Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toning Down The Holiday Madness

Welcome to the November 2013 Carnival of Natural Mothering! 

This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo.

This month's topic is Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.

The holidays, that crazy time of year when normal rules and family values seem to go flying out the window, sigh.

I am not a fan of this time of the year. It always seems SO chaotic, SO expensive, and SO over-stimulating, and so this year I am taking a huge step towards toning it down.

I took a bit of time to take a long hard look at the past few holiday seasons and listed what I thought caused the most upheaval: 
  • I always feel that I spend too much money on Christmas gifts which leaves me panicking about finances in January and February the following year. 
  • We seem to fall out of our good routines with meal times and bed times.
  • We spend far too much time in shops, and sweltering in mid-summer heat in vehicles whilst we travel to the shops. 
  • Mindful eating and diet restrictions go out of the window, Jesse eats no sugar and we limit processed food and refined carbohydrates but seem to get a bit lax over the holidays. 
  • Most of my family work for themselves, and so we can’t take time off and everything ends up being such a rush. 

I then tried to think of the reasons why Summer is my favourite time of the year:
  • Those lazy family days spent braaing by the pool side. 
  • It’s too hot to go to the beach for just the day, but I love it when the family rents a cottage by the beach, and we can get on the beach in the early mornings and late afternoons. 
  • I love all the time spent with family, and the best days are definitely those Sundays when we have nothing else to do but relax by the pool. 
  • The abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, it is when our veggie garden is the most prolific and this makes eating yummy salads and smoothies so easy. 
  • Its Watermelon season! [Definitely warrants its own point ;)] 

I thought this would make coming up with a plan to combat holiday exhaustion and over-stimulation much easier, but it left me a bit panicky, because the obvious answers to spending too much money on gifts and too much time shopping is to plan ahead and either hand-make gifts or purchase gifts all year long, such as one gift per year.

I find myself in November having done nothing of the sort and I have no idea what to either buy or very quickly make for all my family, but I am putting aside some time this coming weekend to scroll through my gifts and gift wrapping Pinterest board for some ideas!

I am also going to be putting aside ONE day for shopping and will leave my 3 year old with his gran so as to hopefully get it all done. I have chosen a weekday for this, and I’m hoping that’ll mean the shops won’t be too busy. The only way to get all my shopping done in one day is to plan ahead and make lists, which I have already started. I’m also going to try and do as much online shopping as possible, because that is definitely the easiest!

To combat the loss of routines and over-stimulation, and I make sure we do not over book our calendar this year. I am penciling in plenty of time for relaxation and down time.

I have also prepared a meal planner for November, which includes everything, breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks too! I will prepare one for December too and this will hopefully help us avoid too many meals out and takeaways.

Does it sound like I am organised? Because I definitely do not fell it, lol.

I would love to hear some of your gifting ideas, and how you tone down the holiday madness, comment below :) 
Bloggers, visit GrowingSlower to sign up to be a part of next month's carnival. 


  1. You and I are definitely on the same page with needing a more low-key holiday season! I love the strategies you've come up with, and I hope they work well for you this year so you can enjoy yourself more and feel much less of the pressure and hustle and bustle of this time of year.

  2. I would love to make it more low key this holiday season. We did decide to draw names between my sisters/their husbands, significant others to save money. But it being summer and watermelon season really blows my mind. The rational/logical part knows this is the way it is but we are going into winter so it seems strange haha.

    1. Lol, don't worry, a cold holiday season blows my mind ;)

  3. You sounds like you're all set for beating the stress this year! Thanks for those gift ideas too... might have to pop some of them into our advent calendar activity list :)

  4. I definitely think if you are organised and prepared it is so much easier and you have a much better holiday for it. I started making Christmas presents in August so that I was not rushing to get them done at the last minute, still time for that tho!

  5. We've scaled down what we are doing this year too. Instead of having something planned every day, we are picking two or three things to do and keeping it simple. Have a wonderful holiday season!

  6. In contrast to you, this is my favorite time of year! However, I don't enjoy it nearly as much if I feel as though I am out-of-control, running around like a crazy person. I need to be organized. I always try to get my shopping done before December hits. I agree that online shopping is fantastic! It's fun to go to the stores and browse if I feel I have the time (ha!), but I don't do much actual purchasing at places like the shopping mall, because it's not as economical. I do shop local stores, though. Etsy is great for natural products and supporting small business while maintaining the convenience of online shopping.

    I, too, am a bit stressed considering feeding us this year, and trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy in our routine. I have one who will be 2 on Christmas Eve, and one who is 4 months old, and we need to keep some routine in our lives! I'm not sure how to do that except to carefully guard some days each week as days to stay home. We are also limited in our diets - my oldest can't eat dairy, and my youngest is sensitive to dairy, corn, and soy, so I avoid those foods (I breastfeed). That means we have to contribute a lot to holiday meals, or we won't eat! :-)

  7. I am currently pregnant with my first child, and the renewed thrill of celebrating the holidays with my new family. I'm SO glad I stumbled across your blog. If you're supposed to avoid stress while you're pregnant, than getting pregnant around the holiday season is possibly the worst thing you could do. As excited as I am, I know I need to reel it in a bit, kick back my feet, and plan plan plan.

    First thing I did this year was sit down and write in my journal how I would imagine the most perfect, fantasy Christmas holiday. I wrote down EVERYTHING I could think of from the types of cozy drinks I'd have to the events in the day that would take place. Then I closed the book, locked it up and I won't look at it again until Christmas is over. This is just to set my intentions with the Universe and my subconscious and allow myself to enjoy the season. Then I wrote out my budget for gifts, wrote down the people I needed to shop for, how much I would spend on each person, then looked into what I could do to cut corners, like get creative: make gifts, offer my services, cook, bake, hunt sales and cut out coupons. My email inbox might be overflowing with promotions right now, but I don't get sticker shock after making a carefully planned purchase.

    I also keep and arsenal of emergency gifts stored in a box year round in case of forgotten birthdays, or just to boost my Christmas list. I save free samples like shampoo and hair gel from Bumble and Bumble, or freebies from art stores like Blick. If you go into department stores like Macy's or Sephora, it doesn't hurt to ask if they have any samples to give out. They make great stocking stuffers or additions to any gift.


I love comments! Thank you for making me smile! :)