The holidays can make any homemaker want to curl up in a corner until after the new year. But it doesn’t have to be like that for you! Decide now that you are going to enjoy the holidays fully. Here are a few ways you as a homemaker can relieve holiday stress.
A Homemaker’s Obligation to Relieve Holiday Stress
As the matriarch of your home, much of the holiday shenanigans will fall on your shoulders. You will commit to – and be committed to by your husband and kids – countless activities and family gatherings.
How you view this time of year and your attitude towards all these commitments sets the tone for your whole family and can filter out into extended family and friends.
If you grumble and complain about what all has to be cooked and cleaned and bought, you will cast a shadow over the most wonderful time of year. Because you are mainly responsible for all the cooking, cleaning and shopping, you must take extra care to keep your attitude in check and find ways to make your tasks easier.
You can be the catalyst that helps others see the joy and understand the deeper meaning of the holidays.
How a mother, aunt, wife and grandmother approach this time of year can make or break the whole experience for everyone else – especially the kids.
What I’m not saying…
Please hear me. I am not saying that you have to be the perfect Susie-Homemaker!
You do not have to commit to every activity that comes along.
And most importantly, if you are overwhelmed, you must acknowledge that. If you don’t acknowledge this nothing will change. You will do the same thing next year and the next. No one will understand your holiday angst and they will keep on expecting everything from you.
You must find the sweet spot for how you can enjoy the holidays, too. If you need to cut back on holiday shenanigans all togethers, read about how to have a simpler Christmas here.
18 Ways a Homemaker Can Relieve Holiday Stress
- Don’t over-commit
- Say ‘no’
- Get your shopping done ahead of time
- And so many more
But I’m going to address a few things you can do when you are already in the busyness of the season.
Relieve Holiday Stress: Food
Since most holiday gatherings center around food, cooking and baking can be a huge stressor. Especially for the homemaker who doesn’t enjoy being in the kitchen.
1. Frozen Pizza is OK – Did your kids invite their friends over for a movie night during their school vacation? Are Uncle Bob and Aunt Judy popping in tonight? Keep some frozen pizzas on hand for an easy, relatively healthy meal. Serve it alone or pair it with a veggie tray and chips.
2. Freezer Meals – Make a few freezer meals. Right now. Today. Or double your supper recipe and throw half in the freezer. Having a meal of pork chops [My husband and I love these from Stockpiling Moms.] that you can just dump in the crock pot in the morning and forget about is priceless. How about some frozen soups to drop in the Crock Pot ? The Crock Pot (or Instant Pot) is your best friend.
Use these freezer meals for supper when you are out all day and busy. Having a meal planned ahead like this prevents last minutes stops for fast food or junk food. It also keeps hungry kids and husband happy knowing they can eat within 10 minutes of getting home.
3. Bake Ahead – Don’t feel like all your baked goodies have to be made fresh. Cookies, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and quick breads freeze beautifully and taste as fresh as the day you made them.
I usually have apple muffins or pumpkin chocolate chip muffins in the freezer ready to grab and thaw if someone stops by for coffee unannounced.
For dinners, I usually get asked to bring the dinner rolls so I make several batches ahead of time and can just pull out a couple bags the morning of the dinner.
And I always have cookies in the freezer! I keep back a few cookies from each recipe I make so that I always have a variety to offer coffee guests or kiddos.
4. Trial Run New Recipes (or old ones because you may only make it once a year) – Nothing is more stressful than a house full of company waiting on the stuffing to finish baking. To ease your stress, don’t make new recipes for the holidays! If you want to try a new recipe, do a trial run and throw it in the freezer for yourself. Otherwise, stick to the ones you are comfortable with.
5. Healthy Snacks – Maybe you don’t have time to make a meal for your family. Or lunch is a revolving door. Keep healthy snacks on hand so that you aren’t tempted to reach for the cookies or grab a candy bar in the check out aisle. Sugar suppresses the immune system and the last thing you want is to be sick or have sick kids over the holidays. Sickness does not relieve holiday stress!
Or when lunch rolls around and catches you off-guard, just throw out a tray of cheese, meat, fruit and veggies and call it good!
I love keeping a container of nuts and granola bars in my van so that I always have a healthy bite within reach. Usually I’m halfway to town at 12:37pm and I realize I’ve forgotten lunch again.
Keep low sugar snacks easy to grab.
Read how some of these items can serve as last minute snack ideas for a party or program: Quick and Easy Real Food Snacks for Holiday Parties
6. Soup! – Soups are easy to make and keep over a week in the fridge. Always keep some kind of soup on hand for quick, healthy lunches for whoever happens to be passing through.
If you want to make soups way ahead, freeze single portion sizes in sour cream containers. Then you can grab a container out of the freezer, pop it into a saucepan with a little water and have hot soup in 10 minutes!
Or pull a few containers of soup out at a time so you don’t have a huge kettle taking up space in the fridge.
Relieve Holiday Stress: Family
7. Enlist the help of the kids! – Don’t think you have to do everything yourself! Make the kids help where they can. Teach them how to clean or help in the kitchen. If your kids aren’t old enough to help, invite a niece or neighbor girl over for several hours to be your helper.
8. Don’t feel tied to traditions – Are there some family traditions you just dread? Are there others that take so much work you never enjoy the tradition? Then it’s time you make a new tradition. Replace the old tradition with something simple and less stressful for you.
Or you can present the dilemma to your kids. If one of them feels strongly about the tradition, tell them they are in charge of executing all the details.
Read More: How to Have a Simpler Christmas
9. Family game night – Kids don’t always have to be out and about to have a good time. Plan one or several family game nights for over the holidays. Shuttling kids all the time is enough to wear you out. Just stay home for fun.
10. Plan a “no plans” day – Schedule in a couple days around the holidays to have no plans. But protect those days from other plans! Start each day with no expectations and see where it leads. Maybe building a snowman? Games? Baking cookies? Shoveling sidewalks to serve your neighbors? Sidewalk chalk in the garage? Just keep it low key to help relieve holiday stress.
Relieve Holiday Stress: Treat Yourself
12. Self care – While your older kids or husband are entertaining the younger ones, hop into an epsom salt bath with some relaxing oils. This is a cheap but very effective stress reducer. If you don’t have time for a whole bath, soak your feet in epsom salt and oils while your toddler plays.
14. Diffuse or use Stress Away or other favorite blend – Keep oils handy for applying or diffusing.
Or carry a good book with you to read while you are waiting in the carpool lane or at the mall.
Get my delicious hot cocoa recipe here: The Best Homemade Hot Chocolate Recipe
16. Gather with friends – It’s ok to meet up at a coffee shop or restaurant. But make time to meet with the girls a couple mornings through the holidays to have a good time.
Do you have family who wants to see you but your house is a disaster? Ask to meet them at a coffee shop! If you have kiddos, meet somewhere with a play place. Meet up at a park if you live in a warmer climate.
17. Shop online – This one is obvious for gifts. But don’t forget about groceries, paper products and clothing. Especially if you have Amazon Prime ! You can also save yourself a ton of headache by using their ‘subscribe’ or ‘pantry’ programs. Or do a free trial with AmazonFresh!
18. Last minute company? – Popcorn, hot chocolate and games are a quick way to entertain unexpected guests and family.
So take some of the pressure off of yourself! Get the kids involved, make your own, simpler traditions, keep simple and healthy foods in stock and breathe.
Relieve holiday stress by applying some of these simple techniques. This is your family, your season, your home. Don’t try and live up to everyone else’s expectations of the season.