The fall and winter holidays are most likely busy for a lot of people.
The holiday season is complicated for a lot of people. Holidays can be especially complicated when you are part of a big blended family.
For me the season of October thru December is a whirlwind of activity.
I haven’t always managed this all this season all that well to be honest.
There have been holiday seasons that drove me to tears in my room, feelings of loneliness and overwhelm. Luckily, for me and everyone I come into contact with I’ve gotten much better at handling the stresses of the holiday seasons.
Today, I’m going to share some of the many reasons why this season is so busy for me and how I have learned to survive, thrive and enjoy the holidays.
It probably sounds like I’m complaining.
I guess I am complaining.
Here’s the RUB… I enjoy ALL of these things. Birthdays, Parties, Costumes, Family Celebrations.
Honestly, the big family dinner — that was a dream for me when I was a kid with my teeny tiny family.
It’s just that when we squish them all together in 3 short months I sometimes get worn out.
I have gotten a lot better at this over the years though … I learned a lot about myself, about communication and probably many things I can’t even remember.
I share this because I hope that perhaps you can learn from my experiences.
This season will end
I mean this in two ways. First, it will literally end on January 1st. I know. It’s actually very helpful to know that’s the end.
Also, this season of my life will end. A lot of the “busy” is because I’m lucky enough to have a house full of kids. That season is close to ending for me. I can see that end nearing and that does make aware of being thankful for some of this business.
I come from a very small family.
I had one brother and a mom and a dad. I never knew my dad’s parents because they passed away before I was born. So I only had one set of grandparents and actually my grandfather died when I was around 7. So- a very small family.
What complicated my holidays was that my parents divorced when I was young and they always lived thousands of miles away from each other.
I became a step-mom of 2 kids before I became a mom of 2 kids.
Add it up and all together that’s 4 kids. And I have a grandkid too. It’s not the biggest family you’ll ever see but it’s a lot of kids.
That’s part of the reason that our holidays are busy. When we are all togete we’re a big group.
That’s not all. Before we get to the traditional winter holidays that make everybody busy let me just share one thing that makes our holiday season a little extra.
Birthdays make my season extra busy
We have six birthdays in my immediate family starting with the end of October and running through December 31st. 2 in October, 2 in November and 2 in December. Thank you family for evenly spacing those out.
We don’t always throw parties for ALL of these … but sometimes there are a lot of “event’s” and “presents” for birthdays in addition to the winter holidays.
One of these birthdays is mine. That’s sometimes a lot of fun.
It’s extra for sure.
Two of these birthdays fall close to big holidays and so the birthday people have birthday anxiety. Do you know what this is? Even though they are grown ups they have never fully recovered from having to share their birthday with the holiday so they insist that the birthday get attention on that exact day.
I think this is a thing that makes my holiday season feel busy.
With all the stress that goes with just the holidays you’d think that organizations that work with families … you know…The schools would maybe time the huge testing and project season to not overlap … but it does. It always does.
If you don’t have kids in school you may not have the joy of seemingly endless assignments, tests, concerts, shows, fundraisers and probably other things I’m forgetting.
Just fyi this doesn’t end in high school. We have had a few dramatic moments in our home submitting remote college projects on tight deadlines and spotty wifi.
Again … you’d think that organizations that work with students and families would be aware that the holidays are already stupidly busy but I have learned that if your kids are involved in any sports from dance to football you can be fairly certain that the tournaments will be scheduled throughout the holiday season. Because you have nothing else that needs to be done except sit in bleachers for 3-days to watch your kid or your step-kid for 45 seconds.
Because I never do anything halfway when I married my husband I doubled my holidays.
We blended 2 religions. Neither of us is actually religious or devout but we do practice the traditions of both Judaism and Christianity in my house. So yes… Hanukkah and Christmas both . Sometimes they even overlap in which case we call that day Chanukamas or Christmakah.
I’m going to admit that this is another big thing that makes my holiday season feel super busy.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Years Eve. Yup that’s all of them.
Co-parenting and scheduling the blended family with the holidays
As I write this my step-kids are adults. When they were young we also had to juggle the custody split and kid-swaps. Now they juggle it themselves.
I’m very fortunate that we have always had good relationships between both houses … it just gets complicated. It requires really open communication, trust, appreciation of other peoples schedules and families and sometimes just a lot of flexibility and “being a grown up.”
And that’s not all.
Even though I am a grown up for years I had to juggle my own divorced parents and their drama over being together on the holidays.
Who needs that?!
Cooking and Shopping
It’s like the kitchen opens on November 1st and it’s non-stop until December. And the shopping is endless. Not even gift shopping just food shopping.
This part I love to be honest. I had dreams as a kid with a small family of being a part of a big, loud happy family celebration eating dinner.
What took practice for me with this was being okay with all the work because it was what I wanted. I’ll write more about this later.
Oh and work … you know Jobs
Because work doesn’t stop just because of the holidays.
I mean … we may all get less done but we still have to show up.
Don’t even get me started on office holiday parties…although they were a lot of fun when I was in my 20s.
Sometimes a big fall race
A lot of marathons and Ironman races I have done are in October and November. That always adds a wrinkle to my super precise holiday schedule.
And of course … Travel
Even if it’s just driving I feel like travel adds so much complication to the holiday season. It sounds easy … we’ll just drive up and spend the weekend but when the time comes during the holidays it’s like geez … do I actually have time to do this???
And if we are lucky enough to have visitors from out of town then it’s the airport pickups and stuff and maybe houseguests should perhaps have its very own category.
There are also many years where we have decided to try to mix in a vacation with our holiday season. That’s has for me been a lot of stress.
So, those are the things that have worked to create my personal super busy holiday crunch time…the busiest season of the year.
And truthfully I can see that this season of my life – this hustle and bustle is changing. My step-kids are adults, my kids are in high school. It might feel like these busy years will last forever.
But they don’t. I promise you they don’t.
That’s why it’s even more important that I share what I’ve learned with you.
IF you are in this season of hustle you can hopefully enjoy it as much as possible.
Be sure to download my free guide to surviving and thriving the holiday season. It should be offered below.