The holidays are stressful.
I don’t care what you do, how you handle it, or what you try to minimize, it’s just a lot.
Unless, maybe you boycott entirely and move to Siberia for the last two months of the year. Maybe then it would be less stressful. But a lot colder too. Six one half dozen the other.
I’m not the Simplicity Queen, but I do try to find ways to make things even a little bit easier…and if they also make things a lot more meaningful, I’m in holiday heaven.
One of my absolute favorite things we do that curbs major stress this time of year is that we only buy 3 gifts for each of the kids. I know a lot of families do that, but I typically hear that the reason behind it is symbolism for the 3 gifts the magi brought for Jesus. I like that idea, and the symbolic nature of it, but that’s not why we do it.
Also, looking at old pictures of my kids. I love that too. It reminds me why the heck all of this is worth it.
Our three gifts are 1 from Santa, 1 from Mom, 1 from Dad.
Every family has to do their own thing, but here are the 6 reasons I love our 3 gift per kid system, and why you might like it too:
- It majorly cuts down on shopping. I love shopping, really I do. I especially love scoring amazing deals. Gift giving is kind of my love language. That being said, it means that the tendency to over-shop is RIGHT THERE. Three gifts per kid still adds up when you have four kids, but it’s a lot more manageable when you’re trying to cross things off your to do list.
- It eliminates all that fairness stuff. So and so has 7 gifts, but the other only has 5…his gifts are physically bigger…her gifts cost more…blah. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Three gifts. The end.
- It makes the gift that much more awesome. When I know that I’m only buying ONE gift for Lucy, I make sure it’s a good one. I pass up all the random Black Friday dolls and tea sets that are SO TEMPTING (she would love that! and it’s soooo cheap!), and I focus on what is the ONE thing I think she would swoon over. It’s become a fun challenge as I shop rather than simply tossing stuff into my cart.
- It’s become a friendly competition between my husband and I. One of the keys to this 1 from Mom, 1 from Dad system is NOT TALKING TO EACH OTHER ABOUT GIFTS. We don’t discuss what we are thinking of getting the kids…we don’t brainstorm…we don’t give each other ideas/hints. And because of item #2 up there, we are always anxious to see if our one gift was a hit. And which of our gifts was the bigger hit. Because we are totally like that.
- There’s something special about getting a gift from Dad (that Mom didn’t just put his name on the tag). In our house (and most, I think), Mom does the vast majority of the shopping year round. I like the idea that the kids know that Dad specifically picked this thing out for them. And as they get older, I romanticize the idea that my kids will accumulate trinkets with special meaning. A bracelet, a pair of little earrings, a baseball bat, a tool set…from dear old Dad that will become treasured pieces. And yes, from Mom too I would imagine.
- It’s really really fun to see the lens each parent see through. Since I’m only getting one gift, I’m not exactly buying a 5 pack of underwear, so it’s really fun to see the difference between what I buy, and what Andy buys. I usually go tried and true, wooden, nostalgia…and Andy goes electronic and way above the suggested age level. Interestingly, I’m watching the kids open the 10 years and up gift thinking “Man, that’s way too old for them…” and Andy sets them up, shows them what to do, and within minutes, I’m proven wrong. (Also, he almost always “wins” the better gift contest. Because Dads are fun like that.)
I know that lots of people use the gifts at Christmas as an opportunity to buy stuff the kids need anyway…shoes, jackets, etc. But that just seems to add another layer of stress to the holidays. And a bigger price tag!
But mostly, it feels like it dilutes some of the specialness that comes with really super thought out gifts.
Santa gifts are the big things: bikes, skateboards, doll strollers. I don’t know why we give the Big Guy the credit there, but it’s just how it turned out. My kids are already starting to figure out that Santa isn’t real, so I’m not sure if we will turn it into a 2 gift system, or leave the big gift and call it a Joint Gift. We will cross that bridge when we get there.
And yes, we do Santa. For some reason, I was really honest about the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny, but Santa made the cut. Mama can only do one imaginary figure per year thankyouverymuch.
An extra perk for finding ways to keep stress levels low is that you also lower your chances of stress induced migraines. If you are a migraine sufferer (like I am!), even the littlest things you can snip here, trim there, lessen all around, can be a huge game changer in how your crazy brain responds.
A few other ways to curb migraine triggers:
- o Stick to your regular routine. Eating, sleeping and exercising as you do the rest of the year can help reduce the chances of getting a headache/migraine.
o Manage your time and plan ahead. Coordinate plans and responsibilities in advance with relatives and friends, compose set menus when hosting a party and try to purchase gifts early so you’re not rushing at the last minute
o Stay in ventilated spaces. As you browse through the mall, watch out for those scented candles or perfume if you are sensitive to smells
o Eat and drink in moderation. Eat, drink, and be merry, but try not to consume sweets or alcoholic beverages in excess, as they could trigger migraines
One other way to curb stress and potentially a few migraines this season?
WIN CASH MONEY.
I mean, right?!
With all of the stress that can come with the holidays, the makers of Excedrin® are hoping to help alleviate some! Enter HERE between November 1, 2013 and January 1, 2014 to enter the “Take a Holiday from Headaches” sweepstakes, where you’ll be eligible for a chance to win daily prizes including gift cards to popular retailers and one lucky grand prize of $25,000 to help with shopping, travel and other holiday expenses – all of which can give anyone a headache.
BUT WAIT. THAT’S NOT ALL.
Excedrin Migraine is also offering one lucky Life Rearranged reader the opportunity to win a $100 American Express gift card!
Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter (3 entries per person). I’ll pull a winner Saturday, November 30!
Which one of you lovelies is going to win a hundred bucks?! EEK!
*Disclosure: I am a paid Excedrin® Migraine blog ambassador. Compensation has been provided by Novartis Consumer Health, Inc., the makers of Excedrin® Migraine; my journey for a migraine-free experience is my own.