For those of you who don’t know yet, there is a Whinypaluza Mom Support Group on Facebook for free. Every month I do a themed challenge and if the moms comment they get entered to win prizes. I like to call myself the Whinypaluza Fairy as I flutter around town dropping off presents to the moms.
This month, we just completed the December holiday challenge. Please feel free to request to join the group. All are welcome. We support each other and lift each other up. We talk about challenges we are having, and we give advice. We tell each other successes we have to give other moms ideas. I really love this group and have found so much support in it. I wish I had it when my kids were tiny. I have three children and they are 11 years old, 14 years old and 16 years old. Somehow, next month my oldest turns 17 years old. Don’t blink because your 7-year-old will be turning 17! No matter what age your children are, I think you will enjoy this group with us. There are also aunts and grandmothers in the group too.
This month for the December challenge I asked a lot of questions, and I was blown away by all the wonderful thoughts and advice these mothers had. I want to take the time this week to share their advice because I think we can all benefit from it. If you commented in this challenge, thank you so much. You help me and I have no doubt that you helped others too. Moms need their village. Thank you for being a part of my village!
First Question: What is your favorite holiday tradition?
- My friend makes a TON of different cookies and then gives them to her loved ones to show people what they mean to her. I watch her bake every year and I am always amazed by this tradition she has. I need to get baking!
- Family gatherings and baking.
- My kids singing the Chanukah blessings is my favorite!
- Getting grandchildren involved in the baking. I like to get my kids involved.
- A good meal surrounded by loved ones. It’s about being together is what I am seeing a lot of women say.
- Watching Christmas movies together.
- Making gingerbread houses together. Every year I got my girl scout troop together to make gingerbread houses. My girls are no longer in girl scouts, but I would still love to get all the girls together to do this again.
- Decorating the tree and remembering when we got each of our treasured ornaments and telling stories about them.
- Just spending time together.
- Watching my daughter opening gifts and seeing the twinkle in her eyes.
- Doing things together like the festival of lights. Her children are getting older. Things change as our kids get older and we can still make the holidays special for them.
Second Question: What is one thing you can change this holiday season to feel less stressed?
- No is a complete sentence.
- The best memories can be made at home when you’re doing nothing. Smart lady!
- Saying no. They used to run around to 3-4 houses on Christmas and this year she wants to stay home. I am seeing a theme that people don’t like running around on Christmas and that they want to be home. Makes so much sense to me. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I wouldn’t want to run around all day if I did.
- Leaving time for me. I think we all tend to forget this part during the holidays. Don’t skip the self care.
- Being planful and mailing gifts early overseas so it gets there on time.
- Planning is a theme I am hearing. My friend says that she is planning her holiday menu now. When we start the planning then we feel the stress level decreasing.
- Staying organized is keeping this mama sane. Paying attention to sales, cards, events, etc.
- Making time for myself and remembering that if it doesn’t bring me joy I don’t have to keep doing it. That is such amazing advice for all of us. I am going to say it again: If it doesn’t bring us joy, we don’t have to keep doing it!!!
- It’s about being together and getting everyone involved in making the food so it doesn’t fall on one person. I love family teamwork!
- The theme of staying at home keeps coming up. Moms seem to want Christmas to be at home and relaxing. What is relaxing about the holidays? Totally kidding!
- Take care of me and get better at delegating. This is funny because I have had a couple offers to help me wrap and I think I have to do it all myself. This is another mom theme. We do too much and can definitely utilize more help.
Question 3: If your children could tell you one thing about the holidays, what do you think they would say?
- My children would tell me that a happy mom = a happy holiday!
- My daughter told me not to wrap to save time and to hand them a box. I’m not doing that but it’s very sweet of her wanting me to have less work.
- “It’s family time.” They are teaching him that holidays are about being together.
- Include friends. If friends don’t have anywhere to go, they include them. How fantastic is this? Isn’t this what the holiday is about?
- Play holiday music.
- It’s about being with family and friends. This is the holiday definition in a nutshell.
- The special food and cookies. Cookies are dangerous for me. I love cookies!
- Family time and relaxing!
- This mama doesn’t think her kids love performing their instruments for family but how special is this. This is a better present than something we open. I love experiences over gifts. I have an experience gift idea for my son and for one of my daughter’s.
- Don’t stress and we don’t have to do it all. Smart kids.
- Appreciating traditions. I often wonder what my kids will look back on and remember fondly.
- Looking forward to the down time. Our kids need a break and mine are definitely looking forward to some relaxation.
- Everything! All the traditions. This mom is trying to keep the magic going and do you know what I have to say to that: Moms are the Magic Makers!! I wrote about this very topic last December if you want to go read it!
- Looking forward to no alarm clock, cozy clothes, reading and movies. How amazing does that sound?
- Sleeping in and having some down time at home. I’m seeing another theme. Kids and moms want down time at home.
Question 4: What is your best piece of advice to moms this holiday season.
- Make lists and don’t feel like you have to complete the list in one day.
- Use amazon for out-of-towners so you don’t have to deal with the post office.
- Get discounts on gifts after the holidays and start shopping for the holidays early.
- If you are missing a loved one, feel inspired by them to make the holiday special. They would want that for you and your family.
- If you are feeling financial stress, remember that it’s the thought that counts. There is nothing like a beautiful note.
- Stay organized and tackle one event at a time.
- Remember it all gets done.
- Relax and sit down and watch a movie. The dishes can wait. Make some homemade crafts together.
- Make a list. Do a brain dump and dump it all out onto paper so that you can map it out and chip away at it one by one.
- Give yourself grace in whatever choices you make.
- Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend.
- Let go of perfection. The kids will remember the time together not the perfectly wrapped gift.
- Make less work for yourself. Use paper products.
- Start shopping in January.
- Tell stories about those who have passed.
- Start a holiday fund.
- Allow others to help you.
- Delegate to others!
- Take time every day to do something just for you.
- Themes of making a list, prioritizing, extending grace to yourself and asking for help.
- Communication is key!
- Keep a spreadsheet in regard to what has been purchased to keep track of everything.
Question 5: What is a new tradition you would like to start with your family this year?
- I love the idea of a sibling gift exchange night.
- I love the idea of a charity night (we have 8 nights).
- New pajamas every Christmas eve to wear on Christmas morning.
- An advent calendar of things to do vs. toys.
- Family photo session.
- Staying home Christmas day.
- Adding church into Christmas eve.
- Getting food and going to look at Christmas lights. Eating in the car so the kids don’t complain that they are hungry while looking at lights.
- Getting an artificial tree instead of a real one.
I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed all your beautiful and helpful comments. I think this was my favorite challenge so far. I hope that others found this as helpful as I did. I feel like I have a supportive village online. I feel like I am not alone. I also think I got a lot of great advice, ideas, and reminders!
When the holidays are over, take time to evaluate how it went. What worked and what didn’t work for you and your family this year. This way you can keep doing better and getting more organized. You can eliminate things that didn’t work for you.
What is not working for me this year is that I have a big pile of boxes in front of me and I have no idea how much I have purchased. I said this last year too and I forgot to begin a list. Next year I will make a list of everything that I buy so that I don’t feel so dazed and confused. Now I am going to go through my boxes and get organized. Let’s hope that my gift buying for three children isn’t totally uneven.
I would love to hear if you took anything away from this topic to help to make the holidays less stressful for you and your family. Wishing you a very blessed holiday season!
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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Whinypaluza Mom Group:
If you are looking for a supportive community, come join the free Whinypaluza Mom Facebook group. I created this as I wanted us to have a place where we can talk about tips, strengths and challenges we are having. It is another step I took to help everyone to know that you are not alone. The December holiday challenge was a lot of fun. Come join us and bring a friend with you! I love to give away prizes. This group is private so please find me on Facebook at Whinypaluza or Rebecca Greene and message me to ask for an invite. I’m also on Instagram @becgreene5 and @whinypaluza_mom. I am also on Tik tok @whinypaluzamom.
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