speaking of families...

"Families. Getting together may be the hardest part of every holiday season. If you are one of those people who dread the holidays because your family is the definition of dysfunctional, why not skip the disappointment and embrace the insanity? Accept your family for the crazies they are! Love them, they are, after all, your roots. You will look back in years to come and know there was fun in the dysfunction. Besides, drunken fighting matches make for great future story fodder! Families are all nuts. All of them. Not just yours! Deal with it." 
-Gretchen from How My Brain Works 
Find her blog at

Christmas Morning. 

The morning that just keeps giving. Too bad it wouldn't give you your sleep back. Am I right?! Why is it that kids get up at the butt crack of dawn (or before)? Don't they realize you were up until 3 am wrapping presents and putting together "Santa" presents? My kids like to be up before 5 am. I don't know about you, but THIS momma needs a little bit more beauty sleep than that. Two hours is enough to put me in the stages of Medusa meets Roseanne. Scared? You should be. But I have a little trick up my sleeve to combat the early morning wake up call! Every year, we fill the kids stockings with a mixture of little toys and candy. Lots of candy. Then we tell the kids that they can open their stockings BEFORE waking us up. In fact, DON'T wake us up until the sun is in the sky. Until then, feel free to breakfast on candy canes and chocolates, tornado the living room with the contents of your stockings, and watch TV until your little hearts are content. The first kid to wake us up is the last kid to open a gift. For some reason, this has worked, year after year. And year after year, as the kids bounce off the couch like a trampoline and refuse to even look at my slaved over Christmas morning breakfast, I question my own judgement.

So why do we do endure this craziness year after year?

I think about my daughter's look of glee as she saw what Santa left her....and that is enough. By far.

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