5 Ways to Keep the Holidays Fun and Sane Too!

Tired santa lying on floor covered in gifts

Most of us know that it's not only the negative things in life that are stressful. Even the things that should be joyous can get ugly fast if we don't take care. We've compiled a list of things that may help you enjoy the holidays without losing your mind in the process!

1. Plan Ahead – This can help in many areas. Try to shop early and avoid the mad last-minute rushes. It also pays to plan early when it comes to holiday gatherings. If you wait until the last minute to announce a celebration at your home, it may be a lonely event. At the same time, try to be flexible with others as much as possible.

2. Budget – 'Tis the time to give, but not to the point that you are hurting yourself and your family. Sit down with your significant other and develop a realistic holiday budget. You may want to include a small buffer zone for the unexpected expenses that tend to crop up each year (like when someone gives you a gift though you were not planning on giving one to him or her!).

3. Have a Healthy Attitude about Holiday Eating – Are you among the group of people that feels guilty for over-indulging during the holiday season? If so, you're in good company. If you're motivated to have a healthy holiday this year, visit the webpages below for some tips. However, if you're not particularly motivated, we advise you to go easy on your conscience; unless you have a medical condition that requires adherence to a specific dietary plan, partaking in a more-indulgent-than-usual holiday meal or two isn't a terrible idea, and guilt will not help you build a positive relationship with food. Instead, focus on enjoying your meal and the occasion it brings to share time with your loved ones. Then, in a spirit of thankfulness, commit to doing what you can to honor your health the rest of the season and throughout year.

4. Monitor Your Stress Levels – You have to take care of yourself first before you can fully care for others. If you're not a happy person, how can you spread the joy to other family members and friends? Also, go out and have fun, but try to keep it reasonable. Spreading yourself too thin can lead to stress overload fast.

5. Celebrate – Although doing too much for the holidays may lead to problems, doing too little can have negative consequences too. Remember your favorite holiday traditions and pass them on to your kids. If you don't have any family traditions, make up some new ones. If you don't have a family, get out and see friends often. If you're too shy to have a lot of friends, this is a great time of year to break out of the rut. Many organizations have social functions and other gatherings during the holiday season. It is simply a matter of doing a web search to find an appropriate activity in your area.

Have a safe, fun, and sane holiday season this year from all of us here at the Penn State Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness!