This time of year can easily leave us feeling overextended and overstressed. But remember this: the holidays are for you, too! We've partnered with our friends Maren & Angela of Homeschool Unrefined to offer some practical tips and resources (plus related stories from our library!) to help you and your family stay grounded. Read on for their suggestions!
When you think of December, what comes to mind? The month can quickly fill up with gifts, parties, cooking, family, baking, traditions — not to mention school responsibilities and everyday chores. The holiday season can leave us feeling disconnected from ourselves. Feeling rushed, overscheduled, and meeting extra social demands in this season of giving means we’re often giving more of ourselves. But it’s important to remember: The holidays are for you, too.
So how can you be you this holiday season? Check in with yourself. Maybe you’re happiest cozied up with a cup of coffee while the house is still quiet. Maybe you’re more you when you have time to go hiking with friends. Don’t forget yourself this holiday season. When we’re rocking our own strengths, doing things that make us happy, and taking care of ourselves, we can bring who we really are to the holidays and have the capacity to experience more wonder and joy with our families.
10 Thing to Remember for a Less Stressful Holiday Season
1. Connection comes first.
Time together is more important than the things we do or the things we buy.
2. Do less.
We can’t do it all. Time is limited, so is our energy. This might mean saying no to some social obligations, or traditions like holiday cards, or some/all academics if you homeschool.
Sparkle Collection Suggestion: Martin & Sylvia Day of Rest
3. Be You.
Rock your strengths. Choose some activities that let each of you do what you’re good at and feel your best.
4. Do what matters most.
Define your priorities. Think about your strengths, and your favorite holiday memories and traditions. Let each person pick something that matters most and help one another make it happen. Remember: Saying yes to one thing means saying no to something else.
5. Plan for breaks.
Wear comfy clothes, schedule a movie night and takeout. Don’t do it all, all the time.
Sparkle Playlist Suggestion: Stories for Taking Care of Yourself
6. Create the environment you want.
Even if our days feel a bit busier than we’d like, setting a cozy home environment can set the tone for helping us relax and connect. Make the season look and feel noticeably different (music, lights, candles, decorations, etc.) and let that be an indicator you’re in the season where you have hot cocoa for breakfast now.
Sparkle Collection Suggestion: Martin & Sylvia's Christmastime
7. Check in.
Check in about how everyone feels as the busy-ness picks up. Adjust as you go.
Sparkle Blog Suggestions: Unhook Your Holidays from Child Development Expert Carrie Contie
8. Everyone’s needs are important.
The parents’ needs are as important as the kids’ needs.
9. Have adventures!
Take a day off to do something big like pick out a tree or bake, decorate, and deliver cookies.
10. Give yourself credit.
Everything counts, including the small things. Did you put a family movie night on the calendar? Did you take your time making paper snowflakes with your kiddos? Celebrate the little wins. Let that be part of the way you celebrate the season, too.
More About Maren Goerss and Angela Sizer of Homeschool Unrefined
Maren Goerss and Angela Sizer are the creators and hosts of Homeschool Unrefined, the podcast about keeping homeschool simple, real and fun.They have been friends for more than 20 years and have seven kids between them. Since they started podcasting in 2016, they’ve reached thousands of families with their message. Angela Sizer is a plant-lover, podcaster, and self-care advocate. She enjoys books in all forms, podcasts, personalities, and being anywhere with her family. Angela has a Masters in Teaching and taught middle and high school science. After 10 years of homeschooling, all three of her kids are in full-time public school for the first time ever. Angela is all about helping homeschool parents embrace our “Heck Yes!” so we can bring the best version of ourselves to our homeschool. Maren Goerss is an entrepreneur, podcaster, and Jane of All Trades. She loves talking personalities, going on a last-minute adventure, playing an instrument, or listening to a great audiobook or podcast. Maren holds a Masters in Education and spent eight years teaching in elementary education. She has been homeschooling in different forms since she became a parent in 2007. Now she’s supporting kids learning at home and in school. Maren blends her enthusiasm for fun with a belief that homeschool is at its best when we rock our strengths.
More About Martin & Sylvia
Click through (below) to listen to “A Better Moment,” the latest story in our new Martin & Sylvia Collection, Learning Days. Explore the entire Martin & Sylvia series here.
If you aren’t already a Sparkle Stories subscriber, try 10 days of unlimited free listening on us! Sign up for a free trial here.
About the Author
Maren Goerss and Angela Sizer
Maren Goerss and Angela Sizer are the creators and hosts of Homeschool Unrefined, the podcast about keeping homeschool simple, real and fun. They have been friends for more than 20 years and have seven kids between them. Angela is a plant-lover, podcaster, and self-care advocate. With a Masters in Teaching, she taught middle and high school science and homeschooled her own children for 10 years. Maren is an entrepreneur, podcaster, and Jane of All Trades. With a Masters in Education, she spent eight years teaching in elementary education and has been homeschooling in different forms since she became a parent in 2007.