How do you survive the holiday chaos?

How are you hanging in there? Got your shopping done? Getting ready to travel? Are you surviving the holiday chaos?

I feel like every year around this time is especially chaotic for me because our wedding anniversary is two days before Christmas. Oh why oh why did we do this to ourselves?

Getting away to celebrate before kids was a piece of cake, but after, it has become quite the challenge.

I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to help get everything checked off my list so I can enjoy both our anniversary and Christmas. This year is our 10th anniversary and originally I had thought we’d have some kind of vow-renewing ceremony or something, but the time has flown by and a lot of the time I still feel like a newlywed. So, I may revisit that idea in another five to ten years.

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos

So anyway, over the last 10 years we’ve traveled with kids and done Christmas at home. I’ve been down to the wire with shopping, and I’ve had it all done early. Sometimes I’ve just gotta decide what’s important and let everything else go. Here are five things I keep in mind as I plow through this season.

1. Work hard then play hard
I kind of live this philosophy all year, but there’s so much fun to be had and SO much work to do at the end of the year. My schedule hasn’t always allowed for flexibility, but when it does, I try to plan as best as I can to work ahead so I can fully enjoy Christmas with my family. Sometimes that means writing articles and blog posts at 3am so we can have breakfast with Santa the next day (I try not to sleep through breakfast).

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos

2. Find ways to make shopping simpler
I did so much of my shopping online this year. Luckily I have Amazon Prime. When I do venture out to the stores I try to call ahead or use services that will help make my trip faster. Like Sears free In Vehicle Pick Up, Return and Exchange in Five, or Reserve It. Each of these services makes my live easier and the season a little #MoreMerry for me. I could go on and on with shopping tips, but this article sums it up pretty well.

(Click the image to see the chart larger)

3. Make a list, then check it twice
Just like Santa, I make a list, but not just for shopping, for things I’d like to do this month, and things I need to do. I love getting a photo with Santa, making a gingerbread house, and going to see a light display. Then of course I keep track of who we want to get gifts for outside of our family.

4. Travel light
I could do a whole post on traveling with kids, but the main thing I try to remember is pack light, and when possible, bring things that can serve more than one purpose. If we’re traveling somewhere without a crib and other items for my toddler I may bring a play yard that also works as a diaper changer, and a place he can sleep. This one by Fisher-Price is half the weight of other portable play yards.CHP86-ultralite-day-and-night-play-yard-my-little-lamb-d-3

5. Make and document the merry memories
Most important of it all, beyond all the shopping, and hustle and bustle is enjoying the time with my family and friends, and remembering why we celebrate this time of year. I try to document our fun through videos and lots of photos, so once all of the dust settles we can look back and smile at the good times we had. We always record some video on Christmas morning as the kids open or see their gifts. It’s adorable because throughout the year my husband will ask me to pull up old videos of our daughter (and now son) opening up her presents through the years. We’re already planning our strategy for recording one this year.

5 tips for surviving the holiday chaos


What do you keep in mind as you cross everything off your holiday to-do list? Any tips you’d share with a new parent? Everyone who leaves a comment by Christmas will be entered to win a $140 Fisher-Price Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yard. Good luck!

A big thanks to Fisher-Price for sponsoring this giveaway and conversation. This post is a part of a partnership with Fisher-Price as an FP Insider and Sears as a part of their #SearsBloggerSquad. All opinions expressed are my own.FP insiders logo

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  1. I love love love getting presents for others, but that can sometimes overtake the entire spirit and joy in Christmas. I make my list in OneNote on my phone so it’s with me everywhere, and I start early (well, September). What I’ve learned is that my daughter isn’t going to care if the gifts are wrapped perfectly, or if the decorations look amazing enough. She just wants to spend with us and feel the happiness of the season. Let all the other stuff go.

  2. As far as clothing my parents taught me to imagine yourself from head to toe and pack in that order! I do the same for our entire family! And we always have to bring a pack and play! Especially with 2 kids now!

  3. Being a military family, the best thing we ever decided to do was NOT travel around Christmas-time. We eschew the drama that ‘going home’ brings, and we make/enjoy new traditions that involve only us. With a new baby this year, it’s even more important to us to make it as enjoyable as possible.

    Also, Amazon Prime. I haven’t gone to a store once this year; it’s pretty much my dream Christmas so far.

  4. For one, I try to talk with my children often about what Christmas really is, preparing for Christ’s birth and two, I keep lowering and lowering my expectations of the season. I have a bad habit of planning things, the way I think will be best, and rush through them, making everyone frantic. My husband keeps reminding me that the most important thing for the children is to be peaceful. Nothing else really matters. That is, they won’t enjoy anything, if I’m not. So I keep doing less until I don’t feel stressed and slowly try to add things back in, being careful to not to overdue it and wreck everything in the process. It is a work in progress, though.

  5. I think shopping for little things throughout the year makes Christmas sooooo much easier. When it’s all about the stress of gift-giving, it kind of ruins how fun this time of year is supposed to be. I think I went overboard with gifts for my 3-year-old this year, but in general I like the idea of 3 gifts – something they want, something they need, and something to build them up spiritually or something educational like a book, journal, set of scriptures, art, etc. I’m gonna try to stick to that idea next year. … oh, and how awesome would it be to win a play yard, cuz we’re adopting again in Feb. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. I try to remember to enjoy the season, have fun, and not get too stressed. It all goes by so quickly! There are usually a few things I don’t get done it seems like, but the important things always do.

  7. I love celebrating Christmas and want to enjoy every minute of it. I’d like to share that starting early on my list that I start on in mid September. I tend to stick to quality over quality. 2 extremely nice gifts last longer that 5 items that won’t be used. My tip for young parents: children are expensive don’t break that bank buying gifts for everyone. Never underestimate the power of pictures of the baby as a gift to grandparents.

  8. having two kids under the age of 4, I never wrap presents until they are asleep on Christmas Eve. Making a list is always a plus this way you don’t overspend. For the holidays, I love to make a list of each person I’m buying a gift for and their age. Thank you for this awesome giveaway & great blog post. Happy Holidays to you & your beautiful family!

  9. I try to avoid it like the plague! I shopped early, avoided lines whenever humanly possible & tries to remember that it’s better to be nice than react to someone else’s unkindness.

    I’ve actually got all my shopping done! Now before I get a gold star I have to admit that none of it is wrapped but who needs to be a perfect mom any damn way!

  10. I try to remember that I need to be thankful for all that I have. We are not rich by any means but we are definitely blessed with way more than most.

  11. I love our holiday planner we all work out the weekend before so all us sibs can visit both families equal during the holiday it great share time and has always worked for us. Our dinners are pot lucks also that makes it even more less stress.

  12. That play yard looks awesome. I have never seen it before. Thank for the reminder to document the memories. So many times we go crazy running from place to place and I realize I didn’t take a single picture!

  13. This year we’re in a position of not a lot of money & I thought I’d be more stressed out about it, but I’ve found that I’m less stressed this year than I have been in the past with much more money to spend. I think moving forward I’ll try to keep this in mind as we move into better financial times. Sometimes simpler IS better!

  14. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “craziness” so I try to make sure my family remembers the TRUE meaning of Christmas, that it’s better to give than to recieve and make hubby do all the shopping! 😉

  15. I have learned to lower my expectations. I am not Martha Stewart and my kids are not in a black and white movie. Just remembering that these memories will either bring smiles or laughter in the future is enough for me.

  16. I start shopping early and online for gifts. We don’t travel on Christmas; that makes it easy to sit around in our pjs and play with the kids. The last couple of years we have started to keep dinner simple; we make our favorite foods and experiment with new desserts.

  17. This year has been different and I’m trying to keep under consideration that using credit and not having a way/sound plan to pay off debt can lead to a devastating downhill spiral. Remember that no matter how much of a plan you have in place you never know what else may arise and cause the need for that money you planned to use to be allocated to other unexpected expenses. Better safe than sorry; save up beforehand, pace yourself, plan ahead, and remember that in the end it truly is the thought that counts.

  18. This will be the first year we’ll be at our house Christmas morning and I’m actually pretty excited for our kids to be able to wake up in their own beds and open presents at our house. (Rather than packing everything up, opening everything somewhere else, and hauling everything – and then some – back home.) Try to remember to slow down and enjoy yourself and others!

  19. whoa, I’m cooking my 4th kid and so many neat new things are out from just 2 1/2 years ago! That lil pack n play is too cool!

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